Manly Jesus, Effeminate Jesus, Angry Jesus, Pacifist Jesus, Hipster Jesus… Every time someone redefines or re-frames Jesus, we all go crazy. Whatever we are or whatever we believe we try to claim that Jesus is “like us.” Too often Christians take a tactic of saying Jesus was “more like this” or “more like that” in order to validate their opinions. A great recent example of this is Mark Driscoll’s “Badass Jesus.” But with all these different versions of Jesus running around, how can we reconcile them? If the only way you can justify your beliefs is by remaking Jesus in YOUR image, we have a problem.
Jesus’s Personality Was Not Really the Point
Was Jesus a jock, a geek, a scholar, an introvert or an extrovert? Why does it matter? Jesus never said we had to have his personality. Jesus told us the things we need to do, and those things were very clear and simple. Love God, love your neighbor, and love one another. We can speculate that Jesus had a sense of humor, but that doesn’t mean we need to be holy comedians. We can speculate that Jesus was comfortable showing emotion, but that doesn’t mean we all have to be drama queens. Whatever Jesus’s personality was, we don’t have to be Jesus impersonators, just disciples.
Thank God We Never Knew Jesus’s Favorite Things
Can you imagine if the Scriptures actually did go specifically into Jesus’s personality? That would be a nightmare! If Jesus’s favorite food was fried fish, we would all eat fried fish all the time. We would argue over which fish Jesus liked best, and we would judge each other over how much fish we ate. If Jesus’s favorite color was blue, we would all wear blue all the time. We would split our churches over which shade of blue is most accurate, and judge each other by how vibrant our blue clothes are. Let’s be thankful we DON’T know much about Jesus’s personality.
It Is OK to Follow Jesus AND Still Be Ourselves
Following Jesus does not mean we cannot be ourselves. Being Christ to others does mean impersonating him, it means obeying him. Showing grace, love, and mercy to those around us doesn’t mean we have to alter our personalities. Are you a tough-skinned stoic manly-man who sheds blood before tears? Fine, you can be that and still love your neighbor. Are you an emotional softy who wears you heart on your sleeve? Fine, you can be that way and still lift up your brothers and sisters. Being a body of Christ, a fellowship, would not be very fun if we were all the same, it would be creepy.
Let’s Hold Jesus’s Teachings Highly, and His “Flavors” Lightly
We don’t know what Jesus really looked like or what his personality was. Historically, we can put our heads on straight and realize he most likely looked like someone who would get stopped by the TSA, but that’s about it. Since we are a very visual people, we want pictures of Jesus. Chances are, when we make them, they will look like us. That is just our nature. Let’s understand that and not take our images and pictures so literally, and let others do the same.
Jesus’s Personality is NOT a Basis for Theology
Whatever Jesus’s personality was, it is not something that should be relevant to our doctrine or theology. If Jesus was “tough” it doesn’t mean that aggression is justified. If Jesus was “soft spoken” is doesn’t mean we should avoid conflict. Conversations on war, self-defense, or use of force should be based on what our responsibilities are to our fellow man. In other words, “What would Jesus want us to do in this situation?” NOT “What would Jesus think is cool?”
Value in Diversity
The greatest problem with always trying to remake Jesus, is that it limits Christ and excludes others. We are not called to imitate Christ as individuals alone, but as a community. We are the BODY of Christ. Many different people making up a community that can lift each other up. In order to do this, we need all kinds. We needs tough-guys, we need softies, we need geeks, and we need jocks. Let’s focus on finding out how our individual and diverse personalities can benefit each other instead of debating which one is better.