The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst  they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.  Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”  This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.  And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”  And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground.  But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.  Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
John 8:3-11 ESV
Apologies will be required when those presenting a staid, stoic, boring, timid, sickly, weak, and charismatically challenged Jesus actually meet him. It should be illegal or at least inappropriate for someone to present Jesus or his message without emotion and inspiration, but alas it takes place every day.
The real Jesus is more cagey and colorful than most are willing to see or say. Cagey is defined as “not wanting to say plainly what you think or intend to do.” Colorful is “having a lot of variety and therefore interesting” appeal. I am absolutely convinced Jesus had great style, panache, and a boatload of charisma, but it was faith rather than personality based.
Think about John 8:3-11 and his rescue of a woman being condemned by a self-righteous crowd. He is cagey as he writes on the ground while withholding his comment, then colorful in the way he phrased his first and finishing blow in defense of this guilty woman’s honor, when he said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Any honest evaluation of the life of Jesus proves these moments are about spirituality not personality, which means any one of us can learn to handle ourselves in a similar way.
Read John 8.
Read Luke 4:14-22 and list 1-2 cagey or colorful qualities of Jesus.
Read Mark 3:1-6 and identify 1-2 cagey or colorful qualities of Jesus.
Read Luke 16:1-9 and explain the benefits of being cagey and colorful.
There are some who will consider cagey and colorful to be unspiritual qualities unworthy of Jesus, and they are entitled to their opinion, but I believe we limit the life and inspiration of Jesus when we allow uncomfortable feelings to guide our understanding of Scripture.
Jesus was cagey and colorful all the time. Those parables we still don’t completely understand can be extremely cagey. As for being colorful, how about the multitude of miracles performed with impeccable timing and showmanship? Then there is predicting and delivering on the resurrection, followed by a final curtain call to let disciples see him before he ascended to heaven.
We seriously need to evaluate how we see Jesus!
*Definitions in “The 12 Days of Jesus” studies are based on the Cambridge Dictionary
- Feature: The 12 Days of Jesus
- Day 1: Conqueror of Darkness
- Day 2: Courage in the Temple
- Day 3: Compassion for the Disabled
- Day 4: Confidence Turns the Tide
- Day 5: Captivating the Crowds
- Day 6: Cagey and Colorful in Conflict
- Day 7: Controversial to the Conventional
- Day 8: Convincing the Confused
- Day 9: Comforting the Cautious
- Day 10: Clarity for the Complicated
- Day 11: Calm for the Chronically Contentious
- Day 12: Concerned about the Cynical
Written by Russ Ewell
who serves as Director of BACC Next,
where he is tasked with thinking about the future.