I was just pondering a good title for a certain line of devotionals that I have planned and I think I've settled on it: A Different View. From Mainstream Christianity we seem to get the same tired line over and over and over again. One tired viewpoint repeated ad nauseam until hearing it rehashed one more time brings bile to the back of your throat. I'm quite tired of that. We need a Different View, one centered on Actions and Power instead of apathy and weakness (which will never be an adequate substitute of Meekness).
This first installment of A Different View will be about Jesus Christ. When you think of Christ, what is the first thing that pops into your mind? Describe Him for me, if you would be so kind? Let His features take shape in your mind. For most people one of three pictures develops:
An effeminate man, with a coiffed hair and beard that would easily be the envy of any rock and roll hair band. Nails that are clean and polished. Hands that are not cut with heavy labour, an almost complete lack of calluses on long elegant fingers. Perhaps a small smile on rosy cheeks, or a far away look that would easily be identified with by most potheads. And above all, clean. Clean white robe with some sort of purple wrap around.
A man on a cross, same hair and beard mentioned. Despite the gaping hole in his side and the crown of thorns on his head he looks up towards heaven with the same mildly stoned expression. If the sculpture is to be believed then the person displayed on the cross definitely must have some sort of supernatural origin since he's managing to hold this facial expression in spite of the three spikes driven through various limbs. Anyone who has ever had even a small nail violate their body will tell you that keeping a straight face is definitely a supernatural feat.
A rosy cheeked baby boy, nestled in amongst golden straw in a well constructed manger. All the animals pay rapt attention as an assortment of wise men, shepherds and two adoring parents look on. A hush is on every being in the room lest any noise disturb the sleep of this beautiful infant.
These three pictures are what most people conjure when they think of The Christ. Unfortunately they are all quite at odds with a very important consideration: Reality. Any study of the Bible is usually enhanced by a concept we refer to around the Priest household as "Putting Blue Jeans on 'em", basically this distills down into humanizing characters from the Bible. Jesus was a carpenter and lived in Roman-era Israel. Do either of these things lend any legitamacy to any of the three descriptions above? Have you ever met anyone who works in construction? Even with modern power tools people in modern construction are often muscled, their hands are heavily callused and their nails have grime and dust ground into them from countless hours of hard labour. And who did Jesus go to when he went looking for His disciples? Did He go to the well mannered men who spent all day in the temple? Did He go to the rich and well bred scions of wealthy families, so that he would be better accepted when He moved amongst the upper crust?
In a word, No.
Jesus sought out the rough men, men who worked with their hands day in and day out. Have you ever been around a large group of fishermen? Tax collectors? Imagine the same group of men in the same profession 2000 years ago! Can you imagine a bunch of soft handed apostles? Effeminate men just don't last around the real deal. Jesus spent time traveling, he grew up doing hard manual labor and was apprenticed under His Father in Heaven and Joseph on Earth. Jesus was a real man, and in light of that fact let me suggest a different view:
A man in traveling clothes, well worn. Wrinkles on his face framed by a full beard that is traditionally mandated by his culture. His skin is tanned from long days of travel and work outside. Callused hands that are hardened from years of manual labor lead up to muscular forearms and a well muscled body. He is surrounded by a group of men similarly dressed who obviously defer to him, anyone who overhears their conversation hears everyone refer to Him using titles like "Master" and "Rabbi". They laugh and jest together and in more somber moments they learn and plumb the mysteries of the universe. Brotherhood, companionship, a masculine love for each other. They speak plainly, and He teaches them with the same plain speech or parables....whatever gets the point across. There's nothing ethereal about this group, just real men being taught by Someone sent to show them something Real.
Doesn't sound much like the Jesus mentioned in the first three descriptions does it? Maybe, it's time for a change.
Doesn't sound much like the Jesus described by the mainstream church does it? Maybe it's time for a Different View.