If someone asked you to describe Jesus in one word, what would your response be? There is already a scroll size list of adjectives that would suit the character of Jesus. Perhaps it would be some of the obvious terms such as:
steadfast or so on; I am sure you can easily add to the list.
Within my own head is a collection of phrases and terms that I believe that suit Jesus perfectly. The terms mentioned above are worth noting for one reason, we see this characteristics throughout scripture.
In his book “Jesus Centered Youth Ministry,” Rick Lawrence writes of asking a worship leader to describe Jesus in one word. The response dumbfounded me; she said nice.
Sure, the response isn’t the worst response (depending on who you ask), but out of all of the words in the English dictionary, nice doesn’t cut it.
Daring, convicting, powerful, death defeating, everlasting, passionate, righteous, overcoming, conquering, and the list once again goes on.
Nice is a weak word to describe such an incredible individual. The term covers topics such as weather, lawns, or other pleasantries.
But, was Jesus even nice? Nice has two definitions: 1. pleasant, agreeable, satisfactory, 2. fine or subtle.
Yes, Jesus was nice at times by our society’s understanding with the miracles and service act (washing the disciples’ feet for example) in which he performed. However, he didn’t do such things to be nice. Being nice was never his intention. (What was his intention?)
His only intention was bringing freedom and salvation both in physical and spiritual sense. Nice wasn’t even a goal.Was Jesus nice when he called the religious leaders a brood of vipers, or calling the generation perverse or running vendors out of the temple or challenging/opposing the traditions/ laws of the society?
As mentioned above are instances where Jesus could’ve been described as, dare I say, rude. Put your self in the shoes of the religious leaders as he called them a brood of vipers? These guys, whether their intention was righteous or not, upheld the laws of Moses, a sacred part of Judaism. They made sure laws were enforced, taught the Torah, and guided the people of Israel. To even be around them was considered a privilege. It is as if the President and his immediate staff would enter a business, the publicity alone would be overwhelming not to mention the pleasure (or displeasure depending on the Party affiliation) that owners would experience.
Now let’s say that a young man enters the same setting opposing the President’s agenda, policies and such. This individual even goes to the point of calling them cowardly lions who care nothing for the people in which trust them. Not only does this man make such a claim, he begins explaining the Constitution in its entirety in ways which the President and his men cannot compete with. Is this man rude, or something more?
He. Is. A. Rebel.
The man often thought of as a flower picking, pansy who just want to get along with everyone, is a polluted and opposing image to the identity of Christ Jesus. This fictional idea of Jesus would’ve never caused the revolutionresulting in a new idea and a new concept of faith and God.
He was not nice, he was not rude, he was not a conformist no matter how many times we see Pamela Anderson wearing a “Jesus is My Homeboy” t-shirt or hearing how is he accepting Bruce Jenner’s decision to become a woman. He was a rebel speaking truth to a group of people whom he loved, opposing the spiritual captivity the religious leaders held them in.
He healed the sick on the “wrong” day of the week, freed men of demons in the “wrong” manner, and didn’t follow the norms of his society. He called out corruption and cruelty, exposed the weak in power, defended a “whore,” accompanied a traitor for dinner (several times), made outlandish promises and statements such as rebuilding a temple or forgiving sins, and even engaged with the unclean leprosy community.
All of this opposed the religious leaders. Many times they tried to outsmart him by attempting to trap him with a question, only to have Jesus reply with a question and in the process, shut them up.
Crucifixion was a death designed by the Romans, as a death sentence for the most vile offenders. Of course the Romans didn’t sentence Jesus, however, they didn’t refuse punishing him. Nice men are sentenced to death. Truth will always have opposition, and when we seek truth, we seek to be like Jesus. We seek rebellion.
Stay blessed my friends.