Thursday, April 10, 2008

Remembering Rich / Becoming Like Jesus

In my sermon preparation for this week I was reminded of an old Rich Mullins song, "Boy Like Me / Man Like You." You can view the lyrics to this and other Rich Mullins songs at

Rich's music was filled with wondrous imagination, beautiful poetry and heartfelt praise to the Lord and Savior Christ Jesus. This particular song expresses a vivid picture as Rich wonders what it must have been like for Jesus growing up.

I'm studying in Matthew 12:46-50 where Jesus' own family - his mother and brothers - shows up as he's speaking to the crowds condemning the Pharisees for rejecting him. Here's Jesus offering eternal, spiritual rest to all who will come to him (Mt. 11:28-30), unveiling his authority by claiming lordship over the Sabbath and healing a man with a bum hand (12:1-14), proclaiming of himself the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy about the Servant of the Lord (12:15-21), driving out demons and making this blind and mute man see and talk (12:22)...and his family comes wanting to have a word with him.

Apparently, they were totally unimpressed with who he was. This started me thinking and wondering how ordinary Jesus' childhood and early adulthood must have seemed to them. While the multitudes are coming to him and being healed, Jesus' family still sees him as, well, their older brother, the kid who played tag in the backyard and like to dig up worms. He was the one who never got in trouble, but how often do you suppose they remembered the time when he didn't make the trip home from Jerusalem with the family? He was to them the boy who's voice started changing and cracking for a year and a half. He was the kid who maybe liked to help out his mom with the dishes - how weird is that! Maybe he was the kid who wasn't afraid of spiders and snakes. Perhaps they remembered him as the one who forgot to put the cap back on the toothpaste or took the last of the toilet tissue without replacing it.

So I love the way Rich Mullins captures some of those thoughts in this song. Wow - Jesus was one of us, the Word made flesh, and he dwelt among us.

"For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people." - Hebrew 2:17

It is this Jesus who calls all who follow him, those whose desire like Rich Mullins' was to become like him, "brothers."