I feel, at times, awkwardly deceived by the Jesus-notions of my childhood—the one who changed water into grape Kool-Aid and multiplied goldfish crackers. We fashioned him into an understandable figure, removed nuance from his personality. He loved the “red, yellow, black, and white.” I knew that, even though I did not know a single yellow man, or a red one for that matter. And though Southern Baptist reverence wouldn’t allow us to call him “buddy,” Jesus was certainly our friend; plain and simple. I’ve been listening to songs written about Jesus, lately. Freddie Mercury ironically identifies him the most accurately, singing of the leper going down to see “the Lord Jesus.” Woody Guthrie and Jackson Browne identify him as rebel-philospher. Depeche Mode, and later Johnny Cash, identify him as our “own personal Jesus.” Kanye sings of Liberation Jesus, one who rescues from the welfare Hell. Carrie Underwood, bless her heart, simply asks him to take the wheel—so much for iconic.
We are a funny lot, we humans, creating our own definitions of salvation—our own personal Jesuses. We paint him in icons of irony, symbols of hope, and embodiments of movements. Perhaps that’s not all bad. But it leaves Jesus’ very pointed question ringing in my own ears,
“who do you say that I am?”
*PLAYLIST IN COMMENTS*