Jesus: Human, Lonely, Happy

Jesus Is Like Me

Sometimes it gets really hard to connect with a God who seems so far away, so divine,  so “up in the heavens” even. I have been reading this book called “Beautiful Outlaw” by John Eldredge, and it certainly hits the mark. Im going to share a few things that really hit home for me, that showed me how human Jesus really was.

Jesus Wept

The Son of Man, weeping

Jesus Was More Human than Humanity

There’s a part in the Nicene Creed that says Jesus” was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary 
and became truly human.” We can hear that well enough, but tend to glaze over what that means. Eldredge says he bet the chipmunks made him laugh, and the Pharisees made him furious. He was fully human, not just God-playing-man, like Einstein dropping in for a First-grade math quiz or Mozart playing the flute with some Kindergarteners. G.K. Chesterton says, referring to Bethlehem at the end of the night after Jesus was born,

The strange kings fade into a far country and the mountains resound no more with the feet of the shepherds; and only the night and the cavern lie in fold upon fold over something more human than humanity.

How can that be? Jesus… more human than humans? Think about this: sin, shame, neglect, and many thousands of other addictions have left humanity as just a shadow of ourselves. Christ came to show us how to truly be human, as he was, in its truest form. He hungered and thirsted, and even when he came back from the dead he asked the disciples to feed him (see luke 24: 36-43). He came as the Son of Man– not of God, of man.

Jesus: A Man of Sorrow and Loneliness

Jesus really enjoyed being around people. Like, really. Not everybody does, you know. He spent three years of his life living and traveling with 12 other men. He loved a good party, but he also loved being close and intimate with a few friends. In Gethsemane, he took Peter and the sons of Zebedee with him. He said, ” ‘ Stay here and keep watch with me ‘” (Matthew 26:37-38) because he didn’t want to be alone. How’s that for being human? Im beginning to see a face painted to look more like myself than I thought… a face that knew the pang of loneliness.

Growing up I struggled a lot with this issue of being alone. For years I never felt loved or pursued by people, throughout middle school and high school. At a summer Church Camp I told one of the counselors how lonely I felt and that I could relate to Jesus because I knew how lonely he must have been at times. To my shock she said something like, “you aren’t as lonely as Jesus was” or  even “Jesus wasn’t lonely like that”. I felt crushed….that I couldn’t relate to my savior after all.

But, the truth is, loneliness is something we all share with him. Thomas Wolfs said, “The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and to a few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence.”

You feel lonely when you feel misjudged by people, misused, misunderstood, and missed in general. Eldredge says, “To be wanted for what you can do, rather than who you are. To go on for years unappreciated, even unknown by those closest to you.”  Jesus felt very missed by his closest friends in John 14 when he explains to the disciples that even when he dies, he will prepare a room for them too. They missed the fact that Jesus was saying he has a plan for their companionship to continue even throughout eternity! How sad is that… to miss such a big part of Jesus.

A Man of Joy and Sorrow

Jesus wasn’t always feeling lonely though. He had many intimate moments with his disciples, as well as others. Think of the time Mary washed his feet with her hair and tears. Tender moments with Jesus. I think Jesus was really a happy man. Seriously– the Bible says the “joy of the Lord is our strength” and how could that be true if we knew our Jesus wasn’t a joyful person.

I read in Isaiah 53:3 that “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering”. I think of all the nice people I’ve met, and try to imagine someone like that going through incredible trials and abuse without having done anything to deserve that. That’s how I began to unfold more of the face of Jesus. As someone who is real, tender, and caring. He has a heart that is vast as the ocean, and he really, really wants to show us more of himself so we can connect with that heart.

I hope as you read this, you will begin to discover just how much we reflect him. His joy, his laughing, his feelings. We have them cause he first did.

What other emotions and feelings are you going through that you would like to know more about how Christ identified with?

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/28021905@N06/4525179809/”>jlwo</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photo pin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

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A Tale of Two Cities: London and Austin

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

How appropriate these words are for this post. I’ve been traveling all over the world, it seems, just doing the next big thing. Over the past 6 months I’ve lived in London, England and also, Austin, Texas. Quite the stark contrast.

I’ve decided to make a comparison between the two large cities, because, after living in Austin and London for 3 Months, you start to see things differently.

London:

  • Not particularly pedestrian-friendly, but the public transportation is great– we would walk and take  trains or the Tube to get places.
  • Good selection of foods; except for the fact they lack one necessary component for life, Tex-Mex.
  • There was a myriad of people and accents– although, I felt like the one with an accent. For the first two weeks I tried my best to speak like a Brit but not only did that fail, it made me sound “mental” apparently.
  • There were a lot of parks. And loads of places to go running. I loved this part a lot.

Austin:

  • Allegedly “pedestrian friendly” but I’m still not used to driving around, holding up traffic when a bicyclist is putting along down South Congress at 7pm. Driving here is really bad. You don’t know how many times I’ve been flipped off…whoever said Southerners are friendly drivers, I don’t know what you were thinking!
  • It’s a Foodie’s paradise here. There are so many food stands and local, quirky shops that offer things like Sunflower Cheese, and Spinach-and-Rhubarb smoothies, and other random items that will leave you feeling like you just traveled the world using your tastebuds alone!
  • in Austin, Tx… there are a myriad of people from all over the world, but the local accent is the Texas twang. I love hearing Asians speak with a Texan accent at Whole Foods…
  • The terrain is spread out. A lot. I’d have to drive like 5 miles to get to Zilker Park (I’d bike there if I could but I don’t have one). Zilker Park has amazing things going on though, such as Blues on the Green each Wednesday night this summer, as well as a show of the Sound of Music.

Those are just a few geological and physiological differences between the cities. They are pretty similar, but that’s because of the fact they are large melting-pot cities. They say Austin is the Paris of the South!

But living in London was a totally different experience than living in Austin. Its not just the people. Its not just the culture, or the history… its something deeper, almost. Its like a heritage. A legacy of each city, as its thousands of inhabitants leave their marks daily in many ways.

In both places, it had been a struggle and a challenge to stay afloat and stay encouraged, despite the culture shock. God is with me– always. But sometimes you feel like you can get lost along with all the other people drifting along in the big city life.

But not everything is bad about the city. If I had a choice, I would live in the city, or near it, because I love being around so many people and so many places. I wonder if that’s just because Im young and naive. In each city I have discovered new friends, a new way of life, and a new adventure. I would not take back my time for a second– I have grown so much as a person, and it’s all thanks to God who guides it all. He’s my adventure.

Now, for a treat: Can you guess which photo was taken in England and which one is from Texas?

Image            Image

No worries… I bet you got that, easy. Just in case, one is St. Paul’s Cathedral, built by Christopher Wren, and the other is the Austin State Capitol building.

What are some things you like about your city? Where would you like to live for 3 months if you could?

Cheers, Y’all!