Heckling Jesus from My Car

Have you ever imagined how you might have reacted to Jesus if you’d lived when He walked on earth?

I had a revelation about that this week.

I think He would have aggravated me.

For my birthday, my family gave me the dramatized Bible on CD, so I’m now getting to know Jesus a new way, by listening to Him in my car as I drive around doing my job of working with families in crisis.

Instead of reading about Him from my cozy chair during my quiet time or while surrounded by others on a Sunday morning, His teachings are now breaking into my day in the midst of Dunkin Donuts drive-thru’s, potholes, red lights, and client problems.

This is how people would have experienced Jesus in Israel.

He walked around breaking into their daily lives like an interruption in a regularly scheduled program. He showed up at weddings, in the marketplace, beside the sea when the fishermen were returning from their work, and on hillsides.

I’ve always imagined people listening to people calmly, adoringly, as their children sat quietly beside them, also listening, and everyone nodding along at Jesus’ wisdom.

Now, as His words break into my day in between appointments, meetings, and errands, I’m getting a different picture of the crowds. I’ve never heard a quiet crowd listening to a speaker. I don’t know why that’s what I’ve always imagined.

Some were probably calmly listening but I imagine now there was noise, kids running and laughing or crying, smaller breakout discussions repeating what He said or disagreeing, and murmuring on the edges from those who wanted something different from a Messiah.

There would have been people trying to get others to stop listening and attend to their business. Husbands pulling wives away to get to the chores. Wives nagging husbands to see to the wood cutting and leave the preaching to synagogue.

I imagined the families I’m working with now in the crowd on the hill and hearing Jesus’ words became a much different experience.

I found myself answering Him back this week as the Sermon on the Mount poured out of my car speakers. Before, the Beatitudes seemed like a blissful, picturesque little sermon time but now I hear Him speak these words while others answer back, heckle from the crowd, or simply scoff.

I was speaking back to Him a little in my car.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven.”

I reminded Him, “In my world, Lord, the poor in spirit get medicated, sent to therapy, and offered disability.

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

“In my world, Jesus,” I complained, “those who mourn are comforted for a brief period but then told to buck up and move on quickly because their pain is bringing others down.”

Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.”

“Jesus,” I countered, “Even when you walked in Israel that statement must have been greeted with great scoffing and head shaking! The MEEK! The meek get trampled, left behind, crushed! The meek in my world get nothing!”

Imagine telling prostitutes that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled.

Imagine Roman soldiers overhearing Jesus saying that the merciful are blessed and will be shown mercy.

Imagine telling tax collectors that the pure in heart will see God.

Imagine telling Zealots planning to overthrow the oppressive government that peacemakers will be called children of God.

Imagine telling a persecuted people that they are blessed by the persecution, the insults, and the evil done against them. Imagine telling people desperate for freedom from oppression that their reward is in the next life so they should rejoice.

As I listened with new ears this week, I couldn’t help but tell Jesus, “I can’t believe people didn’t throw stones at you more often! This stuff isn’t lovely sayings for greeting cards and wall hangings. This was truly radical, hard to hear, revolutionary material!”

I’ve always accepted the miracles Jesus performed, and the healings, but I wonder how I missed the miracle that anyone chose to follow Him at all! People don’t easily accept everyday truth, never mind the radical truth Jesus was preaching.

Now I’m beginning to see how dangerous Jesus truly was – not only was, but is now.

I’m finding this week that I’m amazed by Jesus even more. Admiring Him in a new way for His courage and strength.

Close your eyes and picture the Sermon on the Mount the way you always have. Now, unfreeze everyone so they’re moving, talking backing, talking with others, laughing, or scolding children. Now add soldiers, Zealots, harlots, and thieves moving about.

Put some of the people you work with in the crowd or your relatives and hear Jesus say what He says and imagine their reactions.

He’s amazing, isn’t He? That He kept talking to us even knowing most of us would reject what He was saying and eventually take His life.

Amazing that He continues to speak to us now and break through the craziness of this world to create a space for us with Him that is a piece of the eternal Kingdom of Heaven.

Thank God for Jesus. That’s all I have to say this week. Thank God for Him.


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6 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. rachel says:

    AMEN!!!

  2. Tamara says:

    Wow, this one really hit home and got me thinking!

  3. Thank you, both. It’s got me thinking, too!

  4. Feels as if I’ve been watching a freeze frame when you put it that way. Great visual and food for thought (as I sit in my quiet morning hours!)Blessing as always, Lori

  5. Powerful post, Lori! I get what you’re saying, and I never thought of it that way, either. I need this CD set! Which one did you get?

  6. This is the CD set but, I have to worn you, much of the crowd noise, etc from this post was supplied by my imagination! : http://www.amazon.com/NIV-Audio-Bible-Dramatized-CD/dp/0310918634/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334506212&sr=8-1