Here are a few of the opening lines of a chapter (The Apocalyptic Jesus) from the book we (David Capes, Randy Richards, and I) are working on, "Rediscovering Jesus."
If Jesus were a cartoon character, what would he
look like? That question may seem a
little odd since most of what has been written about Jesus (whether canonical
or extracanonical) is set before the reader as “the real Jesus.” This is what he said. This is where he lived. This is what he did. Therefore this is what he means. These writers try to make Jesus come alive,
giving a human face to his ancient voice so that readers would know him, admire
him, follow him, perhaps even worship him.
We all seem to be looking for a recognizable Jesus, one that matches our
mental images of him with the power of his personality. He will always say the right words, always do
the right things. He must be charming,
endearing, witty, smart, passionate, gentle, warm, and downright embraceable. In other words, we want a likeable Jesus, a
familiar Jesus, a “take-him-home-for-dinner-to-meet-mom” Jesus. Everyone should be able to relate to the
real, flesh-and-blood Jesus because, after all, he is one of us.
That’s why the seer’s view of Jesus in the
Apocalypse is so shocking, so disturbing, so disorienting. In this “revelation of Jesus Christ,” Jesus
doesn’t appear to be human at all.
Instead, John sees a heavenly man with eyes of fire and a sword-like
tongue—a terrifying figure who is not pleased with the Church. He sees a comic-book lamb with seven eyes and
seven horns—a silent creature who stoically unleashes devastation on earth. This is not the Jesus we have come to know and
love. Rather, John’s vision of Jesus
seems like a nightmare, and many of us would rather look away and pretend as if
that Jesus never existed.