Summary: . What a man is like stems from his character. And here the Gospels are eloquent. What would I have noticed had I spent time with Christ? What impression would He have made on me? As we walk through these verses in Mark 1 and 2, we will get close eno
What Is Jesus Like
What was Jesus like? A very fair question. But how impossibly difficult to answer!
One thing, though, is certain. The Jesus who meets us in the pages of the four Gospels is very different from the picture many have of Him. He is nothing like the “gentle Jesus meek and mild” of the children’s stories. He is not the miserable holy man who never laughs. He is not the fearsome judge who watches to see if we are enjoying ourselves and then tells us to stop. Nor is He the lifeless figure in the stained-glass window. Jesus, as the Gospels reveal Him to us, is radiantly alive and supremely attractive.
There is a great deal we would love to know that we simply are not told. We do not even know what He looked like. He was a Palestinian Jew, and as such the color of His skin would be olive, His eyes brown, and His nose hooked. Palestinian Jews had black hair and usually wore it long and carefully groomed. They valued a full beard, and it appears on many of the coins of the day. His mother tongue was Aramaic, a dialect of Hebrew, which He would have spoken with a northern accent common to Galilee where He was brought up. But He could speak Greek and probably some Latin and was thoroughly at home in the Hebrew scriptures. He wore a sleeveless undergarment with a girdle, the customary cloak and sandals, and carried a staff on journeys. That is all we know about His appearance or can guess with confidence.
But the Gospels have no interest in these things. They are profoundly disinterested in His size, the color of His eyes and hair, and even His age and strength. These external things are unimportant. What a man is like stems from his character. And here the Gospels are eloquent.
What would I have noticed had I spent time with Christ? What impression would He have made on me? What would I have said that He was like?
We read about a number of impressions that people had of Christ from the accounts in the Gospels. His brothers thought that he was emotionally unstable at the least, or insane at the worst. The Pharisees and religious leaders accused Jesus of being possessed by Satan, and a threat to the security of the nation. Religious people thought that He attended to many parties with the wrong kind of people. And the disciples, at times, stepped back from Him for fear of Him.
Why do we need to know what He was like? Why even worry about it? The answer to that question is really rather simple. If we don’t understand what Jesus is like, we will have an inadequate ability to know Him and appreciate Him. We will have an inadequate understanding of how much He loves us and how much He has done for us. We will not be in a position to be changed by Him to the degree that we would if we understood more fully what He is like.
If you have your Bibles turn with me to Mark 1:35-2:17, and let’s spend several days with Jesus. As we walk through these verses in Mark 1 and 2, we will get close enough to get to know Him. We will share some observations about Jesus’ character as we see how He lives and relates to others.
Jesus was spiritually disciplined (1:35). Did you notice the opening verses? “Jesus awoke long before daybreak and went out alone into the wilderness to pray.” You see He valued and made a priority of spending quality time alone with God.
Jesus realized that time spent with God was His source of strength. He needed that time. And if the Son of God needed time alone with God, how much more do we.
Jesus was not ruled by other’s expectations (1:36). Simon Peter and the other disciples went off looking for Jesus, and when they found Him they wanted to hurry Him back to the waiting crowds. “Come on Jesus. People are waiting.” But He isn’t swayed by others people’s desires. He didn’t bend to the demands of followers or opponents.
An old fable has been carried down for generations. It tells about an elderly man who was traveling with a boy and a donkey. As they walked through a village, the man was leading the donkey and the boy was walking behind. The townspeople said the old man was a fool for not riding, so to please them he climbed up on the animal’s back. When they came to the next village, the people said the old man was cruel to let the child walk while he enjoyed the ride. So, to please them, he got off and set the boy on the animal’s back and continued on his way. In the third village, people accused the child of being lazy for making the old man walk, and the suggestion was made that they both ride. So the man climbed on and they set off again. In the fourth village, the townspeople were indignant at the cruelty to the donkey because he was made to carry two people. The frustrated man was last see carrying the donkey down the road.