I once had a friend who spoke with Jesus in her dreams. He showed up unexpectedly, like a friend who drops by on a whim. When I asked her what Jesus said to her on these occasions she just smiled and shook her head, as if that explained everything! “That’s my Jesus,” she exclaimed. I suppose I should have been happy for her. But I wasn’t. I was jealous. Although this sort of thing didn’t happen to her every night, it happened often enough to make me wonder why Jesus never appeared in my dreams.
Then one night He did. He sat down on the edge of my bed with a grin and began to speak. He wasn’t what I expected. He had the robe and the sandals. But his hair was swept back as if it had been styled with a blow-drier. To be honest, He looked more like a blond surfer dude from California than the Jesus I read about in the Gospels. And He wasn’t making any sense. In fact, the longer He spoke, the more I realized that what He was saying was gibberish. That’s when I woke up. I had longed for an intimate encounter with Jesus like my friend’s. Instead, I met His Hollywood stand in. That was forty years ago, in the early days of my Christian experience.
Since then I have discovered that there is more to the Jesus of the Gospels than the Jesus of my dreams. The Jesus I meet in Scripture is more astonishing than anyone I could ever have imagined. He is enigmatic and reassuring. He is a comfort and a terror. He is a puzzle to His friends and an outrage to His enemies. The Jesus of Scripture says and does the most outrageous things. He does not resemble the simpering Jesus of Hollywood or the nagging Christ I often hear about in church. He is the most interesting person you will ever encounter. You will not forget Him. You will never get over Him.