A good friend of mine recently remarked that too many of us in the Christian church focus on the birth and death of Jesus but not on the life he lived in between these two moments. I think he has a point.
We spend a lot of time celebrating Christmas, with good reason I might add. God himself invaded our humanity through the birth of his son. God incarnate in human flesh—what could be more amazing than that? It still boggles my mind to think that the one who created the universe submitted himself to becoming a helpless baby who depended upon the people he created for his own human existence.
We also celebrate his death and resurrection—again with good reason. If the incarnation boggles the mind, how much more the creator of the universe submitting himself to one of the most painful and ignoble deaths in all recorded history at the hands of those he created? The resurrection and victory over death and the grave stands as the great exclamation point in creation where God is setting all things right again.
But what of the life in between these two moments? That life is worth some serious consideration.
Jesus showed us what the Father is like. In John, he states that anybody who has seen him has seen the Father. He tells us that he only does what he sees the Father doing. If we want to know what God is like, we have only to look at the life of Jesus to see. He laughed, cried, prayed, slept, suffered, enjoyed time with friends, etc. much like we do today. He also healed those who were sick and maimed, cleansed the lepers, and brought sight to the blind. I think that this was one of his most attractive qualities.
In the movie Risen, the centurion asked the disciples why they followed Jesus even after his crucifixion. Late in the movie, there is a man with leprosy that is being driven out of a village. Jesus takes a fish and goes to the man. He gives the man the fish and then heals him. In one brief encounter with Jesus, this man’s life is forever changed. The centurion watches all of this and after the brief encounter is finished, one of the disciples claps him on the shoulder and says, “That’s why.” Jesus is still in that business today. Happy Easter to you all!