If you took a Sharpie marker and opened up a Bible to the four gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the four mini-biographies of Jesus -– and you scribbled out everything miraculous that Jesus did and everything that Jesus said, what would be left?
At first glance, not a lot.
When put together, the four gospels have in total roughly 65,000 English words –the size of a good-sized self-help book.
Almost 50% of those 65,000 words are the red-letter sayings of Jesus.
Nearly 45% either describe Jesus’ early life as a child, his final days before his death, or his activity as a miracle worker and healer in between.
After that, what’s left in the remaining 5%?
Some would say all that remains are mundane details about Jesus’ life that honestly, don’t matter that much.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I’m finding that when you strip away everything miraculous that Jesus did, and everything that Jesus taught, you’re left with a plan for how to make life work.
My name is Brian Jones, and for a while now I’ve been thinking about why Jesus lived where he lived. And why Jesus did the things that he did.
I’m interested in these things because I don’t think these details – the 5% of the gospels that people for the most part ignore, or think are insignificant – are throw-away facts.
I think they’re clues to the first steps we need to take to flourish as human beings.
Think about it.
WHAT IF GOD WANTED TO MODEL HUMAN LIVING?
If the One who created us became a human being to model for us what it looks like to live a healthy, meaningful, profoundly significant human life, why did he choose to do it when he did? The turn of the common era? Where he did? In the bustling small town of Capernaum, Israel?
Why did he eat the things he ate?
Walk where he walked?
Spend time with the people that he did?
Order his day the way he did?
Work with his hands the way he did?
Approach money the way he did?
Prioritize sleep the way that he did?
Are these merely throw-away facts that really don’t tell us that much? Or are they clues to something deeper?
I’ve spent my entire adult life trying to get people to believe the things Jesus taught.
But recently, I’ve become convinced that the best case for believing what Jesus taught is experiencing first-hand the practical, life-giving benefits of living how Jesus lived.
For instance, when you reduce the gospels down to “the remaining 5%,” you notice that Jesus walked.
What is the meaning of this?
Whenever he needed it.
He intentionally picked friends.
Are these random actions that are told to us with no real purpose?
Or did he model these activities for us to emulate?
ACTUALLY LIVING LIKE JESUS
What would happen if we began eating healthy food like Jesus did?
Or working with our hands, trying to fix things that break, rather than quickly ordering something on Amazon to replace it before we even tried? Like he did?
And had an older, wiser, life mentor like Jesus did (John the Baptist)?
Spent time in the mountains, or by the water’s edge, looking for inspiration?
De-accumulated possessions down to the bare minimum to make room for what’s important?
Can you see the immediate, practical benefits of living like Jesus actually lived?
Very quickly, our lives would improve.
And if we didn’t necessarily buy into the whole “Christianity” thing, there’s a chance we’d see such positive results that we’d be open to exploring what Jesus taught.
Living like Jesus would open people up to believing like Jesus.
And believing like Jesus would open people up to serving like Jesus.
See where I’m going with this?
Living like Jesus.
Believing like Jesus.
Serving like Jesus.
There’s a simple, yet profound logic to the process. And to be perfectly honest, it escaped me until now.