“Show me your bookcase, and I tell you who you are. ” A famous saying, that does not fit Jesus. He did not write a book, He did not found an organisation, He was not a political or business leader… and still, nobody had a bigger impact on society as we know it. Just for the record: double-click in the far right corner of your screen, and you’ll see an example: the year stamp! This man was important enough to start counting the years from his birth on. And in fact, most of our societal system is based on, or at least influenced by, his ideas.
Still, that does not say much about who He is. Let’s take a look at three things that indicate who He is: his personality, his character and his origins.
To start with his origins: He was born in the year 0, raised in Nazareth in Galilee (which status is comparable to that of the dutch Achterhoek or the American state Arkansas), in a carpenter’s family. His origins date back to King David, making him a royal descendant, but his actual state was far from royal. Led a quite normal life until He was 30 – then started the guru-life by traveling around, bringing a message, looking for followers, preaching in the synagogues. At age 33, He was killed, because of… well, good question! Why was He murdered?
A second indicator is his personality, that can be known through watching Him do and say things. Although He was not publicly known before the age of 30, that changed rapidly when He went public. From that moment on, He did signs and wonders: healing people, raising the dead, multiplying a couple of loafs of bread to feed 5000, commanding wind and storm to lie down…
Another thing that characterizes Jesus is the people He was with. Strangely enough, He did not like the middle-class, self-content people that most of us are… He hang out with the outcasts, corrupt tax collectors and whores. He didn’t bother talking to female Samaritans, the lowest ‘cast’ in the area…
And what did He talk about, what did He say? He said revolutionary things like ‘turn your other cheek’ instead of eye-for-eye. Forgive seven times seventy times. Love your enemies. Not a very popular message – not then, not now.
He also said things about himself. That He is the good shepherd, the bread of life, the living water, the light of the world, the door, the way, the truth and the life. And probably the most offensive one: He said He is the Son of God….
Who can say that? It sure sounds arrogant, blasphemic even.
I guess to find out if his claims were true, you need to know more from his deeper motivations, his drive, his character. And out of all the things He did and said, a consistent picture emerges: His first and foremost drive was love – He seemed to truly love the people around him, He was deeply moved by them, was passionate for them. And out of this passion comes a heart of forgiveness and grace: He did things without asking in return, with a giving heart. He was truly focused on the people around him. He turned out to be very truthful and trustworthy: the things He said were always true, He never made false promises.
So, here we have a man that was revolutionary in the things He did, said and claimed. A man that showed love and grace like noone had ever seen. A man where noone could find any guilt in.
[To be continued]