Am I a Jesus-freak? This question slapped me in the face as I flipped through the pages of a very old Bible. My fingers journeyed through Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and my eyes read the captions above each grouping of verses. It honestly felt as if I had picked up an old photo album instead of a bible. The pages brought back memories of Sunday school classes complete with little-people chairs and a flannel boards illustrating the most memorizing stories I had ever heard. I will forever be thankful and in indeed indebted to my Mom who felt church a necessity for a young girl. Because of her commitment I now possess the treasure of these stories and they bring comfort, peace and rest to my soul.
Back to my question: Am I a Jesus-freak? I guess that depends on your definition of Jesus-freak. For some the very mention of anything related to religion immediately impregnates visions of Westboro Baptist Church. You know… the fanatics that hate gays and choose to picket the funerals of our fallen soldiers. They preach a gospel of rules and regulations that reek of hate, exclusion and damnation. These people do not resemble the Jesus I know and I do not for one second believe them to be sanctioned by God. Well, If not these bozos then who, may I ask, qualifies to be pegged a “Jesus-freak?” Could it be me? Do I sometimes, out of the blue, break out in song with Victory in Jesus? Hmmm…guilty. Do I talk to Him off and on during the day? Guilty. Do I consider Him my friend as well as my Savior? Gladly guilty. Last but not least, do I believe He loves everyone with all his heart even if they don’t return that love? Once again… guilty as charged.
Jesus often spoke in parables and my favorite is the parable of The Good Samaritan. I believe within the folds of this story we see a true Jesus-freak in action. Do you remember the parable? Well, let me see if I can recount the story….Once upon a time (Jesus doesn’t tell it that way but I love it when a story begins that way) there was certain Jewish man who for some reason had to travel the roads from Jerusalem to Jericho. Back in those days there were no Chuck Norris Texas Rangers, John Wayne Rooster Cogburns, or Charlie’s Angels to keep the justice; therefore these roads were often treacherous with the misdeeds of thieves and robbers. Well…you guessed it…the poor man was to be molested by said bad guys. They stripped him, beat him senseless, took all that he possessed and left him for dead. As the sun heated and the day progressed a certain priest came upon our naked protagonist. Surely this man of God would stop and minister to the down-and-outer. He didn’t even get close to the poor man. Instead he turned up his nose shunned him by walking as far to the other side as possible. After a while a certain Levite came upon him. Surely this Levite, a high priest and perhaps even a descendant of Moses, would have compassion and help the poor man. However, this man of God followed the footsteps of the previous priest and went on his way. Perhaps they both feared cooties would leap from the bleeding man and stain their pristine white robes…guess we’ll never know. Both men of God went on their merry way faithfully doing the work of the church. Finally we are told of a third passer-by. Blocking the hot sun he looked down upon the dying man. The dying Jew looked through cracked and swollen eyes and saw the face of a Samaritan and knew without a doubt he was screwed. (My words…not Jesus’s) The Samaritans were the sworn enemies of the Jewish nation. Surely, this hated enemy, this racially unethical outcast, this unclean dog of man would use the heel of his leather sandal to stomp out his life. Only this was not to be the case. Instead the Samaritan was moved with compassion. He cleaned and bound the man’s wounds and gently placed him upon his only horse. He led him through the blazing dessert until they reached the nearest inn. After Jesus finished speaking the parable he asked this question: “What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?” Of course this question is quite redundant for the answer is blatantly obvious.
Am I a Jesus freak? I can only hope and pray that people consider me so! I hope I can become more like Jesus every day. I hope that I will have compassion for the sick. I hope that I will seek to help the poor. I hope that I will never shun anyone no matter who they are. I hope that I will seek to treat others as I want to be treated. I hope I will always love my neighbor, even if they share another faith or no faith at all. When you think of Jesus-Freaks, I implore you not to picture the likes of Westboro Baptist Church or the straight-laced so-called Christians who judge and condemn and try to pry their way into your homes to give you the word of THEIR truth. Rather I encourage you to visualize the person who will walk a mile in your shoes, the person who offers a cold glass of water to the thirsty, the person who seeks to help the less fortunate, the one who looks beyond the outward appearance and ignores the smell of those dirty and unclean. Jesus-freaks come in all shapes and sizes. They may be red, yellow, black or white. They may be tattooed, pierced and astride a Harley. They may be a Samaritan (our enemy). In fact they are often the very ones you would deem least likely. So keep your eyes peeled because the next person that offers a smile and a kind word just may be a Jesus-freak incognito.