There are so many portrayals of Jesus. You got peace-loving sheep-hugging Jesus, Jesus wearing pretty robes and making a cute face, computer nerd Jesus, and even black Jesus. In the movies he is either super weird (The Last Temptation of Christ), or he is a super wimp.
The thing is, Jesus was not like this at all. Sure he was into peace, but he didn’t sit around petting sheep all day just to be brutally murdered. No, Jesus was a troublemaker. He didn’t listen to authority, he worked on the sabbath, and he wasn’t afraid to tell people when they were wrong.
Jesus Christ was a real man, full of “grace and truth” (John 1:14). The life he lived on this earth gives us a good idea of what God is like. Because Jesus is God, but also the Son of God, there is no doubt that the father is much like him. Not many of my friends had the opportunity to meet my father, but if you had the chance to meet him you would see how very similar we were. Think about anyone and their father. You usually can get a good idea of what the dad is like from the way the son is. Usually it’s not perfect, but it’ll give you some clues. If you know me, you know I’m a silly guy. If you were to ask anyone that knew my dad, they would say the same. Funny, full of life, always fun to be around. I don’t mean to say that I have these traits perfectly, but the aspects of those that are within me, came from my father. So knowing me, you still have an opportunity to know a bit of my father. I think that is actually pretty cool.
What is even cooler is we can know what God is like from what we know of Jesus. In the book of John we get an awesome picture of the real Jesus. He wasn’t running around saving sheep, he was healing people, making ridiculous amounts of wine, and showing real love to people. All the while being a carpenter, living a poor-man’s life, and for three years leading a group of goofballs around the country to teach them about God and raise them up to do the same thing.
Jesus was so respectable that these men he lead didn’t stop spreading the words of Jesus around until well after he died. In fact, most of them were murdered because of it.
The Savior of the world lived an intense life. Speaking of tents, it is written in John 1:14, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. The word dwelt used here literally in the greek means to dwell as in a tent. This is what John saw when Jesus was around, a tent.
We live within our tents, which are similar to the suits men and women wear to space. They are built to allow people to function well in space. But what we have here are the specialized flesh-tents God designed to allow us to live on earth. The bodies in which our spirits are located inside of. If you were to look at me now, you would see my fingers moving and my eyes blinking. I look out the window currently and see a group of guys walking past. They are more in shape then me, that is for sure, but that is not important right now. What is important, is what is inside their bodies.
Sure, Jesus was probably a hot dude, but what was most attractive was what was inside of his tent, his spirit. At night at a campground, you will see lights glowing through the many tents as people get ready for bed. But this is how Jesus looked. He shined with a glory that people could recognize. The glory that was so bright, was the grace and truth I mentioned above.
But what is grace? It has been said many ways, but I like the idea of “love giving itself”. We read in 1 John 4:8 that, “God is love”. And in John 3:16 it is written, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”. So the God of the universe, eternal and perfect, is love. Not only that, but he sent the thing he loved the most to earth so that we can live with him, and live eternally, if we want to. That is grace. We were given a huge amount of love that we do not deserve at all, and we have the choice to accept it, or not.
The second part of this glory is truth. God had a good amount of truth to tell us what we don’t always like to hear. Romans 3:23 says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of god”. It is our sin that stops us from receiving this grace that God has for us. We all have sinned, so it doesn’t matter how good we are. In fact, a quite relieving verse, also very true, says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”, a passage that is in Ephesians 2.
How cool is that?
To sum it all up, the disciple John puts its quite simply in John1:16-18;
Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.