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 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?
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