I have had a beard for just less than two years now. It’s been short: a ‘designer stubble’ kind of look, it’s been long: a little more ‘homeless guy’ than designer look, and it’s been in between: what I like to call ‘lumberjack chic’.
Throughout the time I’ve had a beard, I’ve received some interesting reactions to my crop of facial hair. Some good, I’m talking high fives and air punches, and some bad, choking sounds and disgusted faces. And also some pretty interesting ones. On a number of occasions people have called me Jesus (hence the interesting).
It’s always got me thinking… what would Jesus look like? Which in turn reminded me of a preach I heard at a youth camp years ago, by Starla Bell. She had recently been to America, it was shortly after the film The Passion of the Christ had come out and the latest action figure on the market was a Personal Jesus. She chatted a little bit about the craze of this action figure and then went on to mention the catch phrase that was printed on the packaging it said, “He’s happy, he’s scrappy, he’s your own personal Jesus.”
This happy, scrappy gaunt action figure of Jesus in his underpants had become the fastest selling toy in the country. But the Jesus I know is not scrappy or gaunt, he is loving and powerful… and I imagine him standing tall and strong, with seriously broad shoulders, and a mega set of guns (AKA biceps). He may not have a beard, or long hair but he is glorious and authoritative and gentle. People are clearly looking for him, longing for him even. That’s why the action figure sold so well.
What if the only Jesus people get to meet is Jesus in us… Jesus THROUGH us? What if the next time someone said I look like Jesus it’s because they could see him in me, feel his love and peace through my interactions? Not just because I have a beard. What if the next time someone in your office, or lecture class needed some comfort, or advice they asked you, because of the peace and love they feel around you, because of JESUS IN YOU?
While a Personal Jesus action figure seems a little strange, even blasphemous, it’s actually true. He is personal. He knows our heart’s desires, our dreams. He knows us. He loves us, and is so ready to hang out with us. That’s the Jesus that the movies don’t always capture, the Jesus that the toy companies can’t injection mould into plastic. The Jesus that the world is longing for, the one who’s ALIVE!
Are you ready to show Jesus?