John Alan Turner

Speaker, Author, Mentor, Coach, Facilitator

How Now Shall We Respond? (part 3)

Jesus taught hard things. He once told a man to sell everything he owned in order to be a disciple. He said that the way up is down, and the greatest person in the kingdom of God would be the one who serves the most. He came up with the whole "turn the other cheek" thing and then showed us how it's done. He talked about all the things you're not supposed to talk about: hell, money, divorce, taxes. He challenged people in positions of authority and disrupted the status quo with his message and his lifestyle. Like Philip Yancey says, "He wasn't Mr. Rogers with a beard." But before he did any of that, before any of the teaching or any of the ethical mandates, he did something remarkable. He built a bridge. Before he gave us truth, he gave us grace.

Jesus lived before he was born. That's kind of hard to imagine, but it's true. He has lived for all of eternity and was there when everything that has been made was made. In fact, the Bible says that he was the One who created it all. It was all made for him and by him, and he is the One who holds it all together (Colossians 1:17). Yet, for a short span of time, he actually entered into the world he fashioned and lived in it. Like an artist climbing inside his own painting, Jesus entered our world's time-space continuum and was -- to some mysterious extent -- subject to its laws and limitations.

He got hungry and tired and had to go to the bathroom. In fact, when he was born, he was not pretending to be a baby; he was a baby. The Incarnation was, among other things, scandalous. Jesus' humanity -- his ordinariness -- is what got him into trouble with the religious leaders of his time. He didn't act like they thought the Messiah should. He acted more like a real human.

We'll talk more about this in another post, but for now I want us to think about this: If Jesus was willing to go to such ridiculous lengths in order to identify with us and build a bridge of relationship with people who were estranged from him, can't we all just try a little harder to get along with family -- even extended family -- this Christmas?