When I taught English, students would occasionally complain that the literature we read was boring.
I would respond by saying something like, “Would you please read that last sentence again?”
A student would begrudgingly oblige, reading word after lifeless word as though skimming an instruction manual.
“I figured it out!” I would then announce, “Shakespeare isn’t boring, you are!”
I hate to say it, but some days when I look into my students’ faces I’m convinced the zombie apocalypse has begun. I’ve gotten into the habit of having students check their pulse as they come into the classroom as a way of reminding us to wake up, to be ready, to be alive.
What breaks my heart is when we do this to Jesus. One of the biggest hurdles I see keeping young people from experiencing the revelation of Jesus is the idea that he is…well, boring.
Jesus, the one whose entire life is surrounded by controversy, surprise, outrage, suspicion, glory, disappointment, and astonishment; the man who one minute is being hailed as the messiah and the next is accused of being the devil; the one who infuriates the religious leaders by breaking Sabbath rules to show his Father’s true heart; the one who touched a guy with an infectious skin disease, ignoring his 10 foot radius bubble of uncleanliness; the one who has the Pharisees plotting with the Herodians on how they might assassinate him; the one who disappoints the Jewish world by going to a cross instead of a throne; the one who rises from the dead, disguises himself, and walks eight miles with a couple of his dejected followers acting like he knows nothing of the weekend’s events until finally showing them at the end of the journey that it was him all along—this Jesus is boring?!
Jesus was accused of many things while on earth, but never once of being dull. I mean, come on, you’d be kicked out of church just for supporting him (John 9:22), he must be a little bit interesting.
Somehow, we’ve become so far removed from the world of Jesus that we no longer understand what the folks of his day were getting so worked up about. We read the Bible scanning for information or instruction and miss the revelation of it all, the life pulsating in the text. Trust me, son, Jesus is there, we’re just too boring to notice.
If anything, we’re the ones who are boring Jesus, not the other way around. I can see him yawning now.
This reminds me of the time Amanda and I took our niece to the zoo. We were so excited for her to see animals she didn’t even know existed. Unfortunately, she never saw most of these incredible creatures. All day she was mesmerized by a cheap plastic wristwatch. At one point I sat her down facing the lion cage thinking it would shake her from her stupor, but even though her nose was no more than eight inches from the face of a 400 pound lion, she never even noticed. I called to her, I pointed, I danced a jig trying to get her to see this amazing creature, but she never saw it because she was too busy looking at the dumb watch.
Do you see the Lion, son? Do you see his golden fur swelling out and in as he drinks in whole buckets of air? Do you see his giant tail swishing back and forth with vivacity and joy? Are you close enough to hear the low rumble of his name growing in his throat while your knees knock together in expectancy? Put the wristwatch down, son, because blessed are those who see the Living God and know better than to think that He’s the boring one.