Luke 2:41-52; Mark 10:13-16
Have you ever wondered what Jesus looked like?
I grew up looking at the following painting by Warner Salman, hung on my bedroom wall in the Salinas Valley in California. When you look at this painting, what comes to mind?
My folks had other paintings of Jesus around the house, all of a sturdy, long-haired, muscular Jesus; some of them had olive skin, others looked like good looking Scots, Germans, and Scandinavians.
Truth be told; we don’t know a lot about Jesus’ personal life or his appearance.
We do know a few things: Jesus was Jewish, both ethnically and spiritually. He was likely olive skinned, had dark hair, and given physical characteristics of his time, probably five foot six and not much taller.
Scripture suggests he had brothers and sisters, and one of them James later became the leader of the Jerusalem church. He lived into his early 30’s, began life as a spiritually interested child, dialoging with priests at the Jerusalem Temple, later took on his father’s occupation in carpentry. But, that’s about all we know in terms of Jesus’ features.
Did Jesus have long hair? We don’t know, but most Jewish males in the first century had fairly short, and likely curly, hair…
Was Jesus a wimp? I don’t think so. He worked as a carpenter, with simple tools, hammering, sawing, and lifting. He was probably muscular, and was used to walking everywhere he went, often for miles at a time.
Was Jesus married? We don’t know that either. Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code suggests that Jesus and Mary of Magdala were husband and wife, and had a child together. While being married wouldn’t have marred Jesus’ spiritual life, we don’t have any records that we was. The bible makes no mention of Jesus having a wife or children, and that gives us good reason to believe that he was single during the course of his ministry.
Not much to go on, is it? But, what we do know is his lifestyle, all of which could be observed by people who knew him :
- Jesus loved children; he liked playing with them and believed they mattered just as much as adults.
- Jesus enjoyed a good meal with friends.
- Jesus liked fishing, and had some knowledge of sailing.
- Jesus welcomed everyone – you know in school sometimes there are cliques – when I was in high school, there were the jocks, the country club set, the nerds, the hippies, the low riders (guys with cars whose chassis almost touched the road), and folks that didn’t fit in anywhere. Jesus ate and drank with everybody – tax collectors, working for the Roman oppressors; middle class fishermen; people who had serious illnesses; women who were pure as the driven snow and some who had a bit of a history.
- Jesus felt comfortable breaking rules when peoples’ health and well-being was at stake. Rules were meant to help people…if they didn’t they were of no value.
- Jesus had a healing touch; it could change your cells and your soul as well.
- Jesus loved nature, and knew something about farming – his parables were about seeds, lilies, and birds.
- Jesus had a sense of humor, as some of his parables indicate.
- Jesus loved everyone, but could get angry when people were hurt by others or treated as second class.
- Jesus prayed and meditated – he would go to quiet places to calm his spirit and seek guidance from God.
- For Jesus, God was everywhere and in everyone: every breath connected him with God; every touch could heal; and every word could change your life.
Well, we don’t know a lot but what’s most important is that Jesus was fully alive, lived in our world, showed people God loved them, and gave us a pathway to God. That pathway goes through the landscape of love…through helping others truly be happy…through doing things that help others…and through having a life of prayer….
Next week we’ll talk about “what a disciple does” but today, we have a glimpse of our goal, to live like Jesus – to ask “What would Jesus do?”….Now, I’m talking to kids of all ages, all of us, but please listen children and youth…Whenever you have a tough decision or are not sure how to respond to a situation, you can be like Jesus –
- you can go to a quiet place inside,
- you can say a prayer like “God help me do the right thing,”
- you can pause before speaking and acting and ask, “Would Jesus say this?” “Would Jesus do this? Would Jesus pick on an unpopular kid, hurt someone on purpose, or treat yourself or someone else as if you or they weren’t valuable? ” “Would Jesus go along with the crowd or quietly do the right thing?”
And I know one more thing, and it’s the starting point, a song as I learned as a child, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so…yes, Jesus loves me….yes, Jesus loves me…yes, Jesus loves me, the bible tells me so.”
If you believe that and follow Jesus’ way, you will have a great life, you will love more than you can imagine, you will help people, and each morning you’ll wake feeling good about yourself and knowing God is with you, guiding your way.