If you ever type “Jesus” in the search engine you will find countless pictures and paintings of Jesus. They look good aesthetically. Although, if you read the Bible slowly you will find that they are far from portraying reality.
The idolization of biblical events wouldn’t be a problem if the Bible weren't written for you and me. Can you imagine standing in one of those painting scenes? Exactly, we don’t look as perfect! The painter will have to work a lot to make us fit-in.
If former prostitutes, tax collectors and the outcasts of society looks so fancy I have no chance to fit in the community Jesus created. Jesus Himself seems so far away from where I am.
When I started reading the Bible for myself, I found shocking facts that crumbled this problem like an underbaked cookie. This strange reality created in art was eaten by birds. The best part of it — the life of Jesus became relatable to me.
In the first part, I will point at Jesus and His house.
What happened in His heart?
Jesus not only knew how to be a guest but also He had a heart for hospitality. Look at this account find in the Gospel of John:
The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. (John 1:35–39, ESV, emphasis mine)
One afternoon Jesus goes for a walk. He listens to the chirping birds and breathes in the humid air by the side of the river Jordan. He sees two men following Him. Are they stalkers? Robbers?
If two guys were following you, you would be curious about their intent. Maybe even anxious. If you had the guts to ask them about it there would be less comfort in knowing that they want to know your address!
Jesus doesn’t run or hide but invites two stalkers for a visit!
It’s possible that they had dinner together because they stayed with Jesus for the rest of the day from around 4 p.m. Imagine the conversations and the excitement in the hearts of the followers of John the Baptist. The Messiah came in the time of their lives and even invited them for a fellowship with Him.
Jesus loved to show hospitality. He wasn’t living in a palace surrounded by bodyguards. No, His heart was open to inviting strangers to His table.
When I was young, I had a neighbor John who had an open heart and an unlocked door. Other kids and I loved to go for a daily visit and listen to the stories and jokes he had to tell. We enjoyed the fruit, hazelnuts, and various hiding places in John's garden. We were welcome to his home as if it was our own. It was a normal life during my childhood years but as I grew up I understood that John had a special heart.
The same openness I see in Jesus. His heart and His home are open to everyone willing to come.
What happened under the roof?
Mainstream Christianity forgot that Jesus wasn’t homeless. He had a house. No, not the childhood home with Joseph and Mary. He had His own house by the lake!
The place where Jesus moved in was called Capernaum. It was a large village inhabited by fishermen, farmers, and merchants.
Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles — the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” (Matthew 4:12–16, ESV, emphasis mine)
It couldn’t be that Jesus stayed there only for a couple of days. For the prophecy to be fulfilled He had to stay there for a longer period of His earthly ministry.
Because He lived by the sea of Galilee, He took walks to the shore. That’s where He met His fisherman-disciples there.
It’s comforting to know that Jesus had a place He could call “home.” If you want to follow Jesus, it doesn’t mean you have to be a homeless traveler. The voice that tells you not to settle in your home has little ground. The best way to influence a community is to live in it. Of course, if God calls you to travel, obey. Otherwise, stay and be a light in the community you abide in.
What happened to the roof?!
The roof of the house of Jesus has a beautiful story to tell. Let’s listen!
And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. (Mark 2:1–2, ESV)
The kindness, wisdom, and miraculous power of Jesus made Him famous. People were watching Jesus closely. The report of Him being back home spread quickly and drew in a crowd.
And here we are in a house completely packed with people. No social distancing but everyone like sardines in a can stood in the house of Jesus. Why? Because His wisdom was life-changing and was constantly proven by works.
Five men came late to the gathering. One of them couldn’t walk and had to be carried on the mat. As they approached the door they saw no possible angle to carry in the mat to the Teacher. The can of sardines was full to the brim!
The desire to help the friend was bigger than any circumstantial difficulty a group of men faced. Their faith and determination were immovable. They knew if they got their paralyzed friend to Jesus, He would heal him.
And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” <…> And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2:4–5, 12, ESV)
It was a happy ending for all. Except for the roof. It will no longer keep the thieves out. Not even mentioning the rain! However, only Pharisees would care for the roof more than the salvation of a person. Forget the roof, the paralyzed man walked home on his own!
Jesus didn’t get offended that someone broke the roof of His house. He immediately forgave the sins and healed the man.
It leaves me wondering if that wasn’t the point when Jesus decided to start traveling. It’s possible that He called His disciples, took the necessary belongings, and left for a journey ending in Jerusalem where He was crucified.
The fact that Jesus had a home has blown my roof as well. Not literally, of course!
The property of Jesus is open for you. You can come at any time and, funny enough, come inside in any way. Jesus doesn’t stay within a distance but removes all the boundaries separating Him from the people He loves.
Jesus values you more than His own security and comfort. He’s willing to give up His state of being “okay” and give it to us. The cross reveals it completely but it all started with small.
I get why the visual arts want to show Jesus the way they do. Yet, don’t let your exaltation of Jesus put Him away from your life when He came to the earth to embrace you.
For more useful insights and tips subscribe to my monthly newsletter.
You can read more on: