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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"Dear 8 Pound, 6 Ounce, Newborn Infant Jesus..."

*This post is inspired by the Summit College Leadership Team retreat I went on this past weekend. I was extremely challenged by the words of my college pastor on this topic, so I definitely can't take full credit!*

Chances are if you haven't seen Talladega Nights you've at least seen the clip of the entire family gathered around the kitchen table saying grace, each describing how they see Jesus. Some see him as a bearded man, while others prefer to think of Jesus as a baby, watching Baby Einstein videos, or singing lead vocals for Lynyrd Skynyrd. Watching this part of the movie may seem hilarious or sacrilegious or off-base, but I think this scene is a good depiction of how the church sees Jesus

If you grew up as a Sunday School goer, maybe you think of Jesus like I do - holding a lamb, with a curly mullet, smooth blue eyes, and a docile demeanor (my boyfriend calls this depiction "the Jesus he could beat up"). Or maybe you see Jesus as a principal, who's only interested in what you're doing with your life when you mess up. Maybe you see him as a means to get what you want or need. If you're in a jam or about to take a hard test, you and Jesus are suddenly BBFs. 

Even though we probably wouldn't admit it, as the church, our views about Jesus often mirror a scene from Talladega Nights rather than scripture. 

So what does scripture say about Jesus? 

    Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
    When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.
(Revelation 1:12-19 ESV)

This Jesus doesn't have blonde hair and blue eyes, he has A SWORD coming out of his mouth! Even his voice was overwhelming, like the roar of a waterfall. This Jesus is a warrior. This Jesus, the biblical Jesus mind you, is nothing like the genie Jesus or innocent little baby Jesus - he's fully God!
And though he is infinitely strong and mighty, he's boundlessly tender - he reaches down to John, laying his hand on him and telling him not to be afraid. This act in and of itself easily could've killed John if Jesus were only righteous and holy and just. While he is undoubtedly wholly righteous, holy, and just, he is also fully loving, merciful, and gracious.

So my question is, how do you see Jesus? Is your view culturally driven or scripturally derived? Praise Him that he is a crazy, strong warrior who defeated death, but is outrageously tender and loving Savior who reconciled us to the Father so that we may have life both in this life and in eternity with him.

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