PROVE ALL THINGS Be Ready Always to Give an Answer
Clayton D Steep
"... be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (I Peter 3:15).
What was Jesus — the Son of God — like as a human being? It may come as a surprise to some that the sad, longhaired, weak-looking Jesus portrayed in most churches with a white robe and a halo is not the Jesus of the Bible. The pictures and statues depict "another Jesus" (II Cor. 11:4)! There is no single passage of Scripture giving a complete description of Jesus the man. But many scattered verses allow us glimpses of Him as He really was. Here is a list of several such verses. Be sure to look them up in your own Bible. Analyze them and ask yourself if you have envisioned Jesus as He really was. Jesus was not especially handsome (Isa. 53:2). He could walk right through a crowd without being recognized (Luke 4:30). Judas had to point Him out with a kiss (Matt. 26:48-49). His hair was short (I Cor. 11:14), but there is a possibility He had a beard (Isa. 50:6). Jesus was the elder brother to several younger brothers and sisters (Matt. 13:55-56). As a child He was exceptionally bright (Luke 2:46-47); as an adult He amazed the scholars of His day (John 7:15). He was no physical weakling. Since Jesus was a carpenter (Mark 6:3), His hands must have been calloused and His shoulders big. As there were no electric tools back then, sawing and drilling were done by hand. This was hard work. A physically weak person could not survive the Roman scourge (Mark 15:15), or fast for 40 days and then go on to win the most decisive battle of all time (Matt. 4:1-11). Jesus had His own house in Capernaum — a house large enough that He could entertain a lot of people (Mark 2:15). Being a carpenter, He could have built it Himself. Jesus was familiar with the ways of wild animals and plants (Matt. 6:26- 30), as well as the principles of agriculture (Matt. 13:1-43) and caring for domestic animals (John 10:1-5; Luke 13:15, 14:5). By observing the elements, He knew what kind of weather to expect (Matt. 16:2-3). Tanned by the Judean sun, Jesus was accustomed to walking long distances until He was sweaty and thirsty and weary (John 4:6-7). There were no doubt times when it was necessary during His travels to sleep out under the stars or wherever shelter could be found (Matt. 8:20). Those who imagine only a "gentle Jesus, meek and mild" have forgotten how He twice chased the money changers out of the Temple (John 2:13-17, Mark 11:15-17). Dumping their money on the floor, He pushed over their tables and upset their chairs. While the flabbergasted money changers scrambled to get out of His way, Jesus used a small whip to drive out the frightened oxen and bleating sheep. The same eyes in which the money changers saw the fire of righteous anger flash (John 2:17) overflowed on other occasions with tears of tenderness and sorrow (John 11:35, Isa. 53:3). Jesus was full of compassion (Matt. 9:36). He was fond of children (Mark 10:15-16), and children were fond of Him (Matt. 21:15). He loved to be with people (Mark 6:34, Luke 9:11) and to serve them (Acts 10:38). But He always managed to get away by Himself so He could maintain contact with His Father in heaven (Matt. 14:22-23). Jesus understood the poor (Luke 21:1-4) and the rich (Luke 12:13-34). He comprehended the problems of the laborer as well as the employer (Matt. 20:1-16). He knew the true principles of economics and how to handle wealth (Matt. 23:23, Luke 19:12-26). And He paid taxes, too (Matt. 17:24-25, 22:17-21)! Jesus ate with publicans and sinners (Matt. 9:10-11) and with Pharisees (Luke 7:36). He knew how to conduct Himself in any social situation. He dressed well. His clothing was of such value that Roman soldiers gambled for it (Matt. 27:35). It was at a wedding celebration of a well-to-do family that Jesus did His first miracle. They had drunk all the wine. So Jesus changed water into more wine — perhaps 100 to 150 gallons of it (John 2:1-11)! Jesus enjoyed good food and good drink (Luke 7:33-34). But He always exercised perfect self-control. Jesus had a powerfully loud voice that could be heard by multitudes long before microphones were invented (Matt. 15:10). When it was appropriate He spoke with a note of humor (Luke 13:32, Mark 3:17). He loved life and lived it abundantly. But He never let anything or anybody interfere with proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and doing His Father's will (Matt. 6:33, John 15:10). Jesus of Nazareth — God in the flesh — a Teacher, a dependable Friend, a warm, well-balanced, dynamic Person. Priests, harlots, businessmen, lepers, children, Roman soldiers, Jews, Samaritans, widows, rulers of the synagogue, sinners — He was loved by some, hated by some, feared by some, respected by all. In every circumstance of His jam-packed and varied life He obeyed the laws of His Father, setting us an example.