(The context for this “study” is the entire New Testament. And years spent attempting to know Him better.)
For quite a while I’ve been thinking about why I like Jesus. I’m not talking about the reasons why I LOVE Him. . . but why I LIKE HIM. There are things He said and did which I could never attempt, much less accomplish. He lived a perfect life. I could never do that. He never sinned. That kind of conduct isL impossibly and eternally beyond my reach. He was perfect in every way. I don’t even come close to that! Someone told my wife I was a perfect idiot. She jumped immediately to my defense and said: “He is NOT! NO ONE IS PERFECT!” He died for our sins. He rose again from the dead, and I have no idea how to do that!
Like I said, there are things about Him that I worship and adore. But could never achieve with any amount of effort. What I’m thinking about now, though, are the things He said and did what He did that I really like a lot. And can probably find them “do-able.”
One thing is that He loved little children. And they loved Him. One day when a lot of people (including children) were pressing in close to hear Him, the disciples tried to “shooo” them away. Jesus put an abrupt end to that, and told the disciples to allow the children to come as close as they wished. “They’re the kind of people who populate Heaven.”* He never told the little children to “grow up!” Instead, He said: “Unless you (speaking to adults) become as little children, you shall not see (much less enter) the Kingdom of God.”** Another time, when a crisis developed, Jesus’ disciples panicked because they had a big, hungry crowd on their hands and nothing with which to feed them. They thought they had a p.r. disaster on their hands. Jesus calmed them down and asked them to take inventory of the situation. The “man of the hour” who helped save the occasion was a little boy who offered all he had to help solve the problem: his lunch. Five little biscuits and a couple of pan fish which his mom, no doubt, had packed for him for his lunch. ***
I have no idea how Jesus did the things He did. I know very well I could NEVER come close to accomplishing such feats. I also know, though, that I can love little children and treat them with respect and kindness.
Another thing I really like about Jesus is that all kinds of people felt comfortable in his presence. His critics (check them out) accused him of being a “friend of publicans and sinners.” Riff-raff. Hoi polloi. He took that as a compliment, proudly called them “friends.” and later laid down His life for folks like that. We’re told that the “common people heard Him gladly.” Obviously, that was because He spoke about things that meant something to them. . . and He did it clearly and simply. They could understand what He said. It was so clear. He didn’t seek to confuse them, or impress them with high-sounding words or lofty phrases or ambiguous ideas. He didn’t injure their already over-burdened, downtrodden spirit with harsh, judgmental pronouncements. He didn’t talk down to them or hurl hurtful words at them. Good, solid down-to-earth people (Fishermen, for example) enjoyed just being in His company.
I also like Jesus for the fact that He wasn’t destroyed when He was interrupted. He seemed not to have a “panic button.” You see on numerous occasions how people came to Him, seemingly from out of nowhere, and just broke in abruptly on what He was doing (or saying) at the time. Invariably, He used the interruption as an occasion to bring hope, healing, and “blessing” to the “Interrupter” (If that’s even a word!).
I’ll need to work on that virtue he showed. If I’m concentrating on something and get interrupted, I tend to get rattled. Aggravated. Agitated. Out of focus. Maybe even impatient, touchy or belligerent. If I acted more like Jesus, perhaps I could see and seize opportunity to do good. . . even if distracted temporarily from something else I happened to be doing and thought was important. I should at least consider that possibility.
And I like the way Jesus was unimpressed with power and pretense. He didn’t hesitate, or weaken His words, even when facing the hierarchical hounds who pursued Him to His death. The people who ALWAYS felt uncomfortable in His presence were those who were pretentiously pious and equally pompous in their positions. They were impressed with themselves and strutted with their robes and finery and inflated self-importance and self-righteousness. Self-seeking, self-serving, arrogant and unconcerned about the unfortunate. Jesus was unimpressed by people like that, told them so, and deflated their bloated egos like a punctured balloon.
He was kind. He was gentle. He was rugged, not a sissy. Definitely a man’s man. He commanded admiration and respect. The people who didn’t “like” Him and in fact came to hate Him, were the self-righteous, self-satisfied, self-serving professional religionists. They were always uneasy in His presence, because somehow they knew He knew them for who they really were. And did not hesitate to tell them so!
Taking His life totally, I stand in awe. I bow in humble adoration before the Carpenter from Nazareth whom I gratefully call: “Saviour.” But, honestly, I enjoy knowing Him and appreciate the fact that He calls me “Friend.” I like Him, and wish my life incorporated more of the genuinely warm, gentle, human traits.
I have a favorite song, which I’ve asked to be sung at any final service marking my departure from this life. I have hummed and sung it to myself for years and when I’d use it in speeches, I’d attribute it to an anonymous author. A friend in Atlanta helped me identify the writer: A Methodist minister, Thomas Obadiah Chisholm, who wrote in the early 1900’s. Although I do not achieve the objective, his words express my desire. The melody is inspiring, and some of the words go like this:
I have one deep, supreme desire: That I may be like Jesus.
To this I fervently aspire: that I may be like Jesus.
I want my heart His home to be, so that a watching world may see
His likeness shining forth in me. I want to be like Jesus.
Oh perfect life of Christ my Lord. . . I want to be like Jesus.
My recompense and my reward~that I may be like Jesus.
His spirit fill my hungering soul; His power all my life control.
My deepest prayer, my hightest goal ~ that I may be like Jesus.
His servant, your friend and fellow student~donkimrey
(FYI: A “publican” was a tax collector. In those days, these guys were despised. Believe it or not, they were worse than today’s worst They were predators serving a foreign power and sucking economic life from their own people. They collected the huge tax assessments imposed by the occupying Roman government and “tacked on” their “commissions” which piled even heavier burdens to the Jews.) Next time we visit, I intend to get better acquainted with Moses. I’m hoping you’ll take time to become familiar with his life as it is recorded in the Genesis, the book I believe he wrote. This will continue the examination of the lives of what I’ve been calling “God’s ‘Comeback’ Kids. We’ll use the same procedures as before, investigative journalism, and asking pertinent questions. ~dk)