“I just don’t get why Jesus is so important,” someone very dear to me said yesterday, “I’d rather just pray to God.” And I suddenly realized how small he thinks our Jesus is and how much I wished he knew him more.
But I get it. At face value Jesus was this blip on the radar screen who did stuff for about 3 years out of the 30,000 or whatever years the Bible covers. And this strange, ethnic name fits into a little innocent pocket in our brain between science, history and psychology.
And we so easily forget who designed, animated and sustains this very brain.
I’m trying to think of a comparison to understanding how much bigger Jesus is than we think. I’m guessing it’s kind of like if you were the toddler son of the President of the USA during wartime, and he had to be away since before you were born. Mom shows you the picture and says, that’s your dad, and tells you some stories about him. He’s just this dude in a picture who is supposed to mean a lot to you.
Like the toddler we have no idea how real Jesus is, how epic his plan is, how hard he is working on it, what a love so old and ancient is, and barely what it would mean to us. We just see a snapshot of this guy and hear stories about what he did. It is a little hard to get behind that. I understand that.
But if we look at the photo a little closer (and read the Bible with a little more hope), in the background we will see the aircraft carriers that he is sending on missions to save the nation he pulled together. We can see the badges that show how many people he has risked his life to save. The building that represents a system and history that has selected this man as worthy above all others. We can see his cabinet members beside him who are giants among men and are devoted to his vision and his cause to help this nation.
What if Jesus really is alive and working today. I’ve heard stories about him appearing to a normal old lady while she were being robbed to bring her peace and a story. I hear he appearing in the dreams of Muslims calling them to himself. I’ve heard of something mysterious rescuing people from the clutches of witchcraft and even back from the dead in Ethiopia. And I’ve even heard of a man in white riding a white horse off the coast of some of the most war-torn lands in this world. Imagine that all the invisible forces for good that manifest in the world are the legions of his infantry devoted to his instructions, working in and among us, encouraging us and fighting for our good. And there we are, just tucking Jesus away in a tidy pocket of our brain.
Maybe he is still fighting for us.
And what if we really believed the whole world was made through him (John 1)? That means he is the designer the system of evolution that is constantly improving every creature on the earth, the principles of Karma that train humans to be better, like invisible mothers, and that human brain we carry around on each of our shoulders, more complex than anything we have ever created on our own.
Maybe he is still creating us, and has a vision of perfection he is drawing us towards.
So I’m guessing that the snapshot of him in the Bible, though it is accurate, is just the tip of the iceberg. But basically the tip of this iceberg represents the land mass that makes up the entire rest of the world, and all the expanse of space and worlds that it floats in. And that little tip of an iceberg that appeared in a little 3-foot feeding trough 2000 years ago designed the forces that keeps the world aligned, fights for the billions of people that he wants to be with him in his kingdom, and longs to have you and me spend a few moments with him each day. And yet, I am so good at tucking him into little tidy pockets in my brain and that we just don’t think are as important and fitting in, being productive and making our place in this world.