The Guy, Jesus

John 2:1-11

The Gospel lesson today is about the wedding at Cana, acknowledged as Jesus' first recorded miracle in the Bible. I'm going to talk about a Jesus that most of you have not considered before-sort of like 'will the REAL Jesus stand up' on the old TV program, "To Tell the Truth" I think it was called.

I'm going to use a second Gospel example, one from Luke, which I'll read to you in a moment. Both of these are wonderful stories because, if we read carefully, we can get a glimpse of the 'real' Jesus with whom we can identify-especially men.

Jesus is presented as so spanking clean and lily white, and such a perfect specimen that it's hard to believe he was really human. That he was really fully human is a basic tenet of Christianity-that he was both fully divine and FULLY human.

Jesus was not born an adult. Jesus was born like any other human being, and had to learn just like any other child and youth. Yes, he had an exceptional understanding of the Word of God, but outside of that, he was a regular kid growing up, and a regular guy. And that's really important, especially for men, in order for them to relate to Jesus and believe that he, as a guy just like other guys, faced the same sorts of temptations that guys face today. It matters because, then, if Jesus could, as a regular guy, not using any superpowers, resist giving into temptation, it gives hope to other guys to know that Jesus totally understands what guys face, and so, if he can resist, so can we. He's not removed from a guy's experience.

But first, let's look at the passage from Luke because it's a wonderful example of real family life, and gives great encouragement and hope to parents who struggle with the attitudes of pre-teens and teens, and it gives hope to the youth to see that even Jesus' parents struggled in how to handle a situation with Jesus as a pre-teen.

First, though, it's important to realize that Jesus was raised like any other child, even though he was born as the son of God. God didn't just plunk him down on earth fully grown. He had to learn as a human being. He had parents who, like other parents, learned as they went along 'how to raise a child.' There were family dynamics just like in other families, and Jesus had brothers and , so he wasn't an only child.

In the second chapter of Luke, verses 41-52 we have the wonderful story of the boy Jesus at the temple. It's the story where the caravan leaves and his parents think he is in the caravan but after a day they can't find him and head back to Jerusalem and after 3 days they find him in the temple sitting among the teachers listening to them and asking questions. When his parents see him they are astonished that he was just sitting there and his mother says, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you." A very typical response from a mother-"Where have you been? We've been worried sick! Why didn't you call; why didn't you let us know where you were?" It's classic.

And Jesus' response is classic, too. A typical response from a pre-teen (he was 12), or even a teenager. He says, "Why were you searching for me? Didn't you know I had to be in my father's house?" Typical. "Why were you worried? I was here all the time. Why were you worried? I was just over Jimmy's house. I wasn't getting into any trouble. What's the big deal?" And then the really precocious remark, "Didn't you know I had to be in my father's house?" Parents who have to deal with children who are gifted in some way always have to deal with smart remarks. Because a child may be more mature for his or her age, he or she can't understand what all the fuss is about. And here's a clue that Jesus' parents weren't thinking of him as 'the son of God,' because Scripture records, "But they did not understand what he was saying to them." He was just a pre-teen who hadn't told his parents where he was going to be or what he was doing and they were worried sick looking for him. And rightly so, because people walking alone, especially youth, were robbed, beaten or, in the case of youth, kidnapped.

So, it's really encouraging for families to see that even Jesus' family had times when things had to be worked out. They weren't perfect. Jesus family, and family life was real, just like family dynamics today.

Now, to the wedding at Cana. Wedding receptions weren't like ours today that last for just a few hours. Wedding celebrations went on for days. Jesus and his disciples were invited guests. They must have been there for a couple days because the wine runs out. The good wine is gone and it's time to bring out the cheap stuff, if there is any. Jesus mother, like a typical mother who thinks the sun rises and sets on her son and thinks he can solve any dilemma, tells him to do something. Jesus' response to his mother of 'Dear woman, why do you involve me' is a nice way of saying, "Good grief, mother, why are you INVOLVING me?!"

The family dynamic again is wonderful to observe. But for the guys, you have to read between the lines to see what a regular guy Jesus was. He was hanging out at a wedding with his buddies. Now, of course, it doesn't say he was a rabble rouser, but he was a good, single, Jewish man. He was one of they guys, and being single, he also was fair game in they eyes of the women there. The encouraging thing is that he was there celebrating and having a good time with his buddies, but he didn't get involved in some little scene with a woman and we have no indication that he was drunk or tipsy. So, he can be a regular guy and have a good time with friends and still keep his wits about him.

I think it's great. He's one of the guys. He likes to party (other wise why would he stay-he could just make an appearance and head out).

We don't usually think of Jesus as one of the guys. As I told the men at the Bible study on Saturday, Jesus, the guy, has been kidnapped by women over the centuries and made into something it is really hard for a guy to relate to. We always see him pictured in clean robes and neatly groomed. Yet this was hardly the case. He traveled the dusty countryside. Sometimes we know he slept in houses, but we don't know how often, and only parts of the body were ritually cleansed on a regular basis. He didn't hop into a shower every day. He didn't wash out his robe every day. He didn't have anti-perspirant. He was just a regular guy.

And being a regular guy is what gives any guy great hope. Jesus knows our thoughts, our temptations, knows what lust is, but never gave in to any of it. And so there is hope for men because Jesus knows what a man thinks and feels and offers hope that, just as he, a regular guy, with regular feelings, other guys can resist temptations and not give in to lustful or adulterous situations.

Maybe you don't want to think of him that way. Maybe he can only be spanking clean, lily white, perfect in everything he did from day one. But that's not the real Jesus. It couldn't be. He wasn't even white-he was a Jew from the Mediterranean.

So, if you haven't thought of Jesus growing up as a regular kid in a regular family, and being a regular guy with guy thoughts and feelings, I hope you will, because if he wasn't fully human, then he can't be a Savior for our human failings. That is the beauty of Jesus, the guy. He understands. He knows. He has experienced what it is to be human, what it is to be a man, a regular guy. And he triumphed over all the aspects that could cause us to be separated from the fullness of the love and guidance of God.


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