Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for Jesus

I've been a Christian my whole life so I would definitely say that Jesus has been an huge influence on my life.  I know some skeptics of religion would say that I've been brainwashed into believing what I believe.  However, I've looked at other religions and been through times of my life where I've questioned my faith but yet I'm still a Christian.

Christian or not, most people think that Jesus was a good guy.  You can generally tell the character of a person by how they treat animals and children.  While we never see Jesus really interact with animals, he does teach about how God is concerned with the sparrows and knows if one falls to the ground.  We do see him interact with children though.  It's the well-known Bible story where people are bringing children to Jesus and the disciples try to shoo them away but Jesus rebukes them and instead, welcomes the children with open arms.

It's also interesting to see how Jesus interacts with women.  In those days, women were definitely second class citizens.  Yet, Jesus doesn't treat them as second class citizens and he is kind to them and had many women followers.  Here of some examples of Jesus and women of the Bible:
  • The woman caught in adultery:  First of all, this was a trap because both the woman and the man should have been dragged out and several witnesses were required who were strangely absent.  Jesus, after telling the Pharasees that the person with no sin should be the first to throw a stone, is extremely kind to her.  He could have easily punished her but instead he dismisses her, telling her to leave her life of sin.  
  • The woman who had bleeding problems:  What most people would not have realized was that this bleeding would have made her ceremonially unclean so she would have been an outcast.  So strong was her faith that she believed that she didn't even need to talk to Jesus, only to touch the hem of his clothes to be healed and God rewarded her for her faith by healing her.  Then, Jesus calls her out by saying "who touched me?" not to rebuke her but to assure her that she was healed and to hold up her faith.
  • The woman at the well:  If Jesus followed the cultural norms, he shouldn't have been talking to her.  Yet, being God, he knows about her life and all her husbands and knows that he needs to talk to her.  He is also kind to her.
  • The Canaanite woman:  She had come to Jesus asking him to heal her demon-possessed daughter.  Jesus tested her faith by saying that he shouldn't toss the children's food to the dogs yet she boldly replied that the dogs get the crumbs that fall from the master's table.  She was rewarded for her faith and her daughter was healed.
One of my favorite pictures of Jesus is from the movie Ben-Hur.  I know it isn't Biblical, but based on the portrait of Jesus in the Gospels, I don't see anything that would go against scripture.
If you're not familiar with the scene, Judah Ben-Hur is being dragged off to a Roman prison barge for a crime he didn't commit.  All the other prisoners are given water to drink after their long journey but the guard denies Ben-Hur a drink.  In anguish, he calls out "God help me" and suddenly hands appear with a cup of water.  Ben-Hur drinks.  The guard yells at the mysterious stranger that Ben-Hur doesn't get any water, at which point Jesus stands up and looks at the guard....and the guard wilts. 

Also, from my pastor's sermon on Easter, he pointed out that the Easter tomb was no-so-empty.  First of all, there were angels in it.  Secondly, Jesus at left all that linen used to wrap his dead body behind.  Scripture lists that it was folded over itself, not unraveled in a heap.  If someone had stole Jesus body or if Jesus had not really died but revived in the cool of the tomb, his linen would have been unraveled ( like unwrapping a mummy really) and in heap but it wasn't.  It was as if Jesus had passed through the linen and left it behind.  Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ actually illustrates this, so I have posted the video here.  Food for thought :)

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