Holy Fools: Jesus

Holy Fools: Jesus

Holy Fools: Jesus.

The Father was clear about His request of the Son. I want you to save the world we so carefully created, He said. I want you to be in the flesh, on the earth, God to the rescue. Did the Father send the Son on a fool’s errand? Maybe, if you mean holy fool. In His heavenly wisdom, He played the earthly fool many times over… He was accurately accused of associating with the unclean, the sexually immoral, with gluttons and wino’s. At times He was considered out of His mind, or filled with the devil, or of being unbiblical.  The Word being unbiblical? Foolishly, it seemed, Jesus invested His life and mission in a handful of zealots, fishermen, a hated tax collector, and a betraying thief. Foolishly, He volunteered to surrender to the unjust authorities, and He followed that up by submitting to torturous death at their hands. Throughout His life, Jesus presented Himself as the long-expected Messiah, the fulfillment of Scripture, the eternal Son of the God of Israel. Foolish. So in terms of everyone’s perception of Him, did Jesus ever appear foolish? Yes, very much so. But He was never shy about being a fool for the Father. Jesus was the ultimate holy fool.

Jesus was a seemingly inconsistent, unpredictable bundle of extreme qualities. He would ignore His mother, berate the religious, forgive the adulterous, befriend the compromised rip-off artist, kiss His betrayer, stare down a storm, call His most faithful apprentice a name from hell, weep at a death, tend bar at a wedding reception, whip the tar out of unwelcome moneychangers, hug the children, touch the untouchables, have scary duels with demonic spirits, and welcome the lepers and lunatics. Even Jesus’ own family considered him a little crazy at one point. Well, if He wasn’t a little crazy, they thought, why was He acting the fool?

Jesus Christ, Y’shua Messiah… a misunderstood fool by most onlookers as He juggled grace and truth. He was easy to describe, and impossible to define. Some of His descriptive names were Rose of Sharon, Lion of Judah, Lamb of God, Morning Star, Stone of Stumbling, Root of David, Lilly of the Valley, Great Shepherd, Suffering Servant, Cornerstone, Man of Sorrows, Alpha and Omega, Bread of Life, Living Water, Bridegroom, Captain, Rabbi. Jesus seemed partial to Son of Man, a sort of Mr. Everyman, a Mr. One of Y’all. Somehow even that expansive list of titles still doesn’t quite capture Him. Maybe He Himself is the Word we’re looking for.

When Jesus was tender, He seemed to almost wilt. When He was angry, there was a scary flash of fire in His eyes. And He often aroused those same extremes in others. In fact, He started His ministry by igniting His home town with flammable speech straight from the Word; He continued it by answering serious questions with bewildering stories which often bordered on the comic; and close to the end, He irked His accusers with unflappable silence. Throughout His life, His version of sainthood was never sanctimonious. He’s God without the trite God-talk.

In the earliest days of His earthly life, Jesus was a Savior fetus in a teenager’s womb. Then soon He was a God who wet diapers, a Co-Creator needing to be burped, the Lord of the universe nursing at His mother’s breast. A few years later, He was the heavenly King with seared flesh and punctured scalp, passively facing mockery and torture. It’s a toss-up as to which of those two mysteries, the Manger Messiah or the Dead God, are the most incomprehensible and scandalous. One thing for sure, in both cases, this Man Jesus seemed to be a helpless fool to the unknowing. Fortunately, His last juggling act, of life and death, brought the house down. And better yet, He is promising an encore for the Ages that we will die to see. Finally the holiest of holy fools will be understood for who He is, the Wisdom of God.

Music. And now for your listening pleasure, please listen and watch a live performance of a gospel classic, Just A Closer Walk With Thee. This is in the New Orleans Jazz tradition, and it was recorded at the Lincoln Center. We have Eric Clapton, Wynton Marsalis, Taj Mahal, and a number of other great musicians. Be patient, and melt into to it. It’s twelve minutes long, but it’s well worth your time. It starts out at the pace of a traditional funeral march, as if we are walking down the streets of New Orleans. During this slower tempo, Taj Mahal sings the lyrics better than I have ever heard them sung. About halfway through, there is a very  enjoyable drum solo. And then the band immediately picks up the tempo and move into a fast-paced rendition that is really a lot of fun. Remember the main point of the song… Daily walking close to this Man Jesus. The second song is what you would expect of Aretha Franklin, a wonderful gospel version of a well-known hymn, sung in a church with choir.

Wynton Marsalis Eric Clapton Just A Closer Walk With Thee DVD Rip1 – YouTube


Aretha Franklin – What a Friend We Have in Jesus (Official Audio) – YouTube


2 Replies to “Holy Fools: Jesus”

  1. His resurrection was also called a stumblingblock to the Jews and “foolishness to the Greeks,” who prized reason. The modern Christian can seem foolish today in a world that also claims to prize reason and thinks we are fools for following Jesus