Paying Ridiculous Attention
In his book Ruthless Trust, Brennan Manning writes: “It must be noted that Jesus alone reveals who God is.… We cannot deduce anything about Jesus from what we think we know about God; however, we must deduce everything about God from what we know about Jesus.” This is… Just. So. True. Our misconceptions about God won’t help us understand Jesus. But studying Jesus will very much help us understand God. Maybe our biggest question in life is this: “Is there a God, and if so, what is that God like?” Manning is suggesting the best way to answer that question is to pay ridiculous attention to everything Jesus said and did. We learn “everything about God” by slowing way down to consider what Jesus actually said, who he actually said it to, and what impact his words and actions had on people.
When we let our determined pursuit of Jesus guide our understanding of God, our life will be transformed by what we discover. For example, if Jesus is a mirror for God’s exact character and personality, what do we know about God’s attitude toward sin based on the way Jesus responded to the “sinner” woman who crashed a high-society party and washed his feet with her tears and hair (Luke 7)? A Pharisee, host of the party, was appalled by this disgusting behavior, and wondered how Jesus could tolerate this “sort of person.” But Jesus told him that people who love much are forgiven much.
There is no longing in our hearts that can’t be satisfied by “eating and drinking” more of Jesus. But the first thing we must do: We must remember the Jesus we didn’t know we’d forgotten.