Jesus was the most captivating person who ever lived.
If I’m honest, though, I think a lot about Jesus’ death and resurrection without giving as much thought to His life. But to skip over His life is to neglect the majority of the material in the Gospels!
A careful reading of the Gospels reveals that Jesus had a dynamic personality and even a sense of humor! Yet our descriptions of Jesus are often bland, mild, and worst of all: inaccurate.
This has to change. It’s time for Christians to see Jesus with fresh eyes. Here’s a look at three areas of Jesus’ life that might help you in this.
Jesus Had a Sense of Humor
I’ve heard it said that the Gospels never record Jesus smiling or laughing so He must have been serious all the time. But there are a few places where Jesus seems to be telling a joke or at least making a play on words. For instance, Jesus said,
“You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!” (Matt. 23:24).
Even though this is a serious statement, Jesus used a play on words in Aramaic. The Aramaic word for gnat is galma and the Aramaic word for camel is gamla. Throw in the fact that Jesus also called the Pharisees blind guides, and I’m sure at least one disciple had to smile at Jesus’ choice of words.
Jesus made a similar play on words with Peter’s name, which means “rock”:
“You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
Many of Jesus’ teachings contained comical word pictures. How silly would it be for me to rebuke someone with a splinter in his eye when I have a two-by-four in mine (Matt. 7:3)? How impossible would it be to try and fit a camel through the eye of a needle (Mark 10:25)? If your son ever asked you for a fish, would you give him a snake (Matthew 7:10)? If these images are comical to us now, why wouldn’t the original hearers find them funny as well?
I think Jesus clearly had a sense of humor. He was human, after all.
Jesus was an Memorable Teacher
Jesus was gifted at teaching others. Crowds gravitated to Him in droves to hear what He had to say. Jesus’ teaching often included short quips and vivid word pictures to illustrate His message. Here are some of his most memorable sayings:
“If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39).
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).
“Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matthew 6:27).
“Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1).
“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12).
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Mark 4:9).
“But many who are first will be last, and the last first” (Mark 10:31).
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve” (Mark 10:45).
Jesus’ teachings were noble, clever, and challenging all at the same time. No one taught like Jesus did. In fact, many people today who have never picked up a Bible can recognize some of Jesus’ sayings.
In John 6:63, Jesus said, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” Jesus’ very words should give us life. If His teachings ever seem to lose their impact on us, then it’s time to reacquaint ourselves with the Jesus in the Gospels.
Jesus was Polarizing
Jesus often challenged the status quo. He made people choose one side or the other, and this meant that people either loved Him or wanted to kill Him. Think about some of the radical things that Jesus did on this planet:
-Jesus once cursed a fig tree because it was barren.
-Jesus turned over tables in the temple and caused a scene.
-Jesus ran away from his parents when He was twelve to show the teachers a thing or two about the law.
-Jesus’ first miracle in the Gospel of John was turning water into wine at a wedding.
-While on the cross, Jesus publicly forgave the very ones who drove the nails into His body.
This is the Jesus we read about in the Gospels, and this is the Jesus that we worship today. May we read the Gospels with fresh eyes and let Jesus be Himself. God made us into His image, but we don’t need to return the favor.