I am in love with a renegade.
Yes, I love "The Hub" dearly – and he would undoubtedly fill those categories. We tease him all the time that he should have been born in 1854. He's a whole lot of Jeremiah Johnson (the consummate mountain man), a touch of Butch Cassidy, with a liberal sprinkling of Virgil Earp in there…
But he's not the one I'm talking about.
I'm talking about Jesus.
I just finished reading a wonderful book (in my humble opinion) called "Beautiful Outlaw" by John Eldredge.
Eldredge talks about the very real Jesus that we encounter in the Gospels. Let me tell you, THAT Jesus is not the Jesus that the world thinks they know. Eldredge subtitles his book, "Experiencing the playful, disruptive, extravagant personality of Jesus."
Doesn't that sound delicious?
You know, to me, if you don't know the true Person of Jesus, then the real meaning of the Incarnation kinda fades. It will become just a nice picture of a cherubic baby who came into the world, meek and mild – only to grow up into a Jesus who was a kind and gentle man, who sweetly taught people "good lessons."
If you don't know the true Person of Jesus, you only know a two-dimensional cardboard imitation of the real thing.
Listen to what Eldredge says:
"Reading the Gospels without knowing the personality of Jesus is like watching television with the sound turned off."
Yeah, Jesus on mute.
This book has me pondering…especially at this time of year.
Exactly WHO was born in that manger??
Not a wimp, that's for sure. Not someone boring. Not someone easy.
If you read the Gospels, Jesus is someone wonderful. He is exciting and unpredictable. He hates the status quo. He angers the "religious" and loves sinners. He is sometimes clever, sometimes sarcastic. He is always intelligent. He doesn't fit into any stereotype.
He is dynamic and charismatic – and quite honestly, a bit unmanageable.
I like that in a Savior, don't you?
I have lately been gripped by a new fervor for the Person of Jesus – it's overtaking me. I have been captured by the Son of God – real, uncontainable, thrilling.
I am reminded of a scene in the book "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" (from C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia). One of the children, Lucy, has never met Aslan (the Lion who is Jesus). Listen to this conversation:
"Is he – quite safe?" [asks Lucy].
"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good."
Later, Mr. Beaver also says this: "He's wild, you know. Not like a tame lion."
You know, I love a rodent who speaks the truth!
So, you see, as I think about that baby in the manger, I'm taking a new look at exactly what happened there, and exactly who was born. Yes, it happened quietly, only in the presence of Mary and Joseph, in an obscure and lonely, dirty and dingy place.
But oh! God might as well have hurled a cosmic thunderbolt to earth!
A comet of salvation slammed into earth that moment, and life would never be the same again. The dark and lonely world had been struck with the Lord of Light, and Satan's kingdom had been invaded. Look out – the Almighty Son of God took His first breath, and Life itself began!
I'm sure the heavens shook.
It just gives me goosebumps.
Now, the enemy does his best to keep the real Person of Jesus hidden from us. The enemy tries to convince us that Jesus is weak, uncaring, restrictive – or worse yet, totally irrelevant.
No, no, no.
I will not listen to those particular lies.
The Jesus who was born in the manger came to upend the world's value system. He came to revolutionize the human heart. He came to love mankind in an impossibly sacrificial way.
He came to turn ME inside out – to interrupt MY agenda, to challenge MY goals, to disturb MY comfort – to shape and mold and prune and knead.
He came to give me HIS life.
I don't know about you, but THAT'S the Jesus I love and want to follow.
The Jesus who was born in the manger is a hero…
Do you know the REAL Jesus deep in your heart? Has He lit your life on fire?
(I would also recommend this book, along the same lines: "The Jesus I Never Knew" by Philip Yancey. Of course, there is no better place to meet the real Jesus than in the pages of God's Word.)
It's time for Joan's GRACE CAFE - come on over and join us!
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"