Who Is Jesus?
Jesus . . . the Messiah . . . the Christ . . . the Son of God. We've all heard of him, but who exactly is this guy? What makes him such a big deal? From the annihilation of cultural barriers and the acceptance of outcasts to a message of restoration and love for the broken, Jesus—a friend of sinners—was definitely a radical social revolutionary. But what else? Is there more? Who is Jesus? Explore more here.
Questions for Discussion and Personal Reflection
- What does it mean to you that Jesus wanted to be around society's outcasts?
- Do you think that Jesus would accept you as you are?
When we look at the life of Jesus, and we look at what his life, what his teachings said about how to treat others, about, um, how he feels about the world around him, it's hard initially to understand it because we don't always identify the context in which he, which he's in. We don't, we don't identify with how restrictive it was, how, um, the culture of the day treated different people. So the fact that he would be near a leper, who was considered unclean, where, um, lepers were assigned to colonies, as it were, um, because their belief, the belief of that time, of that culture was that if you have that kind of disease, you've done something. You know, there was a reason— that, that reflected on you so that he would touch someone, that he would heal someone is cutting through so many barriers within society.
The outcast, the marginalized, the prostitutes, the tax collectors who were the, the thieving, immoral partiers of his day, they flock to him. So much so that among the religious crowd, Jesus got a bad reputation. They called him the, a, a drunk, and glutton, and friend of sinners. That's what they called Jesus. Now, he wasn't a glutton and he, and he wasn't a drunkard, but he hung out with them, and they loved him.
You see how there's not a one-size-fits-all response to Jesus with people? Like, he doesn't, you know, treat this woman like he would this man or this religious person like this non-religious person. Like, he, he knows people, and he addresses them, addresses the issues of their heart accordingly. You know, he sits down with the woman, uh, at a well who's been married five times, is living with some guy, and he, he offers her forgiveness and living water. Like, he accepts her and talks to her when she's an outcast. He's the man we all aspire to be. I would like to be that nice. I would, I would like to be that caring. I would like to be that thoughtful.
When we read in the gospels about a woman caught in adultery and we, we know the system of the day, the law of the day, is saying that she should be stoned to death. I kind of wonder why it didn't say the guy should, too, but that's another story. But that he, he says and you, you see in the story and the in- intensity of the story that they're saying, "Okay, Jesus, what we do? We've caught her. You know what should happen here," and that Jesus would take the time and say, "Who, who's never, if any of you've never made a mistake, never got it wrong, never missed the mark, you throw that first stone," um, not only says something about the value of that woman, but challenges how people perceive people and how easy it is to judge, how easy it is to, to make ourselves look good in the light of someone else's life.
If you go and you just read the stories of Jesus, you know, the, the eye witnesses— Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John— who wrote about him, and you just go, "What if God's really like that? You go, that's always, that, that's what I've always hoped," you know? That God would love us that much and that even in our brokenness and our hurt, He comes and he restores. He doesn't come to condemn. He actually comes to set us free from the fear of condemnation. Jesus claimed to remove every barrier between all of humanity and God except one. He doesn't take away our free will. We don't have to jump through religious hoops, we don't have to prove that we can keep the Ten Commandments, the Eight-fold Path, the Five Pillars, you know, or the moral law perfectly because we can't. So Jesus came to restore every willing human and make it so that all we have to do is turn our hearts back to God.