I’ve always been struck by the fact that Jesus is a normal guy, like me and you. He isn’t always this shining, full of radiance and glory entity that many of us imagine him to be. In fact, I’m willing to say that more times than not, he’s like a buddy watching the game eating Doritos.
We see His normality throughout the Gospels. He wasn’t interested in showing Himself to the hyper-religious people of that time. Instead, He chose to reveal God to fishermen, carpenters, IRS agents, and even hookers. He was rarely ever spotted in the rich part of town, or at palaces or Red Carpet events. To compare His normality to today’s terms, He would be a mechanic slaving away to earn his commission. He would be the friend from work that buys you a beer after a tough day. He’s that fun-loving Starbucks cashier that always has a way of making your mornings a little better with simple manners and a lame joke.
On the other hand, however, He would also be that guy that wards off bullies, protects mothers, stays overnight at your sister’s house to protect her from the abusive ex-husband. We must remember that Jesus wasn’t a wimp by any means. This Man literally cleared an entire temple with a whip and a shout.
He was a carpenter over 2,000 years ago. There were no power tools at this time; no cranes, no nail guns, not even screws! He used blunt strength to hammer in nails, to lift large wooden cross-beams high above His head, and had to deal with the aches and pains without the aid of Ibuprofen or Tylenol. Chances are, Jesus was a very lean man but very defined. You could probably see each muscle in his arms, chest, and legs. You could also see the scrapes and bruises from work–the scars of hard work.
This was Jesus 99% of the time. He only showed His glory to 3 men…once…at the transfiguration. The amount of miracles that are written in the Gospels are very short compared to His 3 years of earthly ministry. This, to me at least, conveys the point that He wasn’t running around healing, walking on water, or changing water into wine every day.
I think the most striking scene in all the Bible is Jesus upon hearing of the death of Lazarus. He was fully God, but He was also fully Man. He limited Himself, just as we are limited. So it appears that Jesus, the man, didn’t yet know of his best friend’s peril. See what He does:
When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
You and I aren’t worshiping a God that isn’t normal. We aren’t worshiping a guy that doesn’t understand us or our humanity. He has been here, dealt with the pain, tears, and joys of being human. Also, it is quite clear that even in heaven Jesus takes the form of a human being.
Many of us live life as if we’re the ‘normal ones’ and the others are the strange ones. We even think that we are more ‘normal’ than God, which is a falsehood. This was a major factor in Christ’s decent unto this broken, corrupted earth. It was partly to show a hyper-spiritual, hyper-religious world that He created us in His image and that He is the very definition of normal.
Religious people are the strange ones–even more so than the ones we see walking the streets talking to themselves–at least they are honest and open about where and who they are. Religion, not Christ, teaches us how to place false identities on, how to place unbearable amounts of burden on our shoulders. Religion teaches us the “correct way of worship,” how to “pray,” and how to be prim and proper in public, yet live a nightmare at home. Some, but not all, children of pastors can attest to this–and sadly they do, publicly.
Our hyper-spirituality, our neat Christian buzz words, and our distaste of society (or, “the world” as they are usually known) has made us odd. Now, there is a oddity of being a Christian, no doubt. But I’m talking about our religious masks and falsehoods we put on the seem like normal Christians is ironically the very thing making us strange.
With this in view, it seem that we are the strange ones, God is the normal One.
Some More Good News of the Gospel…
He not only laid His life down for our sin, but He also temporarily laid His heavenly glory down to be…normal.
That’s the Jesus we know and love. If you don’t know Him to be this way, I suggest you ask Him yourself. It may revolutionize your walk with Him.
–Michael Young, July 2013