Jesus is the most famous person to ever walk the earth. He is widely known around the world, even in extremely remote places. Even if you aren’t a Christian, you’ve most likely know a few facts about Jesus. Yet despite this fame, he is still regularly misunderstood and misquoted.
So I want to look at 7 facts about Jesus that challenge our perception about who he is.
7 Surprising Facts About Jesus
As we look at these facts about Jesus, I want to encourage you to look at your beliefs about Jesus and see if your beliefs align with what the Bible teaches. Many Christians have a view of Jesus formed more by culture than by scripture.
Alright, let’s jump in. Here are 7 facts about Jesus:
Jesus Wasn’t Mild Mannered
Many of us have this picture of Jesus as a passive white guy that speaks in hushed tones and, for some reason, is always holding a sheep. That picture is wrong on many levels. And maybe the biggest mistake we could make is thinking of Jesus as a mild-tempered, never raised his voice, kind of guy. That was not Jesus.
Jesus displayed the full range of emotions in the Gospels. He got angry, sad, stressed, and felt deep empathy for the people he was around. Jesus was not a mild-mannered guy. He openly wept, flipped tables, boldly stood for the oppressed, and wasn’t afraid to confront people. (John 2:13-22, Matthew 16:23, Matthew 23)
Jesus was many things, but mild-mannered wasn’t one of them. This often goes against how many of us picture Jesus, but when we look at the facts about Jesus, we see Jesus for who he really was.
Jesus Came From The Wrong Part Of Town
Throughout the Bible, we see the nation of Israel anxiously awaiting the Messiah, but when Jesus shows up they seem surprised at who he is. One of the most surprising things is where he came from: Nazareth.
Nazareth wasn’t where royalty came from; it wasn’t even on the map. It was a small town, not even a single traffic light kind of town. Somewhere around 200-400 people lived modest lives in a primarily farming community.
The Jews expected the Messiah to come from a more prestigious place, not a backwoods dot on the map. You can see this contempt in the comments made about Jesus coming from Nazareth, with one person saying, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (John 1:46)
As we look at these facts about Jesus, this one probably isn’t surprising to us. But to the Jews in the first century, it would have been shocking to learn the Messiah came from Nazareth.
Jesus Spent Much Of His Time In The “Bad” Part Of Town
If God were to walk this earth, you would expect him to spend his time with the religious leaders, the powerful, the influential, the who’s who of the day. But that’s not where Jesus was often found.
When you read the gospels, you will often find Jesus hanging out with tax collectors, prostitutes, the sick, Samaritans, and other outcasts. He spent much of his time with the people no one in power wanted to be around.
I don’t think Jesus rejected the religious elite; in fact, the opposite was true- they rejected him. I suspect Jesus would have had no problem sharing a meal with them, but they didn’t want him around. Why? They didn’t like him pointing out their shortcomings and were unwilling to admit their faults.
Jesus came for the sick. Which is all of us. But oftentimes, those in power have a hard time admitting they too are in dire need of saving. So, Jesus spent most of his time in that “bad” part of town hanging out with those that knew they needed him.
Jesus Demanded A Lot From His Followers
The interesting thing about Jesus is he would let anyone in. I mean anyone. People who betrayed their country, thieves, zealots, blue-collar fishermen, white-collar doctors, sexually promiscuous, women, just to name a few… Anyone could follow Jesus.
But while everyone was invited, the expectations of being a follower were high.
Following Jesus isn’t a spectator sport. He expects his followers to get in the game. So much so that he equates the church to his body. In other words, we are his hands and feet. We represent Jesus to the world around us.
Here’s what this looks like:
Where Jesus went, we should go too.
What Jesus did, we should do too.
What Jesus felt, we should feel too.
If you call yourself a Christian, ask yourself: Are you following Jesus? Are you actually following in His footsteps?
We often like to downplay what it means to follow Jesus. But when we look at the facts about Jesus and his message we see that he expects us to actually follow him.
For more on this topic, check out: Following Jesus Is More Than The Words We Say
Jesus Got Angry
We have already talked a little about how Jesus wasn’t mild-mannered, but I wanted to build on that a little more. I think many of us picture Jesus as a guy who never raised his voice or got angry, but he did, on several occasions.
Now, Jesus responded much differently to his anger than you or I normally do. When he got angry over the evil in this world, he never stooped to its level. In his anger, he did not sin.
Jesus’ anger was almost always directed towards the religious, and occasionally his followers. Interestingly, he rarely got mad about the injustices done to him; and people said and did some pretty nasty things to him. Instead, his anger came out when someone was being kept from him. Jesus wanted all people to have the opportunity to know his love for them and when that opportunity was squashed by a rule, a person, or a system, he got mad.
So, what made Jesus mad? Here are a few things.
- The human condition
- Rules being placed over people
- Kids being pushed aside
- Religious phonies
- Making it difficult for people to get to God
- Selfish ambition
These facts about Jesus show us that Jesus was often moved to anger. And we too should be angry over the same things that made Jesus mad.
I break each of these things that made Jesus mad down much further in this blog post: 6 Times Jesus Got Angry
Jesus Felt Empathy
Jesus felt genuine empathy for those he encountered. He didn’t heal people because he had to. He didn’t go to the outcasts because it was the right thing to do. He wasn’t motivated by any ulterior motives. He felt empathy for the people he came in contact with and was motivated by his love for his people.
Many of us often think about God as this distant entity that isn’t too involved in what we are going through. But Jesus shows us he cares deeply about what you and I are facing.
This is probably most evident in the shortest verse in the Bible, John 11:35, which simply says, Jesus wept. Jesus’ friend died and now he weeps. This is an incredible display of vulnerability and empathy. What’s crazy is, Jesus knows he’s going to raise Lazarus in just minutes, yet he still weeps in that moment.
Think about this for a moment: Jesus, who was God in flesh, wept. He was so overcome with grief he simply lost it. Not just a few tears… He was uncontrollably sobbing.
Jesus cares about what you are facing and going through. He feels empathy for his people. That can be hard for us to comprehend, that the God of the universe cares for us. But when we look at these facts about Jesus we see how deeply he cares for us.
If you want to read more about this passage and what it means, check out: Why Did Jesus Weep? (And why we should too)
Jesus Felt Stress
In Jesus’ final moments we find him in the garden fervently praying. In these tense hours, Jesus seems almost out of character. He seems a little more agitated and asks his disciples to pray for him. Their eyes are heavy and they soon fall asleep. Jesus seems dismayed by their inability to stay awake and pray. (Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-43)
It’s easy to see in this moment Jesus is under stress, but what happens next shows exactly to what extent.
Luke 22:44 records that during Jesus’ prayer, blood was falling like drops of sweat. Most likely this is hematidrosis. This is a condition that causes capillaries to burst and blood to fall like sweat. It’s a rare condition that happens under extreme stress or fear.
Jesus is under extreme stress because he knows what is coming next. He knows the agony that awaits him in the next few hours. Yet, despite having the ability to not go through with the plan, he stays the course. He endured the cross so that he could restore the relationship with his creation. He takes on sin and death and comes out victorious.
What Jesus went through in the garden shows the extreme burden he carried for us. Why? Because he desires a relationship with us and he was willing to go through anything to show his love for us. Even death. These facts about Jesus show us just how deeply he longs for us.
These facts about Jesus help us see who Jesus really is. They show us what it means to be his follower. And they help correct some of the misconceptions that are prevalent in culture.
Thanks for reading, I hope you learned something! I would love to hear from you! What would you add to this list of facts about Jesus? What was the most surprising thing on this list of facts about Jesus?
Don’t forget to leave a comment! What was the most surprising thing on this list of facts about Jesus? What would you add to this list of facts about Jesus?
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