J has to be for Jesus because He’s a game-changer. I used to think Bible thumpers were either 1. freaks or 2. recently lobotomized. It didn’t help that my first lesson on organized religion was Jim Jones and his deadly Kool-Aide. I thought that feeling or showing any zeal for god would land me square in the middle of the Salem witch trials or a mass suicide in South America. This Kool-Aid didn’t come from my parents. It was part of my public school curriculum.
Hollywood didn’t help matters. Until recently (I’d even say until Mel Gibson’s, The Passion) Jesus was portrayed as an emasculated, chalky-skinned wraith whose eyes rested at half mast as though he’d just put down the bong, who stretched out his vowels so that every word was more moan than word. That, and the scary Jesus (still somehow effeminate and weak-looking) who waved His split and bloody hand at me and pointed to his thorn-belted heart. Not exactly arms into which I wanted to run.
I remember watching The Jesus Movie. It was Easter, and the ancients were snoozing in the lazy-boys, the adults were on their after dinner walk, and Jesus was being crucified right there in the living room. It was a turning point for 10-year-old me. Could people really be so cruel? And yet this bloody and broken man forgave the very ones who killed him. The crucifixion of Jesus was the ugliest thing I’d ever seen.
So I had this impression of Jesus, that he was weak and beaten and the whole business was shameful.
The truth about Jesus is that He could mow down our best Navy seals with the words I am. In church, Jesus did a little Hulk act on the money lenders. Like, full-on raging. Can you imagine Jimmy Swaggart preaching live and some dude struts across the stage, picks of the podium, throws it, then yells insults at him? That happened (Matthew 21:12). Or my personal favorite (because it sounds like me when I’m parenting): You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you?
I want to see that Jesus. I want the fiery, magnetic God who could out-wit anyone, who got mad sometimes and sad sometimes and died so well that in His death He made believers. A tall order, I know, to capture the full character of God.
If you know of any new movies/shows that come close, please leave them in the comment section. I’d love to change my tune. 🙂