“I baptise you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Matthew 3 : 11 – 12
The picture John drew of Jesus for his disciples was no gentle Jesus meek and mild but a Jesus who would separate out the wheat from the chaff, that which was worth keeping from that to be thrown away. This was no sanitised Jesus, this was Jesus with a rough hard edge who would be asking a lot of people.
How much of a contrast is that with the typical image of Jesus presented at Christmas time? Baby in the manger who no crying makes surrounded by animals who are all quiet in a manger that seems more sterile than a hospital operating theatre!
More people today have their image of Jesus informed by this stereotype than the Jesus that actually exists in the Gospels. They clearly show he got angry, he wept, he expected people to be changed from encountering him and he expected total obedience from his followers.
In your image of Jesus, what informs that image? Ae you building the image from your feelings about Jesus or his teaching? Perhaps from anecdote and social media? Or are you building it from the actual gospel stories?
Prayer: God I know I am bombarded by information every day that helps shape my perceptions. In todays world of social media I know that to be more true than ever. Help me then to base my understanding of Jesus on the stories of the Gospels. Help me to know the real Jesus.
Action: Set aside some time and read a bit from the middle of any Gospel. What kind of Jesus do you see there?