So I was checking out facebook the other day when I found this picture (Actually it wasn't this picture, it was this picture with the text: "Jesus says: Get that (beep) outta here!"). Now come to find out this picture was not made by people trying to make fun of people, but it was made by Christians (here's the Jesus Statues)
I'm sure that this figurine was made by well intending people. I'm sure that they had good intentions for doing what they did, but come on...Jesus playing basketball? (and there are more figures of Jesus playing other sports) Yes Jesus loved kids, and I'm sure that he played with them, but this is not the image of Jesus in the Bible. Let's look at a few images that we see of Jesus in the Bible.
Jesus was a teacher.
When you look at the person of Jesus and what he did for most of the time in the Gospels, you see a teacher. There is some scholarly cantor back and forth, but it can be argued that Jesus was some form of rabbi. Rabbis or teachers were the teachers of the Torah, and they spent the majority of their time teaching and conversing about the text.
His 12 disciples were his primary students. They literally followed him around and he taught them how to teach his message.
Jesus definitely had a message and a new way of understanding the Scriptures. People followed him all over the countryside to hear his teachings. They couldn’t get enough of his teachings.
This is one of the images of Jesus.
Jesus was a revolutionary.
Jesus would have been considered a revolutionary. Just not in the way that we often think of revolutionaries. Jesus taught his disciples how to be a different type of revolutionary. What do I mean?
Now at the time of Jesus there was a group of people called zealots. These guys said that God would protect and provide for them if they rebelled against the Romans. So they constantly were waging war against the establishment. They committed violent acts against Roman guards and any person who collaborated with their rule.
On the opposite end of the spectrum was the Jewish aristocracy, an elite minority who were placed in power by the Romans, they tried to do everything in their power to keep the Romans happy. Now these people were very anti-Zealots and helped the Romans out in whatever way they could. This small group of people actually included the Jewish priests and their community-known as the Sadducees.
Now Jesus came to the forefront of the political debate. He called the Jewish leaders out and said that they were wrong for the way that they gave into the Romans. While he stood up against the Sadducees, he was not like the Zealots. He said that the establishment was corrupt and evil. Through subversive teachings he led his followers in ways that would undermine the way of life that was status quo in the first century.
So Jesus was a revolutionary.
Jesus was crucified because he stood up for the marginalized:
As Jesus stood to those in power and he angered them, so they killed him.. They hung him on a cross between two men who were political subversives. His execution replaced the execution of a Jewish insurgent who had actually lead a rebellion. Why?
He stood up for the people who were in bondage. He told the Sadducees and the Chief Priests that they were blind dogs and that he was proclaiming a new kingdom. When you are in power and hear somebody saying that they are coming with a new kingdom, you get a bit nervous. Now when that person begins to raise support, when people begin to follow him, you begin to think of ways to end this problem, which is what they did.
Jesus was preaching in the temple and he began to call the Temple authorities out for the way that they were running the temple. He condemned them and the people who were being oppressed must have heard the marvelous news anxiously. Somebody was standing up for them against the people that were oppressing them.
So they killed him, on a cross. Because he stood up for the marginalized, they killed him.
This is the image of Jesus in the Bible. He was a real person who stood up for real issues and dealt with the same stuff people we stand up for today. This is why Jesus playing basketball seems to fall short.
Get to know the Jesus in the Bible, not the Jesus playing basketball.