Positivity with a ponytail. The music, the message and the motorcycle. These are just a couple of the taglines someone recently suggested for the daily radio show I have the pleasure of hosting on WCLN.
Ultimately, I'll probably not use either of them, but it's nice to know people take time to notice. That's something our sorely disconnected world needs a little more of: People noticing one another.
Over the past several months my wife and I have begun watching the independent video series, “The Chosen” from director Dallas Jenkins. None of us can comment with surety on how accurately the personalities of any of the Biblical figures is depicted, but the series has gone a long way to making them all more understandable.
“The Chosen” walks viewers through the early days of Jesus' time in ministry, offering backstories of the people we often reduce to supporting actors as we read the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament.
The more we learn about the environment in which these people and their stories were birthed, the better we understand the counter cultural message of the Gospel.
I think too often we conjure the image of Jesus wandering from lame to leper in a white robe with His hands held just so, speaking in language too haughty for most to comprehend.
That's probably far removed from the truth. Jesus was born into a gritty world, and a land which was dominated and occupied by Rome — an invading nation bent on ruling
As Jesus’ ministry unfolds in the first four books of the New Testament, what I see is someone who noticed. He noticed pain. He noticed suffering. He identified with those who were poor and hungry, weary from the weight of the oppressive occupation, and anxiously hoping for a heroic figure to swoop in and save them all. Ultimately that's what they got, but they simply missed it.
The Jewish people of that day had crafted a military hero from hundreds of years of stories. A hero who would defeat all the enemies of Israel, based on their current situation.
The hero who showed up, however, was a kind, understanding man who worked with common people to help them better relate to God and the people around them.
He taught them to love one another, and to treat even their greatest enemy with compassion.
Jesus taught us to do what we need to do more of to move this world and any situation toward a more peaceful resolution in every way: He taught us to notice.
When we truly notice those around us we begin to understand. We identify with their pain, we identify we their suffering, and when we notice those around us who are hungry and poor in any number of ways, we find the same hope that Jesus offered. That hope promises there is more in this world than our situation, and many ways to live a full life regardless of it.
Pictured above: "The Chosen" is the first ever multi-season series about the life of Christ. (Photo courtesy Angel Studios)