Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Sometimes I forget that Jesus actually lived.
I know that's a pretty basic concept in all that is Christianity, but honestly to slips my mind. I'm not sure it has more to do with always acknowledging that Jesus was much more than just a man, or if it was the plain old miraculousness of his life, or just the sad reality that there is this underlying perception in my surrounding culture that maybe Jesus didn't even exist. Blasphemous, I know, but who hasn't run into somebody who simply refuses to believe that Jesus even walked on this earth? With those three ideas swirling around in my atmosphere, I tend to get caught in perceiving Jesus as a very intangible magical person - a bit like Peter Pan or Frodo Baggins. Sometime Jesus becomes merely an archetype.
These past four weeks I've spent looking at the Gospels with a group of people who basically want to relearn who and what Jesus was in a historical context, without over spiritualizing it and trying our best to put aside our preconceived notions and beliefs. Each Sunday night we get together and discuss what we saw, and what it could have meant (again, in a historical context). I confess that though my intention was always to read the whole gospel before Sunday night, it never happened. Needless to say, that meant I usually missed a big chunk of the death, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Granted, we usually discussed this in the group, but I never personally read through it.
It wasn't until I sat down in my usual spot at Starbucks this morning, and read through a few of the last chapters in a few of the gospels that I remembered, rather I again acknowledged, that Jesus was real in the flesh and blood sort of way. While he was more than that, he was human.
My moment of realizing that Jesus did live was as I read John 19. The conflict between the "Jewish officials," and Pilate, for some reason, made it real. The back and forth conversation as to whose responsibility it was to kill Jesus and the position that Pilate was caught in, being a roman official juggling an angry mob, Roman authority, and the claims of Jesus' identity. helped me see Jesus as a man. For me, Jesus came to life through Pilate's eyes. A very stressed out Pilate.