Jesus the People Person

Jesus the People Person

One thing that I think about often with Jesus is that he chose to spend a lot of time with people, in all kinds of ways. Here are two descriptions from the Bible of how he spent his time:

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him. ~ Matthew 4:23-25

 

After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.

Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them.  ~ Luke 5:27-29

So, put on your imagination cap with me and picture this man, Jesus, walking on dirt roads with people on each side and throngs following behind, talking to him, asking questions, laughing. Imagine Jesus stopping to eat with the people, and others coming to join and to ask him for healing. See Jesus talking with, touching a man on crutches, a woman burning with fever, a convulsing child, one with mad eyes and demonic shrieks. See the compassionate expression on his face and the care as he reaches out his hand and places it on a shoulder, a head, a cheek.

And then, listen to his voice as he teaches those who come to him. The Bible explains that “the people were amazed at his teaching because he taught them as one who had authority” Mark 1:22). His manner, while caring and gentle, is also knowing, wise, genuine. His words ring true in a way the people have never heard before.

In addition to the above pastimes, Jesus went to weddings and dinners, he spent days with Samaritan people shunned by the Jews, he hung out in Mary’s and Martha’s home, met at night with a man who had questions, welcomed children, and spent in-depth time with twelve close follower friends. It seems there wasn’t any sort of person Jesus wasn’t interested in or available to.

It’s clear, Jesus was a people person. He could have been just a teacher, or only a preacher. He could have sent his disciples out to do the one-on-one meetings. He had a big and full agenda; every reason to stay focused on the task at hand. Except that people were his agenda.

And if this Jesus has come to reside in me, I’ve found that his tendencies haven’t changed much. He calls me, too, to be a people person, to make people the focus of my agenda. Knowing Jesus more and more compels me to slow down, to be a little less goal-oriented and a lot more soul-oriented. Living life with Jesus has even pointed me toward welcoming the interruptions in my days and letting the rest be okay, finished or not.

I’m glad …  so incredibly glad … that Jesus likes me and wants to be with me. I have a long way to go in loving people the way Jesus did, but this Thanksgiving week, I’m grateful that he’s making me, more and more, into a people person too.

Are you by nature a people person? If so, is the life of Jesus in you present and overflowing as you spend time with people? If you’re not a people person, has Jesus’ life in you turned you more in this direction in unique ways that fit you?

A blessed Christ- and people-centered Thanksgiving to each of you!

[Thank you to Flickr/Wootang01 for the use of your photo!]

 

 

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