Jesus was a heretic by definition.
Heresy—belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious doctrine. A person holding an opinion at odds with what is generally accepted.
What Jesus taught was not popularly accepted at the time of his ministry (and still isn’t today by many “believers”). In fact, it was often religious authorities of the time that levied the charges against him.
The word heresy seems to be gaining usage today as people are free to study the Bible more and have more resources available to put together the original audience, timing, language, etc…When their views don’t align with the popular views, then they are threatened with words like heretic in an attempt to frighten them back in line.
But what’s really the false doctrine? Attempting to scare people into submission and conformity, or loving them into the Kingdom? We’re called to follow Jesus, even if that means being condemned as a heretic…or worse (Matt 10:25, 34-38).
We can push against others, even in knowledge, but we’ll never win hearts with threat and condemnation or just flashy showmanship. If anything, we will only temporarily charge them with fear or rhetoric. Generally a “revival” is needed to re-scare or re-wow people every 6-12 months after that. The Holy Spirit doesn’t work off of fear tactics though and that glory doesn’t fade. When we are baptized into the Holy Spirit by Jesus, we arise to a permanent revival. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit sustains and no subsequent reviving is needed!
Paul also says something very interesting along these lines:
But if the service of death, written engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly on the face of Moses for the glory of his face, which was passing away, won’t service of the Spirit be with much more glory? For if the service of condemnation has glory, the service of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For most certainly that which has been made glorious has not been made glorious in this respect, by reason of the glory that surpasses. For if that which passes away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.—2 Cor 7-10
Effectively, what Paul is saying here is: the old covenant (written in stones) had a fading glory while the new covenant of the Spirit has a lasting glory. So if revival is needed every 6-12 months because our glory fades, which service are we in? Are we in service to condemnation or in service to righteousness?
We all know the gist of the passage of Matt 11:28-30:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
If we’re honest, have we found that rest? Jesus wasn’t just whistling Dixie here. It’s a beautiful passage about the spiritual state we should expect when we exist in Jesus and he in us.
So why are so many, instead, burdened? If we are condemned in heresy, how is that restful?
There is an abiding peace in our spirit when we fully surrender to Jesus. This isn’t necessarily like surrendering to the police like we were holding hostages. This surrender is laying down all the things that we insist we have to carry, especially in being “good” or being the right kind of Christian.
Religion can be the biggest burden of them all. When we get an idea in our head and insist we have to convince others that we’re right at all costs, then we have a burden that isn’t in line with the rest Jesus presents.
In fact, it seems the religious of Jesus’ earthly ministry were doing just this:
For they bind heavy burdens that are grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not lift a finger to help them.—Matt 23:4
Are we binding heavy burdens on ourselves, or worse, attempting to force others to carry the burden of our beliefs?
Are we setting others free to live without burden?
Are we attempting to conform others externally to rules of the Bible, which only burdens them? Or are we showing them to Jesus so that they first know him. Then they follow the Spirit of the law out of love for God and not out of obligation, manipulation, fear, etc…
There is a real freedom in Christ Jesus and it is free to everyone to accept. The price is already paid in full. All we have to do is let Jesus remove the burdens we insist on carrying, and then we can better follow the Spirit in love.