Todays blog is from Chris’ book, Pause With Jesus: Encountering His Story in Everyday Life. To buy your copy please visit HERE.
Think of reading the biblical stories of Jesus as a written travelogue. Each verse, story, chapter, account stands alone as an example of the exquisite life of Christ—as each snapshot from a vacation individually reflects a unique experience of life. Unless surveyed as a whole, the completeness escapes and leaves us grasping mere fragments. The totality of a vacation, missed when viewing individual photos, can be seen by observing the album containing all the pictures, or a video showing the story in motion. Places and people. Good days and bad. Events comprising the entire trip come into focus, accurately portraying a journey that would appear out of balance when only certain pictures were noticed.
This biblical travelogue presents description, like snapshots of a historical person. Knitted together, stories from Christ’s life bring into focus a true and astounding picture. More than a portrait of a movement, it is representation of the Man Himself. A Man who loved all the characters of the drama.
The lonely? He loved them.
The misfits? He loved them.
The legalistic, religious, gotta-do-it-our-way-or-we-will-kill-you folks? He loved them.
Demonstrations of that love differ with each scene, but uniqueness merges with unity; the same pure, profound love shines in every sighting.
Who really is that Great Lover? Is He a rigid, lifeless religious man walking under a halo? Is He a lunatic on a neurotic mission to prove supremacy? Is He a moral mercenary determined to demobilize doubters and sinners by running roughshod along a road of political opportunism? Is He a teacher, one of many who have spoken for God through the ages? Or is He, as He claimed, the Incarnation of God?
Turn to a teacher for a definitive argument regarding Christ’s deity. Turn to an apologist for an arsenal of proof-texts to ward off skeptics. It’s not all here. But as I learn from so many groups that know so much more, I hope they have taught me to learn from Jesus.
What I’ve offered here is an awareness, a glimpse, of what the Gospel writers were telling us. And what life seems to be revealing. These stories have caused me to see Jesus in fresh ways.
During my childhood I learned to accept the doctrine of Christ’s deity. That training has served me well and pointed me, I believe, to the greatest truth in all of life. But, over time, spoon-fed truth can grow stale. Spiritual vision, previously vivid, blurs.
Exploring the narratives again, and with wide eyes, worked. It dusted off death from my belief system. I noticed Jesus in a new way. While watching, I have been shaken. I have been shattered. He laughed and cried. Now, I laugh while typing, as tears fall from my eyes.
I am more aware than ever of both my imperfections and His love for me in spite of my frailty. Watching Him with sinners in Matthew’s house, seeing Him gaze at the impish Zacchaeus while certainly grinning, hearing His powerful words stifle the storm: such scenes moved me despite my familiarity with them. Moments of study offered me the impossible task of laying aside my preconceptions long enough to live through the events unfettered by prematurely drawn conclusions.
Along the way, I met Jesus. Again. And He is very real, very alive.
And He seems to think we are all important.