2-20 The 21st Century Jesus

It was so hard for the Jewish mind to conceive that a man walking down a dusty Galilee street was the awesome God of Sinai manifested in flesh. And it's hard for us too. This is why the whole struggle over the trinity has come about; people just can’t find the faith to believe that a real man could have been the just as real perfect Son of God. It’s our same struggle when we come to consider the cross; that a body hanging there, covered with blood, spittle, dirt and flies, an image as palatable as a hunk of meat hanging in a butcher’s shop... was and is the salvation of the world, the real and ultimate way of escape for us from the guilt of our iniquity. The life the Lord Jesus lived was 'the sort of life that was in the Father's presence' (1 Jn. 1:2 Gk.). The sort of life God Almighty lives, the feelings and thoughts He has, were the life and feelings and thoughts and words and deeds of the man Jesus. This has to be reflected upon deeply before we grasp the huge import which this has. That a Man who walked home each day along the same dusty streets of Nazareth was in fact living the sort of life that was and is the life of God in Heaven. 

And so we must try to image Him as He might be today. If He lived in your town, how would He be? 'Jesus' was a fairly common name in first century Palestine. So the Anglo-Saxon 21st century Jesus would be called Steve, or a Russian one Vladimir, or a Hispanic one Jose. He'd be a manual worker, maybe a mechanic at a gas station, living in some dumb village. Talking with a rural accent, but with gently piercing eyes set in a smiley, bearded face. Anyone who worked with Him was struck by His intelligence and sensitivity, yet nobody in the workplace felt threatened by Him in any way. Remember how the Lord grew in favour with men; He was popular, and yet nobody guessed that He was the perfect, sinless Son of God. There were no girlie posters in the mechanic's workshop. Not because Jesus had asked for the guys to take them down. But they just sensed His feelings, and somehow felt His eyes looking right through them (consider how often the Gospels mention how Jesus turned and looked at people). So they'd taken them down. He rode to work on a bike [or did He drive to work in a beat up Honda Civic?]. Sometimes His bike got a puncture and He had to push it home in the rain. He did the shopping for His mum, a reclusive figure with an unclear past, and balanced the bags on His handlebars. Once they fell off and the eggs broke...but His body language exuded a patience and almost enjoyment of being human as He cleared it all up. This essential joy within Him is perhaps reflected in the 30 or so passages which record the Lord’s use of humour in His teaching(1) . He sometimes forgot the number of his mobile; once He sat on it and broke a key. When some guy stopped and asked Him for a light, He'd grin and say He didn't smoke; but then He got into carrying a lighter just in case He was asked. And forgetful old Joe used to say He just loved asking Jesus for a light because you just got into such a nice chat with Him. He wore faded Levi's jeans, which He passed down to His kid brothers. Whenever they lost something (like the house keys) and got frustrated, He'd help them look for it until it was found. He helped them with their homework- them kids considered Him a real brainbox. Sometimes He'd hang out with them, He'd be goalie up at the recreation ground while a bunch of village kids played soccer, 4 against 4, with goalposts made up of piles of jackets. Even though He was busy, so busy... and part of His mind was in Heavenly places, on spiritual things. But that never, ever, not once, I am convinced...showed.


(1) See Elton Trueblood, The Humor Of Christ  (New York: Harper and Row, 1964).




Back Back

Next Next