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….
If we are asked… who do we say Jesus is?
Who is Jesus to US?
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
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?
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.
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
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 – – –
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.
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
Yet, Jesus was human – and humans have emotions – and get angry –
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 –
So, Who is Jesus to you ?
Baby Son of God Prophet King Savior Teacher Brother Friend Healer Wise Man
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?
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-
- In the homeless shelters
- In the Child Saving Institute
- In the shacks of East Africa
- In the penitentiaries
- In the inner city streets
- In the animal shelters
- In ourselves…
When Jesus asked the disciples:
Who do you say that I am?
- How would we answer?