Jesus was a man who lived in the middle ground of high hopes and skeptical disappointments (see yesterday's post). But you know what else I love about Jesus?
Jesus was a nobody.
The Scriptures make it sound like He was really a somebody - a star in the sky guiding the way to a baby in a manger, wise men journeying from afar to bring gifts, a government intimidated by an infant, wisdom walking. But let's not forget - this was Bethlehem. This was a manger, a stable, a barn. This was a barely-married mother and father, pregnant out of wedlock, spinning this ridiculous yarn about divine impregnation. This was Nazareth. This was the dirty son of a carpenter. A craftsman. This was Jesus from Nazareth - nobody from nowhere.
He didn't come divinely. He didn't really live divinely. He didn't die divinely. He was an average man, an everyday guy. He was a wandered. A fisherman. A carpenter. A friend. He was a Teacher, sure, but have you seen the Man's feet? They were just as dirty, just as torn, just as calloused as any other man's. He was anybody, and that made Him nobody. Or so it would seem.
Of course we know Him as an incredible Somebody. An awesome Anybody. We know Him now as the Son of God, the Gift of Heaven, the Sacrifice for our sins. The Messiah. But can you understand how easy all of that would have been to miss if you had actually lived when Jesus lived? If you had known the landscape, understood the culture, explored the region, and seen the Man? Wisdom walking, yes, but just a guy. Nobody in particular, except He happened to have a following. Teachers, as we can assume from the incredible number of mentions of the Pharisees, were fairly common. Here was another one. So...what?
I wonder what He thought of that. I wonder if He felt His nobodiness, or if He harbored somewhere in His heart His somebodiness. Maybe both?
I've been wondering about that a lot lately, as my writing takes me to new places. A new place for my name, I guess, and people sort of start knowing a little about who I am. People from all over the country increasingly email me. Mostly about Recess with Jesus but sometimes, other things. People from my hometown recognize new things in me.
It's humbling because honestly? I'm a nobody. I really am. A byline, a blog, and a domain make it sound like I'm a somebody, but let's not forget - this is the Internet. This is the the 21st Century. This is suburban Indiana (although I tend to call it more "superrural"). This is just a girl. A writer. Aidan from the Midwest - nobody from nowhere.
For the longest time, I wondered if I could be a somebody. I spent my life exerting myself trying to prove that I was somebody. Trying to be more than I thought I could be. Now that it seems maybe I'm getting there, it's not that any more for me. The more it seems that I might start thinking I'm somebody, the more absolutely aware I am of my nobodiness. Every now and then, I pop into Amazon to see if anyone else has reviewed my first book (please take a minute and review it; you don't know how valuable this is. I will send you a free PDF of Recess with Jesus if you promise to review it afterward. Just email me). Right now, it's got 5 stars - a perfect rating. It's unreal. Does it make me feel like a somebody? No. It makes me feel like a nobody. It takes my breath away that a nobody would even get one star.
Some guy I've never met from some place I've never heard of sent me an email. Just to tell me how much he was enjoying the book. Does that make me feel like somebody? No. It makes me feel like more of a nobody. It makes this completely smallness weigh on me and it's an incredible feeling.
I think that's the way God intended it to be. I think when you're doing what God created you to do, when you finally settle into that niche God has for you, and the world responds or doesn't or whatever, you come to be grounded by your nobodiness. I think God likes it that way.
And I think He also secretly infuses you with your somebodiness, too. The more you do what He's created you to do, the more you just give yourself over to it and give all you've got for what He's doing through you, the more you understand the somebody He's intended you to be. Which doesn't make you feel like somebody...it just makes you feel....purposed. Destined. Designed.
Not to sound all holy, but I think that's the way Jesus must have felt - this secret somebodiness that encouraged and inspired and strengthened Him amidst public, external nobodiness. I think that's the way He kept balance and beauty in His ministry.
I think that's the way I hope to do the same.