Maybe it’s a sign that I want to know Jesus more personally? That sounds good. Maybe it’s a sign that I need to root out any outdated imaginary ideas about Jesus that I’ve been holding? That could be good too.
So what do you think? What does “not your grandma’s Jesus” mean to you? A lot is going to depend on what your grandma’s relationship with Jesus was like and maybe even what your relationship with your grandma was like. (Hmm…Maybe grandma’s not the best source of knowing Jesus, just a really good home cooked meal!)
Recently I’ve done some reading about Post-Modernism and how it has effected the way we think about things. (This came up in a post last week too.) With Post-Modernism, everything is personal and individual. In other words, you get to define what is true and right in your life. I get to say what is true and right in my life. What is true and right for you, may not be so for me. I get to decide that.
To take this one step further, each of us gets to define who Jesus is. You get to say who He is and who He isn’t in your life.
He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Matthew 16:15-16 (KJV)
Is that right? Was Jesus a Post-Modernist thinker way back then when He asked “Who do you say that I am?” Well, maybe “Yes” and “No.” So “Yes,” Jesus actually invites us to say who He is, but “No,” that doesn’t mean He’s going to change to match what we imagine.
But what if I had never experienced a relationship with Jesus for myself? What if I only had what other people told me about Jesus to go by? What if the only knowledge I ever had about Jesus came from someone else in a second-hand way? What about that whole “Not your grandma’s Jesus” deal?
One of the things that I like about John’s Gospel is how “come and see” is used right in the very first chapter. It’s like an open invitation! “Come and see” is what Jesus said when people wanted to know where He was dwelling. (John 1:39) “Come and see” is what a follower said when someone else doubted that Jesus was someone special. (John 1:46)
In later chapters, it’s used to bring others to Jesus and also to bring Jesus to others. “Come, see” is what an outsider Samaritan woman said to her neighbors after she had spent time with Jesus. (John 4:29) “Come and see” is what the people said to Jesus when He asked where His dead friend Lazarus was laid. (John 11:34)
Isn’t it interesting that two very simple easy-to-read words “come” and “see” both begins and sustains the Christian life journey? Would it be stretching this too far to say that for all eternity we will still be saying to each other “Come and see” something about Jesus that’s more wonderful and more filled with glory than what we had seen before?
There is one more thought I’d like to share about the question Jesus asked to Simon Peter, and to each of us really, “Who do you say that I am?” To me, that is so different from what we hear in some other religious texts and faith traditions. For some, I get the feeling it’s more like, “I’m going to tell you what’s what and who’s who.” That’s never my intention here. If Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God, then anyone who does “come and see” can find out for themselves.
As an extension of this, tomorrow’s comic strip, I believe, will be a look at “Not your grandma’s Jesus” through the eyes of some of the characters here at Nickel Boy Graphics.