We had a good meeting today, and several people were able to come, despite nasty icy winter-mix weather. Yes, it’s true, we’re a bunch of troopers. 😀
Because the people who could make it this week did not include the one person who could make it last time, there was quite a bit of overlap in our topic of conversation. So we covered a lot of the same territory, which was just fine with me. When talking about the Incarnation, it never hurts to hit the same subject more than once. Go read Word of Life Meeting 7 if you’re interested in our discussions on “the scandal of particularlity”.
In addition, today we wondered aloud about what Jesus’ inner life must be like. When He was in His childhood, adolescence and adulthood, He was no less God than He was at Genesis 1. He is the same divine Person, with the same personality, the same values, the same way of responding to things that He always had. Yet He was now a human being, in every possible sense of the word. How does that work? What does it look like? I don’t know, but I sure like thinking about it.
Also, we talked about the humility Jesus had in becoming human. He is the most profoundly misunderstood Man to ever set foot on the earth. When He was 28 years old, building things in the carpenter shop and talking care of His mom, people probably thought quite well of Him. They probably thought He was such a nice young man. They probably wondered when He was going to find a nice girl, settle down, and get about raising a family. They might remember Him as that bright kid with all the great questions in the temple. And Jesus would have been able to respond, “Folks, You do not know the half of it. You truly have no idea who you’re talking to.”
I think about how much it bugs me when someone just doesn’t get me. I get bothered when someone thinks they know me really well, and their conversation with me reveals that they don’t know me well at all. I easily become offended when people assume things about me. This is the stuff that Jesus lived with every day of His life, in perfect meekness and kindness. No one outside of His immediate family would have had a clue who He really was. Even some of His brothers had trouble with it. He could walk through the Nazareth marketplace, and nobody would give Him a second look. That, in itself, shows how utterly and completely He was misunderstood.
Even today, intellectual debates rage about Him. The questions on the documentaries are intentionally shocking and offensive. “Who was He REALLY?” or “The REAL story behind the so-called resurrection” or “What REALLY happened with all of those supposed miracles”, etc. Academia is trying to dissect Him and pronounce a certain level of ownership over Him. Once we can satisfy ourselves to have successfully categorized Him and filed Him in all our right cabinets, we consider ourselves to have conquered Him. This is a very, very bad idea. And it is also not possible. Jesus is who He is, and no amount of skeptical prattle can change that.
Even among us in the Church, we often terribly misunderstand Jesus. Sometimes we think of Jesus as too harsh with all His teaching and instructions that just seem too difficult. Sometimes we think He is too gooey and fluffy and nice to have much in the way of zeal, power, or judgment. Sometimes we’re not sure if we can trust what the Bible says about Him. For any number of reasons, the concept of Christ is sadly fuzzy, even among believers.
But in all this, He is no less the meek Man now than He was 2,000 years ago in Judea. He is incredibly patient and kind with us as we bumble along our way to spiritual maturity. I believe His heart yearns to teach us about Himself and to show us who He is, if we would but stop, ask, and listen.
But know that, the next time you feel misunderstood, Jesus, the Son of God Himself, has been there. That sting which comes from being misconstrued is not foreign to Him. He knows firsthand what it’s like to be wrongfully judged. You can trust Him to bring true comfort and healing to your heart, and to lead you into greater humility, just as He is humble.
Next Week: We’re still working out our schedule for the next meeting, but I hope to begin reading chapter 5. I will update you all once we’ve landed it.