Your Friendly, Neighborhood Jesus
A Broken Jesus.
Recently in one of my bible classes, my professor shared a story about a student in one of his classes who claimed that ‘Jesus would be more relatable if He was sinful.’
He continued, “The fact that he was perfect is daunting, and it makes following Him seem pointless, because we’re not that good. If He had sinned, I’d be more inclined to follow him.”
Upon first hearing this I scoffed, thinking that this kid was nuts. Who would think like this? But then, I realized, this is how our culture thinks. It’s how I think sometimes. We love the flawed hero. We relate to the people we should hate.
On television, we adore the Dexters, the Jax Tellers, and the Barney Stinsons. We love seeing the Oliver Queens, who are just as flawed as we are, yet are still ‘fighting the good fight’. 
We’re seeking to demonstrate that despite our flaws, we’re still good people.
We were just in bad circumstances.
We’re only human.
We had good intentions…
If this Jesus guy was perfect, and didn’t have those flaws despite the same temptations, then that forces us to face the reality of our condition. It forces us to look in the mirror, and poke around at that tumor we call sin. And it hurts.
We refuse to think that Jesus could be perfect, because then we have to face the fact that we could never in a million years add up to that.
A Well Groomed, Sexy Jesus.
But on the other side of the coin, I think we’ve inadequately described what ‘perfection’ is. When we hear that statement; Jesus is Perfect, we think of some gentle, deep voiced, soft complexioned man who walked in a glowing manner with his perfectly groomed beard and man-bun.
We picture an angelic figure who could work a career, manage the checkbook, take out the trash, and get the kids to soccer practice in time; all the while keeping up with his favorite sports team and impressing the boss over dinner, and spreading the gospel to all of Africa and Asia on the weekends.
We picture a Straight-A student with a full ride to Harvard, who was a published author in high school, and swam on the olympic team after jump-roping on mount everest and taking a selfie with the president.
The Disheveled Carpenter Who Changed the World, and Us.
But I don’t think that’s what Jesus was like. I think there was nothing about his appearance that would draw us to Him. He probably was ragged and dirty. He probably smelled (you would too if you spent that much time walking in the hot desert). He might not have had perfect, flowing locks of hair and glowing white teeth.  In fact, His most memorable moment was gruesome and bloody. It was vulnerable… Humiliating…
So on one side, we’ve forgotten what Jesus’ perfection is like. But on the other side, we don’t want His perfection. we want the broken hero. Many of us would feel more comfortable with Jesus if He had those rebellious teenage years, smoking pot with John the Baptist at family reunions.
I think that’s because we know that we aren’t perfect. I think we all understand that we’re broken inside. But we don’t like admitting it. We don’t like pressing into that brokenness and taking a look around our hearts. It stings.
So we put on masks. We strive for better behavior. We try to look more put together. We get the checkbooks in order. we enter a relationship we’re not ready for.
And I think that’s where Jesus’ message makes a lot of us uncomfortable. His whole mission is to uncover all of that bitterness, hurt, unforgiveness, and toil in our lives and expose it for what it really is. Death-bringing. Jesus’ life and message call us out. He wants us to realize that we don’t have it all put together. We have fallen from ‘perfect’.
But He wants more than that. Jesus’ intent isn’t to expose you and all your faults, and then leave you there naked and afraid. He wants to heal you. He wants to take all of those broken. shattered. pieces. All those hostile memories of things you’ve done, and things that have been done to you.
And He wants to make you new.
Pure. Unstained. Beautiful. Whole-hearted. Alive.
I don’t want a broken Jesus. I want the Jesus we have. The Holy, lovely, god-man we have. And I want to be more like that Jesus. Because that Jesus changed the world with a group of uneducated fishermen, tax collectors, and prostitutes. That Jesus is making the world new. He’s not just ‘accepting’ the broken world we’ve got. He’s putting the pieces back together, one broken heart at a time.
I want Him because He loves me, despite my broken heart, despite my self-focused nature. He wants to make me new. He wants to forgive me.
And I know He wants the same for you.