Things that fascinate me about Jesus...

I've been alive almost 43 years now.  I'm getting old, but somehow Jesus isn't.

I love watching movies.  Sometimes I'll leave the theater saying, "I could watch that one again."  And I usually do.  Sometimes over the course of years, time and time again.  (Braveheart, The Truman Show, Shawshank Redemption, What about Bob?, etc.)  There's just something about some stories that never gets old.  But even these stories lose some luster in time...and they are my favorites.

Books are like that, too...even some of my favorite books have a shelf life.  As inspiring as they may be, they clearly aren't inspired.  That's the key distinction with Jesus and the Scriptures compared to other narratives with interesting plots and characters.

Jesus isn't just inspiring, these stories of Him are inspired by the Holy Spirit.  They are alive and no matter how many times I read them, I'm surprised by a facet of the story that will pounce off the page that I didn't notice 15 years ago, a word that connects that slid right on by when I was a youngster.  Some aspects of the story of Jesus didn't make sense until I came of age, lived a little so that I could relate to the experience with my own experiences.  The virgin birth is sort of psychobabble until you understand the birds and the bees, putting two and two together.  The cross is a symbol and then it's a sad story and then it's hard to stomach and then it's strangely beautiful.  But it doesn't develop all at's like a photograph in a dark room.  In time the image sharpens and gains detail and depth, things coming into view gradually.

Jesus is like that for me.  Just when I feel like I'm familiar with pretty much all there is to know about him, I get flanked.  The only way of explaining it is that I'll be reading the same story I already know and something inside of me will be unlocked to see another layer of understanding, another dimension of what's happening in the story that changes the way I'm looking at it and somehow changes me at the same time.  I'm reading's reading me.  I'm looking at Jesus' story and He's peering into mine.  Pretty soon I'm not sure I know either of our stories like I think I do...and boom...I see everything again for the first time!  It's as fresh as handpicked fruit.  I take a bite and the juice is running out of the corners of my mouth and dripping off my chin.  He's done it again...and I'm in my 40's.

There are endless things about Jesus that fascinate me...
1. His disregard for the typical pecking order of social classes.  He crushes classism.
2. His ability to see people's potential instead off their problems.  He is optimism and opportunity.
3. His gravitation to company that led others to label him: "friend of sinners".  He was a good friend.
4. His relaxation whether he was crowded by expectations or exaltations.  He was so centered & chill.
5. His value for the disenfranchised and marginalized.  He kept honoring the lowly to the very end.
6. His love of truth even when it scattered the masses.  He never compromised the truth for trends.
7. His fight against the powerful in defense of the weak.  He was always speaking truth to power.
8. His down to earth words at a time when religion was over people's heads.  He was so relatable.
9. His storytelling ability that mesmerized the world and infuriated religion.  He loved word pictures.
10. His care for people even if they didn't believe in him.  He gave the time of day to anyone.
11. His discipline of being present.  He always seems to be "Here. Now." in a world of distraction.
12. His desire to touch people when he was helping them.  He didn't love people from a distance.
13. His penchant to draw away from the pressing crowd to get alone.  He cared for his own soul.
14. His vulnerability to have close friends.  He let 12 guys spend 3 solid years with him every day.
15. His focus on His mission...there was no mission creep.  He was driven by "the white hot why".
16. His surrender to suffering and sorrow.  He went after hard people and did hard things.
17. His patience with knuckleheads.  He had the grace to let people fail without giving up on them.
18. His challenging of the status quo.  He loved to iconoclastically break down stereotypes & stigmas.
19. His love of the Scriptures.  He quoted the sacred text all the was hidden in his heart.
20. His belief in the future church.  He died for this idea of the Church becoming His Body someday.
21. His poise under pressure.  He would pause and respond to situations so creatively and cunningly.
22. His invitation to children, women, lepers, tax collectors, and prostitutes.  He welcomed them all.
23. His passion for humanity.  He knew why they were created and he wanted that/them restored.
24. His courage to run toward conflict and controversy.  He wasn't afraid to stir the pot if he needed to.
25. His humility when tempted with celebrity.  He was a foot-washer, not just a water-walker.

I could go on...maybe I will sometime.  But for now, I'll sign off.

Jesus still takes my breath away...He is the reason I'm in ministry and will stay in it, by God's grace, until I die.


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