Jesus is…playful

I wanted to share my script with you from a lesson I spoke to our church on Mother’s Day. This has radically changed my relationship and my experiences with Jesus. I want to invite you to invite him in—to ask him for the real him like he so desperately wants to be with you. I promise it will change you!

 ….I remember growing up what my mom always wanted for Mother’s day was that our family was together. It didn’t matter what we did together but just that we were together. And I’m sure most of you are the same. There’s just something that nourishes us when our family is spending time together. I hope that you all are getting this time in with your family and soaking it up as much as possible, maybe too much and like me you could send them away for a little bit. 🙂 

I stand up here today and you might expect me to talk about mothering and the challenges and the joys of it, but I actually want to speak to all the women out there. Young and old. A woman who has been a believer for many years and a woman who has never put too much thought or effort into God or his son Jesus. Every girl, every woman out there, I want to speak to you! 

Today I want to share what is burdened on my heart. Something that I have been walking through myself lately. I want to share about some personalities of Jesus that may be surprising to you. I want to show you the kind of Jesus that I am learning about. The kind of Jesus that I had no idea existed.

Recently my friend Elisabeth and I started reading a book together called “Beautiful Outlaw” by John Eldredge. An extraordinary book, I highly recommend. A lot of what I want to share this morning comes from the book and so you’ll hear me quote a lot from it.

I want to start off by sharing a story in the book.

“One day a man decided to board himself up inside his house. He sealed off the doors, the windows, even the chimney. He left only one opening–the kitchen window–through which anyone who wished to speak to him was forced to speak. Fortunately, there were people that still wished to speak to him, so they called on the man at his kitchen window. Over the years this fellow came to the conclusion that the world was such a place in which people only speak to one another through kitchen windows. He wrote a book in which he argued that human discourse cannot and does not take place in any other way than through kitchen windows. The kitchen window school was founded shortly after his death.

An odd story for sure but we’ll come back to it later.

I want to dive in and read a story from Luke chapter 24 verse 13. 

13 That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. 16 But God kept them from recognizing him. 17 He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. 18 Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” 19 “What things?” Jesus asked. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. 20 But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. 21 We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago. 22 “Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. 23 They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! 24 Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.” 25 Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. 26 Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” 27 Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 28 By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, 29 but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. 30 As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. 31 Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared!

First of all, these guys are nuts! They had just walked 7 miles to Emmaus and within the hour they were already on their way back to Jerusalem. Another 7 miles. At night. Haha. But take a look at Jesus’ behavior in this passage. Two of his disciples are walking to Emmaus and as they are walking Jesus happens to show up suddenly but he was in a different form. Now why in the world would Jesus decide to take on a different form to disguise himself from his best friends? And then he goes on and has the nerve to ask them what are you guys talking about? As if he was the only one in the world who had no idea what had taken place that weekend. The strange behavior from Jesus doesn’t stop there. After they explain what had happened those last few days, he points out how foolish they are for not believing the scriptures that clearly predicted what Jesus would have to suffer through before entering back into heaven. And if that wasn’t enough for them, Jesus begins a history lecture through the old testament of all the scriptures pertaining to himself. By that time they were near their destination and get this, Jesus acts as if he was going on.  huh? Jesus the risen savior, acts as if he was going on? Jesus now decides to be a thespian. Strange behavior? Not if you knew Jesus’ personality. I don’t know about you but I see a ton of playful behavior here. If I were Jesus and had just risen from the grave, defeated death, I too would be in an especially playful behavior. DEATH COULDN’T HOLD ME, I HAVE ACCOMPLISHED WHAT MY FATHER SET OUT FOR ME TO DO. I too would be acting like there wasn’t a worry in the world. And I too would be having some fun.

So Jesus is playful. 

Here’s another one.

In John 21:3-6 Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” “We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night. 4 At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. 5 He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?” “No,” they replied. 6 Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.

Now I’m sure, those that like to fish, if you got asked after having caught nothing all night, “Have you caught any fish?” you would probably lose your mind a little bit. And then to hear, “Throw out your net on the right hand side of the boat and you’ll get some!” As if they hadn’t probably already tried that. Remember they dont know it’s Jesus yet.

Talk about some playful behavior.

When I began to read some of these stories again with a different approach, I was simply filled with joy. I never knew how playful Jesus was. It might be something you never noticed as well, but think about it. If you see playful behavior all around you, you with your spouse, with your kids, with your pets– if it’s in our DNA to be playful with each other, wouldn’t you expect nothing less from Jesus? We are made in God’s image so of course he is playful too. 

Sometimes it’s easy to forget Jesus was completely man. He did human things. He joked with his friends, laughed with them, farted with them…yes i did say fart! Haha.

It’s refreshing to know that Jesus is playful. He’s not the man that maybe you’ve been told or always thought he was this serious person who never had fun and never joked around.

I can’t count how many times now that when I see something funny that a dog does, or that my kids do I am reminded of Jesus and how we are made in his image. I am so thankful he created us to have fun and enjoy it!

Knowing Jesus is playful also takes the religious gown off of him. The religious ideas that you may have been told about Jesus. Distorting the real Jesus. Because if you can be wrapped up in the lie that Jesus isn’t, then you can feel the guilt anytime you desire to be playful yourself. Asking yourself WWJD takes a whole other meaning now. Knowing Jesus is playful, that in fact he’s even more playful than me, helps someone like me who is naturally more of a serious person let loose and have some fun!

Another personality I want to look at is Jesus’ disruptive honesty.

This one can be hard to chew. Because honesty hurts sometimes. Who am I kidding honesty hurts most of the time. But Jesus didn’t let that stop him. Jesus couldn’t be anything but honest, because for him to not would be for him to not be God. 

Not long ago, I was having a conversation with a friend. I was sharing about some struggles I was going through in ministry with her. And she said something to me so disruptively honest, I’ll never forget it. She said “Jen you have the tendency in the past to give up when it gets hard and walk away.” Of course that isn’t what I wanted to hear then when I was wanting sympathy for the difficult situation I was in, but it struck with me and I chewed on it for quite some time. And you know what? She was absolutely right. But it hurt to hear it.

Jesus was even more honest. Scary honest. Brutally honest. 

In Matthew 23, I wont read the whole chapter because it’s lengthy, but I’ll read some of it so you can get a gist of it.

23 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things. 24 Blind guides! You strain your water so you won’t accidentally swallow a gnat, but you swallow a camel! 25 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! 26 You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too. 27 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. 28 Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness. 29 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you build tombs for the prophets your ancestors killed, and you decorate the monuments of the godly people your ancestors destroyed. 30 Then you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would never have joined them in killing the prophets.’ 31 “But in saying that, you testify against yourselves that you are indeed the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead and finish what your ancestors started. 33 Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?

Whoa. hang on. Did Jesus just call the pharisees sons of snakes? A little repulsive? Or perhaps disruptively honest? Time and time again, Jesus speaks with disturbing honesty towards the pharisees. We love it when Jesus goes after the pharisees. It’s when he turns the focus on us that we begin to squirm.

Like topics we don’t like to read about.

Anger– Matt 5:21 – 

21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, e and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister, will be subject to judgment.  Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ (or idiot)  is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. 

Adultery– Matt 5:27

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ j 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 

Divorce, revenge, money…so many topics we cringe while reading them. Honesty. He couldn’t be anything other than. And then comes the greatest offense of Jesus. His exclusivity. 

21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’  Matthew 7:21-23

John 14:6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

No one comes to God except through him. A statement far from arrogant but one that is true.

Jesus’ words are not offensive, it’s something in us that is offended. Jesus would hate for you to miss this. 

“The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think.” That is his promise to return. “No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” 1 Peter 3:9

Jesus’ disruptive honesty about those who will actually enter into heaven is so brutal that it kills Jesus knowing the fact that some will actually choose hell over surrendering to God. He urges and pleads that you will choose to accept him. Even on the cross he says “Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” He says that about the very people who are killing him. 

If you went to the doctor and they had a cure for your illness but didn’t tell you and you went months and months suffering, you would be distraught. But wouldn’t it be unheard of if the doctor did tell you the cure yet you said, eh who needs that? I’ll be just fine on my own. You would be insane to not take the cure. In fact I don’t know about you but I would probably be begging for it.

Jesus is so honest about the reality of this. He gave us the cure for our illness called sin by nailing himself to the cross. He died for your sin, was placed in a grave and then came back to life FOR YOU. He did this so that we could have the cure. Because he isn’t that doctor that knows how to cure your sin and your course to hell yet withholds it from you. He has the cure and he offers it freely to us.

There are so many amazing personalities of Jesus but the last personality I want to look at is Jesus’ humility.

We all know Jesus was a humble man but have we actually sat down and thought about it? 

6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Phil 2:6-8

Jesus, son of God. One with God. The Word of God becoming a man. Spending nine months developing in Mary’s uterus. Son of God having to learn how to walk, to talk. He had to be fed. Jesus Christ having to be spoon fed? He had to learn how to tie his sandals. The one who placed each star in its place. The one who created the vast valleys and the raging seas had to learn how to tie his own shoes. Jesus had to learn how to not soil his clothes. Oh wait, you thought since he was God that his bladder was dissolved away? Haha. He had to learn how to trim his beard, trim his toenails. How to nail two pieces of wood together. Jesus ate three meals a day because he had to. If all that isn’t enough, Jesus had to walk everywhere. 

John 4:3 So he left Judea and returned to Galilee. Just in the second it took to read that statement, it took Jesus a few days to walk that. A more than 70 mile walk and we read over that like he was in Judea one moment and the next poof he’s in Galilee. Jesus did this all the time.

He came to John to be baptized. He endured a life of temptation from Satan. He chose men to do life with. Stinky men who many times seemed to have a brain the size of a pea. Men that missed the point on many occasions. But he was so humble he allowed THEM to share the spotlight. Their lives, their stories got to be on display for everyone. Jesus didn’t decide to write his life accounts in scripture in first person.

 He stayed and ministered to people long past working hours. 

He endured this for so long. It’s easy to put on a display of humility, even fake it for so long, but when it is tested by the constant lack of understanding by your students, hatred of those who claim they love God, sleeping in places far from a castle, your true character will be exposed. Jesus’ tested true.

Jesus “gave up his divine privileges” “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant” he “emptied himself” Jesus emptied himself to take on the limitations of a human. 

He lived a human life so we could live his eternally glorified life.

His humility is incredibly humbling.

“One day a man decided to board himself up inside his house. He sealed off the doors, the windows, even the chimney. He left only one opening–the kitchen window–through which anyone who wished to speak to him was forced to speak. Fortunately, there were people that still wished to speak to him, so they called on the ma at his kitchen window. Over the years this fellow came to the conclusion that the world was such a place in which people only speak to one another through kitchen windows. He wrote a book in which he argued that human discourse cannot and does not take place in any other way than through kitchen windows. The kitchen window school was founded shortly after his death.

How we see Jesus matters. If we only allow Jesus to communicate to us through the kitchen window, then we are missing out on all the other ways he wants to reveal himself to us. We are only seeing him the way we want to see him. How unfortunate if we miss out on all the other ways Jesus wants to be with us. We could never say, “we’ve experienced all there is of Jesus.” because there is never enough for our finite minds to learn and experience.

So what does this do for us?

Knowing Jesus’ personality helps us know him more. When you know more about someone’s personality, you ultimately have a deeper love for them.

So who is Jesus to you? How do you see him as? Is he distant, strict, or heartless?

Or is he playful, affectionate, generous, honest and humble?

John said this in his book, “A true knowledge of Jesus is our greatest need and happiness. To be mistaken about him is the saddest mistake of all.”

If you feel that you have been communicating or seeing Jesus only from your kitchen window I want to invite you, believer or not, to pray this prayer.

“Jesus, I renounce every limit I have ever placed on you. I renounce every limit I have placed on you in my life. I break all limitations, renounce them, revoke them. Jesus, forgive me for restraining you in my life. I give you full permission to be yourself with me. I ask you for you–for the real you.

And to those who have never placed that faith– given Jesus the permission to be lord of your life before–and would like to today, I want to invite you to pray in the sincerity of your heart, something like this:

Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I believe that you came on this earth to die and raise to life for me. I receive you now into my heart to be lord of my life. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer out of the sincerity of your heart we would love to know about it and celebrate this new life with you! What a great decision you have made today!

Thank you so much for joining us today!

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