Was Jesus Boring?
I teach a lot about how Jesus was the embodiment of love—patient, kind, not pushy or rude. Yet never the sentimentalist, he also acted and spoke with sensible justice and show stopping truth. All the while he wasn’t crabby because he knew how to “speak the truth in love” (Eph 4:29).
In the midst of this, however, I think people miss how adventurous, intriguing and surprising Jesus was. He did the unthinkable—healing people who needed it even when the authorities said it was the wrong day (Sabbath), picking out the attentive mobster in the crowd and choosing to stay at his house, and praising the faith of loose women and Gentiles (Zacchaeus, the woman with the alabaster jar, the Syrophoenician woman, the centurion). Perhaps because I’m not adventurous by nature but would like to be, I’ve put myself in the place of those disciples who never knew what would happen next. Who would Jesus choose to be kind to? Yet another loud beggar like Bartimeus?! Who would Jesus meet with by night? A Pharisee, Nicodemus.
I’ve often imagined myself as one of those disciples sitting in a boat with Jesus looking ashore at a screaming, naked, crazed person with chains dangling from him. None of the gospels record anyone getting out of the boat but Jesus so maybe I stay in the boat all day, safe from this local terrorist who blocked anyone’s way who tried to visit the graveyard where he lived. A closer look tells me that he is a “cutter” who mutilates his own flesh at the pleasure of the
demon. From the boat I watch Jesus’ extreme bravery, tenderness and patience with “Legion.” Eventually this man becomes “clothed and in his right mind” (Mark 5:15 NRSV). Where did Jesus get these clothes? Did Jesus help him dress, avoiding his cuts and bruises? Did Jesus smooth the inevitably tangled, uncut hair and clean his beard? By the time the shocked townspeople arrive, “Legion” is “sitting at Jesus’ feet” (a New Testament term used to describe a disciple). So Jesus taught him as he helped him and then stuck around to groom him as a disciple. What next, Jesus?
Life today with Jesus is also never boring. I never know who the Spirit will nudge me to speak a kind word to, to goof around with, to look into their eyes and say, “I know you can do this!” (as Dallas Willard often said to me). Each day I pray that I’ll be a blessing to someone, maybe even to a person I don’t know. I don’t know what’s next, but I know that this journey with Jesus is the only way to truly live!
Grace and peace,
©Jan Johnson Adapted from ch 9 of Invitation to the Jesus Life and pp. 53-57 of Meeting God in Scripture
Nov 2 Enneagram workshop. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/enneagram-workshop-with-jan-johnson-tickets-65504845757
Jan 13 Enneagram online course: What do you want to be different about you this year?