In the book Always Prepared William G. Johnson wrote an essay titled “What’s Unique About Jesus?” The essay does an eloquent job of answering the title’s question. On page 69, Johnson urges, “Work your own way through to the answer. Don’t trust anyone else’s opinions or views. It’s got to be your answer.” Which is so true, what’s unique about Jesus is different for each unique individual. Johnson spends most of the essay describing why he believes Jesus “is unique: in impact, in birth, in life, in teachings, in what He claims about Himself, in death, and in continuing presence.” (page 71).
Volumes and volumes of books could be written in an attempt to answer this single question. I don’t know that I could write volumes, but I could certainly write dozens of pages if given the time to do so. For now, I’ll just touch on two aspects that make Jesus unique; these qualities are something I’ve been pondering a lot lately, and that is Jesus’ uniqueness in association and acceptance of others…
I am a Facebook user. I admit it. I check my Facebook account at least once a day, six days a week. Lately I’ve really noticed the mean words, slogans, and pictures that my Facebook friends, I have 496 of them, (I’m mentioning this number not to brag, but to give an idea of how many posts can be generated in a day) have been posting. What are the mean posts about? In a word: politics.
It really blows me away at how my Facebook friends (some of which I love very much) can say such mean things about other people that don’t believe the same way that they do. This sort of behavior has recently increased with the Chick-fil-A issue (if you’re not familiar with the issue then I suggest Googling “Chick-fil-A” and then reading the original interview that the uproar is about. You can read the original interview by going to this website: http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=38271). These mean posts are coming from “Christians” and “non-Christians” alike. All of the posts that I have seen either doesn’t portray the Jesus I know and love, or the posts speak horribly of the Jesus I know and love. Either way it hurts, it literally makes my stomach hurt. So what does this have to do with “What’s Unique about Jesus?”
Jesus has a unique way of associating and accepting people the way they are. If Jesus were alive today, I think you would find him in a Chick-fil-A restaurant. I think you would also find him with the Chick-fil-A protesters and gay marriage supporters. I think Jesus would be found amongst the liberals and the conservatives. You would find him with these kinds of people because Jesus associated with the sinners, as He pointed out in Matthew 9:11-13. Gay/straight or liberal/conservative – anyone who has a pulse is a sinner. Perhaps Jesus would offer the same words to these folks as he offered to the Samaritan woman at the well:
“But the time is coming—it has, in fact, come—when what you're called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter. It's who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That's the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration."
These verses are found in John 4:23-24 (I used the Message version), however it would be well to read John 4:1-30 (in other versions too) for the entire conversation that Jesus had with the Samaritan woman. Jesus wasn’t concerned about what people might think of Him for associating with the Samaritan woman. She too was a child of God, another soul for which he would hang on the cross for, and Jesus accepted her as such. Before I go further, let me be clear on something; Did Jesus condone her sinful behavior? You tell me (read the verses mentioned above). The same is true for sin of today or any day.
Chick-fil-A and the Samaritan woman aren’t the only reasons why I believe Jesus is unique in acceptance and association. Johnson offers other great examples on page 74, “As I contemplate the life of Jesus as portrayed by the Gospel writers, several characteristics jump out: never too busy to stop and help, love of children, one-on-one conversations, thoughtfulness, unceasing outpouring of love and compassion, and Friend of the marginalized. Jesus lives a full life, but He finds time to talk with the Samaritan woman who comes to the well to draw water.” Now that’s something to share on Facebook; what makes Jesus unique, His acceptance and association.
The above was a paper I had to write for one of my classes. I thought I'd share some Life Lessons I've gleaned after reflecting on above:
- If you read the initial interview that I shared above, I think you'll agree with me that the media has blown this way out of proportion! I've searched multiple articles and have discovered that the President of Chick-fil-A is very careful not to say anything judgmental or mean. His words have been taken out of context several times and in various ways. I've also read articles where many Chick-fil-A's across the South are purposely opening their doors to the gay community. I'm not trying to convince anyone that Chick-fil-A is a great place to eat (especially since I prefer a vegan diet), I'm merely pointing out that the mass media is once again doing a poor job of delivering the full story.
- I'm thankful to live in a country where people can say whatever they want, but this has caused me to remember that despite what the rhyme says, stick and stones can break bones and words do hurt.
- I also think back to 10 years ago, before I became a Christian... It wasn't people telling me how wrong premarital sex or doing drugs is that drew me to God and then eventually a church... It was loving individuals who pointed out Bible truths when I asked for them... It took years, after I accepted Jesus into my life before I made lifestyle changes... In fact I'm still needing to make changes... thank goodness we have the Holy Spirit to help with that. My point to this is: please, "Christians" stop and consider the message you are sending to lost souls when you "take a stand"... please pray about your good intentions. Which leads me to my next thought...
- There is a time and a place to take a stand against some things, but there is rarely (not never) a time to take a stand against some one... the line between the two seem to be getting fuzzier and fuzzier. If you read this post, then you'll know that I have learned that "Sometimes love involves judgement; but judgement must always involve love." It's been my experience that when people loved me enough to judge my sin, they also loved me enough to walk along side me as Jesus and I conquered that sin in my life... In other words, judging others is a big responsibility (let me know if you need Bible verses for this).
- Lately I've been feeling a bit like an outcast. May I offer this song to you if you ever feel like an outcast too:
God is love,