Recently, I was praying and it crossed my mind that when I do I visualize Jesus as he would have appeared 2000 years ago, in a robe and sandals as opposed to the jeans and t-shirts of today.
I wondered what a “modern day Jesus” would look like. Does he think the manbun is cool? Would he have a hipster beard? Skinny jeans? Its quite interesting to consider God’s fashion taste in the 21st century.
I started to pray about it. “Jesus,” I asked, “Please show me what you would look like in my world today.”
My mind went back to the trends. Would he wear work boots? A backwards ball cap?
Then suddenly, distractions away, I was given the visual I was waiting for, and it wasn’t at all what I expected.
I saw a man that I know personally. This man doesn’t have anything to offer: no job, limited skills, absolutely nothing fancy about him. He isn’t attractive, or even tidy. In fact, most of the people he passes in a day probably look down their nose at him. I would even say they cringe when he is near.
And yet this is the face that Jesus brought into my mind when I asked him what he looks like today.
I actually laughed internally at my own ignorance. Of course that’s what Jesus would look like. He wasn’t fancy. He wasn’t overly clean (by today’s standards, he was probably filthy most of the time!) He was trained as a carpenter, but when he began his missionary work he didn’t have a full time job.
More likely than not, people looked down their nose at this revolutionary, cringing when he appeared with his lessons that they didn’t always understand and his convictions against those who seemed to be so prim and proper. The men probably couldn’t stand this feminist, this guy that called them to a higher standard than just their outward obedience. The elite rule followers scoffed at the men who saw right their facades, and therefore they did not like or value him.
Next, I saw a myriad of faces, people I love who are literally the hands and feet of Jesus today. It was like a slideshow of people I knew: the lady who texted me after I asked for prayers to check in on me, the man who prays in a different voice than he speaks, the child who understands the real meaning of Christmas, the kind hearted disabled person who relies on others to carry her through life. I saw the mother who buried a child. I saw the man who had an affair. I saw the overeater. I saw the ministry workers who gave their careers to God. The alcoholic. The porn-addicted. The recovered.
I saw them all.
Of course this is what Jesus looks like today. “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27).
We are called to be his hands and feet, to deliver his message to all nations.
We. I saw myself too. The woman who loves Jesus so deeply, yet falls short daily of truly expressing that love to herself and others.
The very name of our faith, Christianity, bears his image. The original Greek word Christianos has meanings that include being an adherent to an individual (Jesus) and belonging to a great household (Romans 8:17). Many have dubbed the term “Little Jesus” for Christians and we are expected to live as such.
Amazingly though, Jesus didn’t reveal himself to me as the expert theologian, the master preacher, the mother-Theresa type of person like so many would expect. First, he revealed himself as the simple and overlooked member of society, the odd ball, the judged, the persecuted and the outcast. That is what Jesus looked like then, and that’s what he looks like now.
How humbling. To remember that all of us are “Jesus here on earth,” representing unique aspects of his character and lessons. From the greatest, to the very least of these, we are all image bearers, created in the very image of God, and also representing Him.
May we have the courage to treat each other as though we are staring into the face of Jesus himself, because in a way – we are.
““Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”” – Matthew 22:36-40, NIV.