I sat there. Looking around ever so quietly.
I had come with a friend to chapel. It had been years since I had been inside this small quaint church.
I kept trying to quiet my mind.
My thoughts kept racing. I wanted to make time stand still and enjoy the presence of Jesus. I looked up a spotted a Jesus statue -like figure on the wall. I gazed looking for the stillness that He has to offer.
As I continued to seek His peace, my mind quickly shifted to thinking this is not even how I picture Jesus. And more crazy thoughts ensued.
I’m not sure how Jesus looks or looked. I’m not sure even how you picture him. But one thing I know is that . . .
I can’t do the pretty Jesus anymore.
If I thought my mind was out of control when I went in to that chapel, it was definitely rattled further as I sat there looking at this artwork of Jesus.
This Jesus there on the wall was so pretty. He hung on a cross with not a mark on him. His head was hung low with a low grin on his lips. His hair fell neatly, almost perfectly, over his shoulders. Three nails pierced Him, but not a trickle of blood showed. He was so clean. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful. But too beautiful I believe!
I remembered when I wanted Jesus to be neat and pretty. I didn’t want to see the whip marks, bruises, blood, matted hair, tears, stains, thorns smashed in his head, nor the thick-rusty nails that were thrust through his limbs. I didn’t want to see that version of Jesus because . . .
It made me uncomfortable.
I remember the outcries when the Passion of the Christ movie came out. It’s too bloody. It’s too violent. It’s too gross. And it was for many!
See I use to want the pretty Jesus so that I could be comfortable. Comfort was where it was all at! If I was comfortable then I wouldn’t have to think about how Jesus really lived or died. I could just read my Bible and picture the clean, masculine, beautiful-haired Jesus walking the streets. I could overlook the dust, stench, and blood. I could go to church, sing “feel good” songs, and hear an uplifting message and think WOW this Christian life is awesome!
That was until Jesus got a hold of me.
That life with Jesus was awesome, but it was so self-seeking. It was a life of “all about me!” I wanted Jesus to look the way I wanted Jesus to look. I wanted a nice church where everyone was like me, awesome songs, and the perfect message so that I could go home and live the remaining 6 days for me.
I loved being comfortable. Don’t you?
But then this messy, bloody, and ever-so-generous Jesus got a hold of my heart. Oh how He grabbed my heart good one day. He grabbed it in scripture and in my daily life. He wouldn’t let go. It was uncomfortable!
He gave me eyes to see. He opened them wide where I could see the messy, broken, dusty, dirty, and beaten. The people who were discarded from society. My heart would beat and tears would flow. Dear one, it was then that I saw Jesus. He didn’t look anything like that Jesus in the chapel.
He was a messy Savior.
When I stepped out of my comfort zone and looked at the broken world, I was speechless. It went against everything I had ever known, because it was not comfortable. But it was then that I saw Jesus more perfectly than ever. Oh my, He was beautiful.
Jesus was messy! He had tattered clothes, he looked worn, and he even smelled. There were days when he was stripped of all that mattered. He didn’t care. He walked among the least and diseased. He was dirty.
He was dusty. He was broken. He was abused. He was caring and compassionate. He was messy, but oh so beautiful.
And that’s the reason I can’t do the pretty Jesus anymore.
I lived longing to be comfortable way too long. And what I know now is: while longing for your comfort zone and a Savior who makes you feel comfortable, you will miss the real Jesus. <—tweet that!
How about you? Is your life so comfortable that you are actually out of touch with the way Jesus lived and died?