The reason for Jesus’ crowd appeal was quite simply that he connected with ordinary people. Pride, arrogance, and self-importance were not in his wardrobe and were entirely absent from his demeanor and countenance. We often talk about ‘thinking outside the box’ when we want to encourage creativity or fresh approaches to tired topics and predictable solutions. Jesus’ life and teaching among the crowds in the hills and streets of Galilee and Jerusalem was something similar – a spiritual leader and teacher communicating outside of the narrow and restrictive confines of the legalistic religious institutions of the day.
Jesus’ interpersonal style broke the ‘spiritual mould’ of his day. Instead of the ‘cookie cutter’ priest or up-tight Pharisee he spoke of God as an intimate friend and ‘Father’ without any trace of a ‘religious’ accent. Instead his priority was to walk alongside the common man and woman, boy and girl, and demystify God for them. Before their very eyes he tore open the obsession with ritual, power, and outward performance by embracing the children and meeting individuals at their deepest and most vulnerable place of need.
It’s why he so often reached out to heal first… because the ‘experience of God’s love’ had drained from the cup of faith and never been replaced with anything substantial that quenched the thirst of those who dared approach its rim with expectant hope. After a while people gave up and settled for the status quo and no longer dreamed the dreams that breathed life into their spirits. Jesus appeared in order to restore friendship and love as a core reality into every human heart that responded to him.
So what? The God revealed in Jesus encounters us where we are…. So quit griping about what you think he is or isn’t and challenge him to show himself to you. Here’s the deal…. If Jesus was sitting across the table sipping a latte listening to you…. what would you ask him and how could he prove to you that he is powerful, gentle, relevant… and gets you – right now? Throw down the gauntlet and see/experience what happens in the next 7 days. By the way…. try a new approach…. instead of starting from a negative perspective and ‘nothing will happen’ barstool. Pretend (if you like) this is true and start thanking him for the response that is on its way….. Now see what happens! I’d love to hear your story….. 🙂