Thursday, 26 November 2009

Who are you following?

I don't know about you, but I get quite fed up (surprise surprise) about ridiculous images of Jesus. Especially heading towards Christmas and Easter we get these pictures on cards of Jesus with a warm yellow glow around his head, and with perfectly straightened blonde hair that a teenage girl would be proud of, doeful looking eyes and wearing a spotless white dress. Some of our christmas carols make it worse... "the little Lord Jesus, no crying he made"... really? I wish I had a baby who slept in heavenly peace and didn't cry ever.

Is it any wonder that men and boys find it hard to follow a Jesus like this? Would following Jesus mean they have to give up on being real, tough, honest men? Not in my Bible it doesn't. Now here is the complicated bit, in my Bible, Jesus is fully 100 % God but also fully 1oo % man. That means that whilst we should absolutely love him, worship him and serve him as God, it also means that in following Him men can be men! What, they don't have to grow their hair and use straighteners? No, absolutely not!

In my Bible, Jesus spits on someone to heal them (would a girl do that? really?). He gets angry and turns over a load of tables and gets out a whip (a girl would have called it all to order by clapping her hands and putting on a teacher voice). He went totally against the cultural norms and picked grain on the Sabbath, which would have taken a massive amount of courage. He makes a tree dry up and die because it isn't bearing any fruit - rather extreme don't you think? The most courageous thing of all, of course, is the extreme pain he bore whilst being tortured and left to die on a cross. He felt this pain, because he is a man. He wasn't some kind of Superhero. He didn't just magically leave his body so as not to feel the pain. He felt it, and he died in excruciating agony. Of course, he was the ultimate champion and the ultimate in 'Superhero's' because he beat death and rose again 3 days later.

This is the Jesus I want to follow, and the one we want to teach our boys to follow. Not some namby pamby girly frilly portrayal of Jesus, but a Jesus who is the champion, the King, the ultimate in courage and strength, who has gone before them and knows all the difficulties they will face, who can do radical things and make choices that go against the flow.

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