Spiritual but not religious – was Jesus a religious man?
This is a term that’s commonly heard, often from those seeking God outside of a traditional religious context. Sometimes, it’s argued that Jesus fit this category. But did He really?
It’s correct that Jesus preached to the crowds, which often included people who were not known to be observant Jews. Some, who feel that they can only fully experience God in a natural setting, feel that this is an “anti-church” sentiment on Jesus’ part. However, it must be kept in mind that Jesus’ ministry was one of full inclusion, which included those who would not be found worshiping in a typical Jewish setting. In the time of Jesus’ ministry, Gentiles did not ordinarily attend synagogues as visitors, as many do now.
It’s also true that Jesus did not attend “church”, as we know it today. He attended synagogues and the Temple as part of Jewish religious observance, taught and even performed some of His miracles in those settings. Far from being a non-religious figure, He strived to help His followers more fully understand and appreciate the reason behind the laws that had been handed down.
One question worthy of consideration: can a person be both spiritual and religious? Certainly! As with anything else in life, Christianity involves balance. We need to know the reasons for our faith, but also be deeply in touch with why these reasons are important.