Will the Real Jesus, Please, Stand Up? June 11, 2017

HOMILY

Will the Real Jesus Please Stand UP

What criteria determines who we say someone is?

Our Impression of them –     based on our filters, baggage, world view and who WE are.

Our Expectations of who we want them to be,                     or assume they  should be.

Our Experience with them, and the consistency of their behavior.

Our Familiarity with them – a deeper understanding         How they relate to us.

In the passage today, Jesus asks –

Who do people say that the   Son of Man is?

(side note- how often do we   hear someone talk about themselves in third  person?—just a thought)

The disciples told Jesus that people thought he was Elijah –

Others said he was

John to Baptist – Jeremiah – or one of the prophets –

People held Jesus in such regard as to think he was possibly a historic figure    returned from the dead –

Then Jesus asked the Disciples –

who do YOU say I am ?

And the impulsive Simon Peter chimed in with –

You are the Messiah, Son of the living God.

Peter said – you are the anointed one –you are special….

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If we are asked… who do we say Jesus is?

Who is Jesus to US?

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Which Jesus do we relate to most:

Manger gentle/vulnerable/precious little baby

Teaching in Temple  young – pure – innocent of the world

Turning water to wine     obedient to his mother –        finding his power –

Healing the bleeding woman                      compassionate – blind to diversity – aware

Cleansing the temple    righteous anger –                   taking a stand – making a statement

Teacher        one who shares his knowledge –        takes time for others

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When Jesus comes to mind –                                                  what does OUR Jesus look like?

Vi –       What color is Jesus’ hair?

Mara-   What color is Jesus’ skin?

Dee –    What nationality is Jesus?

Jo –    What does Jesus’ hair look like?

Does our imagination have Jesus look like this – what some people call Jesus’ High School picture

Warner Sallman      Commercial Artist –

Through the encouragement of a business associate,

Sallman enrolled at a Bible school. Sallman recalled a conversation with the dean of the school,

Dr. E. O. Sellers, which had an impact on his image of Christ.

The dean said,

“Sometime I hope you give us your conception of Christ.

And I hope it’s a manly one. Most of our pictures today are too effeminate.”

In 1924, Sallman produced a sketch for a magazine cover that portrayed a strong yet serene image of Jesus.

This sketch was the basis of what would become Sallman’s most recognizable painting,

the Head of Christ, which has been reproduced an estimated 500 million times.

Or

This one of Jesus Knocking at the door –         another Warner Sallman piece

whose subject is based on Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock …”

The barely concealed heart produced by the luminance of Christ and the frame of the doorway convey Christ’s call to the soul ensnared      in thistles of sin and the darkness      of ignorance and willfulness.

Yet, as promotional literature points out,

“all is not hopeless, for there is an opening of grillwork in the door ‘revealing the darkness within,’

so that the individual may see who is at the door, and see that He is good and kind.”

For many, the image offers assurance of Christ’s benevolent yet persistent love.

others interpret the image in terms of the freedom of will.

A Lutheran clergyman admires the painting

“because the absence of any outside knob or latch on the door indicates that one must open one’s heart       to Christ from within —

He will not force His way inside.”

Adding to our mental image of who Jesus was and is.

Artists created these images of Christ from their own   Impressions/filters experience, expectations and interpretations

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Is there scripture that gives a physical a description of Jesus – what he looked like?

Color of his eyes, skin –hair?

The only idea we have of what Jesus might have looked like comes from

where we are told he was born and  where he lived his life…

He was in Nazareth, Bethlehem, Egypt, Galilee and all of these places were HOT, DRY and desert type lands.

The middle east…

Locations in which people have   darker skin, dark hair and  often  dark eyes – – –

has many skin tones

 

Forensic Anthropology.

Using methods similar to those police have developed to solve crimes, British scientists, assisted by Israeli archeologists,

have re-created what they believe is the most accurate image of the most famous face in human history.

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After we get past our image of Jesus’ physical appearance –

What sort of person is our Jesus?

Is our Jesus      reserved   and     dignified

Or         adventurous and     full of laughter -pranks

Is our Jesus      quiet and introspective

Or         talkative and   in constant motion

Is our Jesus        self-confident and                             secure in himself

Or         reticent   and    unassuming

Is our Jesus        Introverted   Or   Extroverted

Is our Jesus ever ANGRY?

When,  and  Why?

Oh, when asked about when Jesus has ever been angry –

What is the story that comes to mind?

Cleansing the Temple – the paintings always show him with a whip and an angry face and chasing out the money changers –

But what other time can we point to?

We hesitate to think of Jesus angry – that is not who Jesus is….       that is not what we expect —                           like Peter –        do we have preconceived ideas    of who we think Jesus        SHOULD be??

We think of Jesus being gentle, merciful, quiet, compassionate – peaceful… passive — wise

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Yet, Jesus was human –   and humans have emotions –                     and get angry

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Remember when the disciples got in a boat, and began across the lake and a storm arrived –                          Jesus awoke, stood up in the boat as the water washed over, the boat rocked wildly                                          and the wind roared and whipped furiously –   and the disciples were terrified….

To calm the storm

Jesus said–      Peace, Be Still – Can we imagine Jesus raising his voice –   or being agitated or being loud    how do you hear Jesus calming the storm —

I hear Jesus SHOUTING   PEACE – BE STILL –

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So, Who is Jesus to you ?

Baby         Son of God           Prophet             King      Savior        Teacher       Brother       Friend         Healer         Wise Man

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Who do you Say that I am?

  • How did we describe Jesus when we were a child?        Or a Teen –
  • How has that description changed once becoming  an adult?

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How do we tell someone about Jesus ?

How do we describe Jesus to a child?                                                        To an adult?

To someone from another culture?

We all describe Jesus differently –

Could it be that we ALL see Jesus differently

We see OUR Jesus through our own experience,                                                               our own reason,                                                        our traditions and   our     own interpretation of scriptures.

Whether our Jesus has    light white skin   Or                                                       dark muddy skin

Whether our Jesus has blue eyes    or                                                                     dark brown black eyes

Whether our Jesus has straight blond hair Or                                                      dark wavy hair – curly

Whether our Jesus has    a short pointed nose       Or                                             a flat, wide or large hook                                                nose

Whether our Jesus is        short and fat                    Or   Tall and slim

It makes NO difference –

As long as we pay                                                                                        attention to his LIPS                                                                      And what comes out of them…

Will the Real Jesus,                                                                 Please stand up…

And when he does – will we recognize him

Or more importantly – will be KNOW HIM?

We are introduced to the REAL Jesus                      though the gospels

We come to know the REAL Jesus                            through Prayer – meditation –                                        and spiritual experience.

We MEET the Real Jesus everyday-

      1. In the homeless shelters
      2. In the Child Saving   Institute
      3. In the shacks of East Africa
      4. In the penitentiaries
      5. In the inner city streets
      6. In the animal shelters
      7. In ourselves…

When Jesus asked the disciples:

Who do you say that I am?

  • How would we answer?