When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table… Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “speak.” (Luke 7:36, 40-41)
nce in a while, in the middle of a carefully planned small-group meeting, a real conversation breaks out. Actually, it happens every week at “The Men’s Room” – that’s the natural result when you combine 8-10 thoughtful Jesus-followers with a little inspirational reading and a nudge or two of good facilitation.
But it’s usually something I hadn’t planned or anticipated that ends up being the best of the conversation. I always have a series of questions and lines of discussion prepared, but I seldom need more than the first two or three because so many other variables – including God’s spirit – tend to kick in.
QUESTION: Consequently, in the middle of a good exchange around C.S. Lewis’s characterization of God’s incarnation in Jesus, I wasn’t at all surprised to hear what turned out to be a GREAT question drop out of my mouth.
“So, who’s your favorite Jesus?” I said.
Here’s the context. Last weekend in Nashville one of the Blakemore UMC men said, “My favorite Jesus is Palm Sunday Jesus. Riding in, crowds cheering, showing some subversion, then heading into the Temple to clear out the money-changers….”
So I shared “Palm Sunday Jesus” with the First Presbyterian Church of Brandon men, and then asked who their favorite Jesus is. We had some insightful answers and some deep conversation. Here’s a sampling:
“The Jesus who wrote in the sand when the Pharisees dragged in the women they wanted Jesus to condemn. He’s so cool, so wise, so on-point…”
“I love the Jesus who stood in front of Pilate and – essentially – invited the Roman governor into a conversation about faith…”
“My favorite Jesus is the Jesus who is so open and sensitive to the people around him; the Jesus who listens…”
“I have to say the Jesus who challenges with the truth, the one who asks the man by the pool, ‘Do you even want to be healed?’…”
“My favorite Jesus is the one who stands by me, faithfully, today….”
And there was more, of course. Like I said, these men are thoughtful and they are open-spirited.
AS FOR ME: I didn’t get a chance to answer the question myself. And I have to say here that we aren’t talking about a hand-crafted or designer Jesus, tailored and re-imagined to our individual specifications. No, we’re not interested in making up any watered-down or sanitized Jesus who’s a little tamer, or more easy to handle. Goodness, no. What we’re talking about – both in my small-group and here this morning – is what particular characteristic (of the Jesus we are still getting to know) resonates with my/your spirit right now, and speaks directly into my/your life and need?
Del Parson (truthbook.com)
For me, today, it’s the Jesus who sits at the dinner table, laughs easily, listens intently, and drops vignettes of wisdom, and peace, and hope in response to my deepest need.
Who is your favorite Jesus… today? - DEREK
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