The Man Jesus

You know what’s funny about this picture? How completely out of place Jesus seems. Check out the disciples. They are crammed together, vigorously communicating with each other and engaged in action. Jesus sits above all that, with his own generous portion of personal space and with his hands held out, as if he is perfectly still and at perfect peace.

What a silly painting.

We’ve always emphasized the deity of Christ at the expense, I think, of his humanity. We can see this in nearly all traditional Christian art. Jesus is always serene with a couple fingers in the air and halos and flaming organs and whatnot. But as I read the gospels, I don’t get the impression that he had a halo or any body parts in flame.

We forget that Jesus was a man. And that’s tragic.

  • When we forget Jesus was a man, one of the most important reasons for the incarnation is destroyed. That is, to show God in a way that we can understand.
  • When we forget Jesus was a man, we make him into a transcendent, ethereal being worthy of worship and reverence, but not imitation.
  • When we forget Jesus was a man, we allow ourselves to follow him only until the point where we no longer want to. At that point we say “Oh, well he was GOD and this act and that act are not really meant for me to imitate.”
  • When we forget Jesus was a man, we begin to follow an entity that simply does not exist.

Let’s not forget that Jesus was a sweating, eating, drinking and sleeping man. A man with hair. A man with a nose and toes. A man of a certain height and build and smell. Otherwise we’ve lost sight of him.