Where did all of these paintings & pictures of Jesus come from? How could you read the Bible and capture his personality so terribly wrong? As our church prepares to read the New Testament up to Easter weekend, I'm looking forward to laying aside as many preconceived notions about this man as I possibly can.
I want to let him be himself. I want to let him speak for himself. I don't want to put a new face on him or to spin-doctor him into something other than who he is. I realize that we all read into the Scriptures our particular hermeneutic, whatever that may be. If we are reclusive, we see him as such. If we are aggressive, we would like to think he mirrors our particular constitution. What he seems to lack in light of our expectation, we will gladly help along with some augmentation. Don't you like how I went from talking about me to talking about we? Funny how that happens like it's someone who does this "out there". What a crock.
In the book of Isaiah, chapter 42, God reveals himself as a "Warrior in battle" and a "Woman in childbirth". He is like a Woman and he is like a Man. He expresses himself with the passion of birth and battle. He says he is tired of "holding himself back" like a woman told she can't push yet. He is "stirring up his zeal" like a warrior getting ready to rush the enemy on the fields of bloodshed.
Throughout the Word I've noticed that he talks about himself in terms of what he is like. It causes us to stay on our toes in our relationship with/to him. He doesn't paint himself into a corner. He won't let us corner him either with reductionary "portraits" like we see in art museums and church lobbies and old folks homes. He wants to embody every seemingly contradictory metaphor the Scripture paints in brushstrokes that provide details more than definitions. He wants to be able to change gears and turn on a dime. He wants to be the lion and the lamb. He wants to be the wounded healer. He wants us to chase him; we want to catch him.