In relentlessly pursuing my Jesus, I am rereading The Jesus I Never Knew, by Phillips Yancey. After the first three chapters, not only do I like Yancy’s style of writing, but how he depicts who Jesus really is.
Phillip begins the book by talking about the Jesus he knew as a child from Sunday School stories and pictures. He states his image of Jesus was “someone kind and reassuring, with no sharp edges at all – a Mister Rogers before the age of children’s television.” I can relate to this type of image. I for the most part, have had it in my head that Jesus was always loving, compassionate and kind.
Mr. Yancy through reading gospel accounts and watching different films on Jesus’s life, realizes Jesus “bore little resemblance to the Mister Rogers figure I had met in Sunday school….For one thing he was far less tame.” ” Far less tame.” Does this mean that the Jesus I am pursuing is no mansy pansy? Wait, isn’t He full of agape (unconditional) love, compassion and obedience? While here on earth didn’t He do the will of His Father, the one who sent Him? Surely, I have this right. Or do I?
Yes, Jesus came to do the will of His Father. However, he didn’t live on earth like some sub-human. He live out his time here like you and I. (Only without sin) Yancy put it like this, “Other people affected Jesus deeply: obstinacy frustrated him, self-righteousness infuriated him, simple faith thrilled him. Indeed, he seemed more emotional and spontaneous than the average person, not less. More passionate, not less.” He goes on to state “two words one could never think of applying to Jesus of the Gospels: boring and predictable.”
Somewhere along life’s road, I had this notion Christians were soft-spoken, reverent and never debated or questioned authority. Evidently, I haven’t been the only one. After all, we have lost prayer in school, abortion is legal, graphic sexual images are available by the click of a mouse, and churches are tolerant to sin in their pulpits. Is it because we have become mansy pansy Christians?
Take a look again at what Yancy stated, Jesus was “more emotional and spontaneous than the average person.” So, to coin the popular phrase from a few years back, “What would Jesus do… today?” Would he cower at those in authority and continue to allow the shedding of innocent blood? Would he stand by and watch this generations Goliath (pornography) destroy men, women, and families? What about sin in our churches?
Think back to the gospels, don’t you agree now with Yancy? Jesus certainly was not boring or predictable! Remember how He reacted to those selling goods in the temple? Did he tolerate it? Did he allow those who were selling to get up and preach the next Sunday? Was He afraid to confront sin, because he just might offend someone? I don’t think so!
My Jesus is no mansy pansy…and if I am to live like Christ, than who am I to be mansy pansy?