The third part of this series, where I am writing my wonderful opinions about Jesus, and you all are very busy agreeing with me about everything I say, is also one of my favorites. Now, about the agreeing with me part, honestly, it’s okay if you don’t agree with me at all. This isn’t a theological discussion going on here, it’s an intimate portrait of Jesus, according to my palette of colors, but please feel free to share your portrait of Jesus as well.
Jesus was, and still is, a magnet. He drew, and still draws many of this world’s most leaderless people. Searching for any evidence as to whether Jesus was a magnet to the intellectuals, and to the leaders of His day, I found none. Let me rephrase that; I found absolutely no evidence whatsoever.
What makes Jesus so attractive to the hopeless, and so unattractive to the smart and powerful, the people who “fit in”? As best as I can tell, it’s His honesty. This honesty unfolds in several different ways. The most striking is the power thing, again. Jesus is one of those people who backs up what He says, all of the time. For someone who is hopeless, to find that sort of a leader is a priceless treasure. But for someone who relies upon their own instincts and leadership, Jesus is a repelling force. He speaks of miracles, and if we pay attention, we see them, quite a bit more often than we are even aware of at the moment the miracle occurs.
But in His day here, people couldn’t miss His miracles. So when Jesus spoke of other things, such as heavenly things, and spoke authoritatively, His deeds backed up His words. Sadly, for the politicians of His day, the Pharisees, their deeds did not back up their words. Jesus was a mirror to them, and what they saw disgusted them. They could not escape the fact that Jesus was everything they preached about, everything they were not. But for the weak, for the dogs, for the poor and the leaderless, Jesus was someone who stood up for them, against the very same Pharisees who oppressed them.
I don’t know if you have ever experienced something like this, but I recall as a very young boy witnessing a bully from my school being caught in the act by a teacher. I recall the discipline he received, and I remember feeling uplifted, cared for, and protected. Inside, I quietly cheered the teacher on. As we travel around the written gospel, we often see Jesus taking on the politicians and lawmakers (Pharisee, scribes, Rabbis) in much the same way this teacher took on the bully. I can’t help but believe that the oppressed leaderless were silently cheering Him on as well.
But there is more to being a magnet than just power, authority, and honesty. One of my favorite attributes of this particular Magnet is the fact that He meets the needs of the everyday man or woman. We received numerous accounts of this very fact in the written gospels, and I hear about Jesus’ ability to meet needs from the mouths of disciples today as well. I can’t count how many days I have not gone hungry. But on an even deeper level, I cannot recall the last time I felt hopeless, and to me, hope is akin to life. Jesus meets physical needs, and He gives hope to the hopeless. Yet another reason he was fantastically popular.
The final thing I want to say about the magnetism of Christ is that He must have been compassionate. To me, any leader who is not compassionate is not much of a leader at all. And rapidly, especially in this day and age, that kind of leader will not have a magnetism about him at all. Instead, if he is a leader at all, he will lead through coercion and fear. How many people in our churches get this “compassion” thing wrong? How many people opt for the fear factor, rather than the compassion factor?
If we are followers of Christ, then our compassion alone will be a powerful magnet for those who are hopeless, leaderless, and oppressed. There is no greater example of this than the very situation which occurs in
Perhaps the biggest reason for Jesus’ magnetism was His compassion. He led people who were leaderless with mercy and compassion, knowing of their wretchedness, and looking beyond it, into the heart of the person, and setting a new Law in stone for all time, which is; “Every person deserves to be loved.” (Love one another) People were drawn, and are drawn to Jesus because He loves them, and that love isn’t just words, it’s genuine. His honesty, His ability to meet needs, and His compassion all flow from His love. We, who are His followers, do better to follow Him in this, than to lead people into theological expertise.