Okay, so I’m not sure I have a lot of scriptural support for this one, but I think I might be on to something. Seriously, don’t you think that most people imagine Jesus like some kind of zen-like, super-spiritual, crazy-wise guru type guy? You know, like Ghandi, but of course, more Christian. (I’m always wondering why we imagine him with so many hyphenated adjectives?)
I think we picture him wandering about the middle east landscape from village to village dispensing words of wisdom, performing super-cool miracles, and doing other rabbi-like things. I’m not sure what those rabbi-like things are, but I’m fairly sure that we don’t tend to imagine Jesus laughing his head off with the disciples, or just enjoying himself when he was hanging out with all those drunkards and gluttons. The other day, I realized something about my own particular Christology (that’s the fancy word for the stuff I believe about Jesus). I think Jesus laughed when people farted. It’s funny! Even grown-up, mature business men will laugh when someone farts in the men’s washroom. I think Jesus laughed at farts. (Those of you that are of the female persuasion will just have to take my word for this.)
Alright, how about some scripture stuff to back this up. Or at least give it a shot. Luke 7:34 is an interesting verse, that I think sheds some provocative light on the personality of Jesus. Here’s what Jesus himself says, “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.”
If Jesus was a huge buzzkill, do you really think the tax collectors, sinners, drunkards and gluttons would have had anything to do with him? I mean, they were drawn to him, so much so that Jesus himself was identified with this particular group of people. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t because he was preaching fire and brimstone, condemnation and judgement at them the whole time they were hanging out. I think that the gluttons and drunkards, the tax collectors and sinners actually liked hanging out with Jesus. I think he made them feel good about themselves. I think he made them feel hopeful. I think he lifted their spirits. I think he made them laugh, and I think he laughed when he was with them, because I think he enjoyed them. In fact, I’m fairly certain, he actually loved them!
Before you go sending me hate mail, or posting hugely critical responses to this posting, let me assure you that I don’t think that Jesus found anything funny about a lifestyle that was contrary to the life of the Kingdom, or that he was “soft on sin.” I’m not suggesting that Jesus thought their sin was anything less than destructive and sad, but what I am saying, is that I think Jesus was willing to meet these people where they were at. To meet them on their terms, their turf, baggage and all. I think it’s why they liked him. I think it’s why so many of them ended up dying for him. He met them in the middle of their mess, and loved them for who they were underneath it all. I mean, that’s where he meets me. Where does he meet you?
So what about us? How do you interact with the crowd that seemed to be so precious to Jesus? Are you quick to send out judgment and condemnation, or are you willing to head into the middle of the chaos and mess to meet people where they’re at and begin relationships there? Are you willing to meet on someone else’s turf and keep your disapproving looks to yourself?
As for me, I want to try to be the kind of person Jesus was. I know I’ve got a long way to go, and a God’s got a ton of work to do on me yet, but to get started, I think I’ll head into the mess to meet some people where they’re at. And you can be sure, that I’ll be laughing hard the next time someone farts. It’s just too funny not to.