Jesus was incredulous. He was exacerbated. He was furious. He insulted. He ridiculed. He told of coming judgment. He EXORCISED DEMONS. He said he was GOD. He said he had final authority given to him to judge the living and the death. He said he had power over life and death. He scared people. He confused people. He repulsed people. He wouldn’t answer questions asked by the local authorities. He stayed away three days knowing Lazarus would die, and then wept when he showed up to his tomb. He supplied the party wine. He preached fire and brimstone. He used satire and mockery. He frustrated his mother. He told his apostles they had new names when he met them. He used frustratingly vague metaphors and parables to purposefully judge a stubborn people (fulfilling Isaiah), and then later told the hidden meanings to the apostles. He chose a front-runner who looked and smelled like a crazy hobo, and who badgered the local mayor over sexual and marital ethics. He healed people on the Sabbath just to tweak the religious elite. He monitored financial giving and gave live commentary on it. He said the world hated him and his followers. He told people to eat his flesh and drink his blood. He had incredibly awkward and blunt conversations about spiritual things 15 seconds into meeting a stranger. He let a presumably sensual woman wipe his feet with her hair. He told a female stranger that she had five husbands. He went out to eat with creepy guys who preyed on families via financial extortion. He went to the most significant religious structure local to him and said he would destroy and rebuild it. He said he existed before Abraham.
I saw this on a friend’s Facebook somewhat recently. It makes me think about who Jesus is and, therefore, who God is. As this shocking description makes clear, God isn’t always who we think He is. He doesn’t always do what we think He would or should do.
I’m not sure that Jesus really did ridicule people. Nor does it seem right to say that he used mockery—at least not the contemptuous kind. God is love. But his being love does not preclude his being repulsive (to some people), infuriating, and sometimes terribly confusing.
Of all the radical and true things that Jesus said and did—things that we don’t understand and often choose to forget—perhaps the most telling is that he repulsed people. Think about that! The exact imprint of perfect beauty repulsed people (see Hebrews 1:3). The exact imprint of everything that we desire most—the one thing that everyone is truly looking for—that thing, that beautiful God, repulsed people.
What does this mean? What does this say about us? About holiness? We would do well to think about such things.