Saturday, February 09, 2008

Attractive Jesus

I tell Hudson stories most nights. Sometimes ones I make up (one of his favorites involves a train and chocolate milk--go figure), sometimes ones in a book (The Little Engine that Could is a favorite--can you see a theme?), sometimes ones from the Bible (he's a big fan of David & Goliath, even if that means his "sling" routinely knocks things over in the living room).

Tonight I was telling him the story of Zaccheus inviting Jesus to dinner (Luke 19:1-10). We usually sing a Bible song about Zaccheus, tonight he wanted to hear my scintillating narrative version (his words as the brilliant 3 year old he is), so I told it. The thing is, whenever I tell him a Bible story, I always learn something. Maybe it's the basic format, or being forced to boil it down to it's simplest and core message, but I seem to always pause mid-story due to some "aha" prompting him to say something like, "Then what daddy? Daddy! Daa-ddddyyy!" I usually snap back to reality and the story continues.

Maybe because I'd just listened to Reggie McNeal hit on something similar for the better part of the day today, but something jumped out at me about Jesus while I was telling Hudson about Zaccheus. Here was my summary to Hudson (albeit in a 3 year old friendly version):
  • Zaccheus was someone religious people in particular did not like. He colluded with the "enemy" and was in a class of "sinful" all his own. Nice Jewish boys didn't associate with his type.
  • As a result, I'm sure his experience of life was one of deep and pervasive loneliness. Complete alienation.
  • When he heard Jesus was coming to town, he made it a point to put himself in Jesus' path because Jesus was attractive to him.

This is where I paused mid-story. Jesus was attractive to him. The person that church people found offensive was attracted, almost mystically it seems, to Jesus. So much so that he invited him over for dinner; Not a small thing in that culture.

So what's this mean for us? Who do church people not like, stigmatize, avoid, stay away from? Jesus likes going to their house for dinner. Do I?

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