This week our ladies’ GRACE group concluded our study of Philip Yancy’s “The Jesus I Never Knew.” Although our group is small, we really enjoyed our time together–listening, learning, and sharing. Our final discussion addressed the question: What is the one new thing you learned about Jesus during this study? Surprisingly, we all seemed to touch on the same concept–the man that Jesus was on earth, is not the Phenomenon that society embraces (or disdains) today. Jesus was ordinary–he didn’t seek fame or power or even associate with it. Jesus was a friend of sinners. He embraced the outcasts discarded by the religious leaders and other “respectable” people of his time. Jesus didn’t come to make all the world believe in Him as the Messiah, He willingly passed that task on to us. So the question for us became, now that we know the real Jesus–and love Him all the more for it–how do we keep that perspective prominent in a world where “Christianity” sometimes runs contrary to the personality of Christ?
My thoughts turn to the book of John. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples for the 3rd time and had breakfast with them. Three times, Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me more than anything else?” Each time Peter replied, “Yes, you know everything–you know I love you.” Jesus’ response was consistent: “Feed My Lambs.” When we truly love Jesus, it doesn’t matter if we look respectable, are well-known sponsors, or even become church leaders. The proof of loving Jesus is the willingness to reach out to those in need regardless of how it may look or feel. The way we do that varies with our opportunities, our strengths, and our resources. The idea of one person being a better Christian than another, is sort of an oxymoron. In the most basic sense, what it means to follow Christ, is as simple as the man that He was: feed His lambs.