Five of countless reasons

Five of countless reasons

There’s been a meme doing the rounds over the past month or so asking people to list five things they love about Jesus. My guess is that it’s a spin off of John Smulo’s meme, Five things I Dig About Jesus. Maybe someone didn’t like the word ‘dig’ so they thought they’d change it before passing the meme on to others.

My long time blogging friend, Matt Harmless, tagged me a couple of days back so it’s my turn to list five things I love/dig about Jesus. To be honest, I’m rather surprised that I wasn’t tagged for this one sooner.

There are a couple of difficulties in compiling such a list. The first is that it could give the impression that the list is exhaustive or in order of priority. Let me assure you that there are many more things I could say on the subject but I’m limited to five and those five aren’t necessarily the top five reasons I love Jesus.

The other difficulty for those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus is that when we list any attributes of Jesus we are automatically called to mirror those attributes. We’re unlikely to get anywhere close to the standard set by Jesus but these are the things we must strive towards.

1. Compassion for the Hurting.
While we can tend to discard or marginalise the hurting, Jesus offers compassion, healing and restoration. He isn’t just interested in the ‘beautiful people’ and he doesn’t subscribe to the abhorrent thought spread by motivational speakers and even some churches that we should only hang out with inspiring, successful people who will help us become ‘better people’. The way Jesus tells it, we become better people when we’re prepared to be there for those on the lowest rung of the social ladder.

2. Willingness to Expose Hypocrisy.
While a lot of people who claim to follow Jesus spend a lot of time pointing the finger at others who don’t live up to their standard, the Biblical accounts of Jesus’ time on earth show that he reserved his harshest criticism for those who claimed to be the spiritual leaders. Jesus was quick to condemn the hypocrisy of those who would trap people with rules and regulations while ignoring the needs of the poor and oppressed.

3. Absolute Forgiveness.
No matter how much we stuff up Jesus is prepared to give us another chance. He doesn’t want us weighed down with all kinds of baggage from the past. He doesn’t try to manipulate us through guilt. Jesus is prepared to let the past stay in the past and to help us move forward. Sure, we need to accept that forgiveness and be prepared to turn from harmful behaviour, but even if we trip up again, he’s waiting with complete forgiveness.

4. Servant Leadership.
Jesus confused his disciples. He was their ‘leader’ but he insisted on washing their feet to demonstrate the kind of leadership he was advocating. We see a lot of people rising to leadership positions, both in our community and our churches, who believe that many tasks are ‘beneath them’, but Jesus isn’t interested in self-important, self-serving people.

5. He Makes the First Move.
Most of us are prepared to patch up a relationship when we feel that the offending party is sorry for their behaviour. Jesus works the other way. While we’re still going our own way, rejecting him, insulting him, he’s the one making the first move. While we’re still his enemy he’s reaching out his hand and offering to put things right between us. He’s not waiting for us to show remorse before offering forgiveness. We need to show remorse before accepting his forgiveness but he was prepared to endure a barbaric death as a first step towards reconciliation.

When I look at that list I see how incredibly short I fall of the standard. Thankfully I don’t have to be perfect to be accepted. I’m loved just how I am. That’s the good news of the gospel.

How about you? Can you list five reasons why you love Jesus? If so, consider yourself tagged. Leave a link to a post on your blog or simply leave your list in the comments section of this post.

Posted by Rodney Olsen

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