Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mean Jesus

I have fifteen minutes to spend on this post, and while I don't having anything ground breaking or particularly mad to offer my readers I would like to offer an observation from our bible study this morning on the Gospel of Mark. It's a very simple yet profound notion that one of our small band brought forward: Jesus was mean. I laughed. It's true. He was mean. And by 'mean' they meant he was human. He was pointed and direct; at times offensive and impatient or better...exasperated. (This is especially true of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark.)

The portrait of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark is not of a man who lives in the serene calm of otherworldliness. Jesus is rough, he's tumble. He's got something important to say and he's going to say it. He has something important to do and he's going to do it. He's driven. He's unapologetic. He's never diplomatic. (Except with the give unto Caesar thing. ;) )

He offended sensibilities and he does the same now. It's hard to appropriate this 'mean' Jesus. We like nice Jesus or pleasant Jesus. We like play with the dog and kick the soccer ball around Jesus. We like Jesus when he's on our side. We like him when he agrees with us or fits our mold. We don't like mean people and we don't like Mean Jesus. Problem is that the Gospels give us a really much more interesting portrait of Jesus of Nazareth than Godspell or The Greatest Story Ever Told. What does Mean Jesus mean?


  1. I'm sorry I missed the session today, but I went to Maine. It seems like it must have been a lively one.

  2. "Jesus is rough, he's tumble" - I love this!