Can we talk about Jesus for a minute?
With that, I have separated my readership instantly into three groups. There are the group of religious nuts...uhm, enthusiasts...who are cheering, 'Yes! Let's talk about Jesus!' There are the group of people giving me the benefit of the doubt, who are willing if not to talk then to at least chance to see what I might have to say about Him based on what they've read or heard or known of me. (Thank you.) And there are the group of people who have already turned to another webpage and thus don't even know that right up front, I am acknowledging them.
Because there are a lot of people who don't want to talk about Jesus. Many years ago, fairly early in my Christian walk (which meant I was in the on-fire stage), I heard a comedian or a preacher or somebody say, "You wanna talk about Jesus? ....even religious people don't want to talk about Jesus." And I laughed because he was right.
I'm still laughing a little because he's still right.
The name alone is enough to turn people away. Jesus. Jeeeeesus. Jeebus. And...we're shut down.
I don't know if it's the way we've used the name over the past two thousand years. It'd be easy to say that there's something about us - about the way we're talking Him or living Him or loving Him imperfectly in all our fallible glory - that's turning people off. Probably so. The problem is that while we may be connecting with Him, we may not be presenting Him in a way that invites or even allows others to connect with Him. Not in a real and authentic way. Then Jesus becomes this shield, this holy-sounding security, and this completely present trouble in times of help that just seems to get in the way of actually knowing anything about Him.
Because I believe that what we're taught is true. I believe when we come to know Him, to truly know Him, what we form is this completely unique relationship with Him that is based not just on who He is but on where we are. Then we're stuck trying to introduce the lost to the God of the Universe the way we have found Him, and they may not understand what the big deal is when they try to see Him through our heart with their eyes. That's where we lose them; it's where we lose Him. We have to bring this Man to their heart, while not neglecting to treasure Him in ours.
I also think we don't do enough to focus on the Man. Or perhaps, we focus on the Man too much. It can go either way, depending on who you're talking to. It's so common to interchangeably use the names Jesus and God and be talking about the same concept. In doing so, we shortchange both. Yes, we know that they are two of the same One, two incarnations of the same Creator...but there is a dramatic difference. God is a provider, a father, a shelter in the storm, the creator, the omnipotent, omniscient, all-good being of a greater good than all of this. Jesus is the God with skin on, who knows what it's like to be a man. When we go back and forth between the two like they are entirely the same, people start to lose touch with a God who doesn't get them and they lose sight of the big-picture God who set all things in motion. Somewhere in between is a lost heart and a muddled God and nothing but confusion to show for the whole mess.
Personally, it's taking me a long time to come to know Jesus. I say taking because I'm still getting there. I'm a girl who has always run to God and just now starting to think about what it really means to throw in an "In Your Son's name." I've always heard the names changed out for one another, so I've never been able to fathom why anybody would pray to Jesus when they could have the much-greater God at their disposal by simply choosing a different name. I've seen Jesus as a cheap substitute for the all-powerful, and so I have to say - I don't have a fantastically strong relationship with the guy. And I kind of have rolled my eyes at anyone who's claimed He's the bomb.
I love the idea of a God-Man. A God who has seen fit to create this beautiful world and then walk its grounds with me. One who knows what this is like. Right here. Right now. And I'm seeking out to know more about this Man. What it would be like to walk with Him...instead of throwing a prayer into the Heavens. Which, don't get me wrong, has been workin' for me. But this Jesus piece...Jesus brings it all together. He is the bomb...and He's blowing this story up.
And I like the idea that God would make Himself so vulnerable, put Himself in a place in a way that anyone who's looking at it would think He'd be sure to fail. God put Himself in a place where I would have expected Him to fail me - something so fallible as the flesh. Yet He proved He wouldn't fail me by...simply not failing. Tomorrow, I'll tell you how He pulled that off. (It's a lot simpler than you think it's gotta be.)