Come And See

Jesus is dangerous and disturbing. He is not safe and does not call us to a comfortable life. As a book title has it Jesus is wild and mean. The Hebrews were not looking for the kind of messiah that Jesus incarnated and Jesus is not the kind of Lord and Savior some Christians want. Jesus refuses to be boxed in by our easy assumptions.

Kester Brewin says that our Savior was never a puritan. Conceived out of marriage, born into an animal’s bed, visited by outcast shepherds, worshiped by foreign astrologers, cast out into foreign lands, brought up under occupation, rejected by his family—here was a man who knew what God required. This dirty-handed deity reached out to lepers, ate with pariahs, was anointed by prostitutes, spoke openly with women, caused chaos in the temple and saved his harshest words for those who would paint sepulchers white. Our freedom, our salvation was won by a man branded a dirty heretic, a man condemned with criminals, a man strung up on a tree as one who had even been condemned by God.

We need to look at Jesus again. At the rabbi, we Christians worship every Sunday morning. At the man who as Hebrews 1 says is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being. We have four accounts of his life. Very clear accounts that lay down what He said and did when he was incarnated 2,000 years ago. Jesus didn’t stutter. Jesus was very clear.

Jesus called and welcomed everyone, even the worst of sinners. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me… you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-29) Jesus didn’t ask that people clean up their act or perfect themselves before they could approach him. He didn’t ask that you say a magical prayer. Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus calls all and wants all to come to him to come and see who He really is. Jesus doesn’t put any barriers between him and those who want to follow him. Jesus wants to save us from all the things that inhibit us from living the kind of life he lived. Jesus doesn’t belong or endorse one group’s ideas or agenda. Jesus shatters all ideas, agendas, concepts, and human formula and simply says come and see. We will be shocked and delighted, comforted and discomforted, pleased and frustrated with what we find when we see the real Jesus, the Jesus of the gospels.

Jesus was attacked for hanging out with sinners and the outcast. He was questioned about fasting and not keeping the Sabbath. He answered this way about fasting: “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast. (Mark2:19-20)   As for the Sabbath Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.  The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath. Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” (Mark 2:27, 3:4)

Jesus lived and modeled what it means to be fully human. I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10) Jesus gave us the great commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  (Matthew 22:36-40) Jesus gave a new commandment: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. The kind of love that Jesus is commanding of us is not the usual fickle, wavering, and conditional love we often dole out. We only love the people who love us, but Jesus loved everyone no matter who they were. We put conditions on our love—if you do this or that I will love you and if our wants, desires, and whims are not met we revoke our love. That’s not how Jesus loved and that’s not how Christians are called to love.

Jesus loves us not for anything we could do for him. Jesus loves because love is what He is. He showed us love in dying on the cross for us. He loved the religious elite He called out. He loved the sinner and outcast. Jesus loved and loves radically and wastefully. He met and still meets people where they are and does not ask that they meet him where He is.

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. (Matthew 16:24-25; Mark 8:34-35; Luke 9:23-24)

How often do we shape our lives by the teachings, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ? There was a time when I didn’t even try to live in this way, but I now pray that God will continue working in me making me an instrument of his peace, love, and grace.

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