To take a little aside from my usual posts, I wanted to highlight this book I’ve been reading called “Beautiful Outlaw” by John Eldredge (also well known for “Wild At Heart”). I haven’t quite finished the whole thing (3 chapters left!), but it’s opened up a whole perspective of Jesus that I’ve missed: Jesus’ personality. Not something you would usually think of, right?
John does an excellent job going through examples of personality traits exhibited by Jesus through the gospels: cunning, playfulness, ferocity, trueness/authenticity, honesty, freedom, generosity. All to portray the ultimate ‘humanness’ of Christ. He was very much a human being, accessible and relatable, and still is these things now.
I loved the point he made that Religion (note the big R here) has done so much to push Jesus into the stratosphere, elevating him to a place beyond our reach and comprehension, whereas when you actually read how Jesus interacted with his friends and followers, he was right there. Side by side. That’s the kind of relationship he wants with us. He is expressive and witty, funny and real. When I re-read the passages from the gospels with this in mind, this Jesus is someone I can know and want to know.
I mean, nature was his creation. Think of all the funny, weird, clever and beautiful things that exist. The creation reflects the Creator. We are a part of this too, despite our broken state of being.
This book reminded me of Jesus as a person. I’m used to thinking of him as Lord and Savior, the Son of God (though interestingly, he liked also to be called Son of Man), and part of the Holy Trinity. All true things, yes. But he didn’t die on the cross and tear the curtain of the Holy of Holies for us to push him up on a pedestal in reverence and respect. The same relationship he had with his apostles is the same that he wants with us now. How crazy amazing that is!
I’m so glad this book was recommended to me. Anyone struggling with a stale view of Jesus or feels like he’s too high and mighty to truly understand your human nature, please open this book and read well.