Would you invite Jesus Christ to your birthday party?

I love asking this question because most people hesitate to answer. And that pause is worth reflecting on, because it may be indicative of how close Christ feels to you as a person–as a friend.

Somewhere along the line, many of us have picked up a caricature of Christ that is very negative. One that J.B. Phillips refers to as the “Pale Galilean.” Joyless, austere, frowning, condemning, narrow, intolerant–certainly not someone you’d want to share your steaks, cake, and guests with.

But the Biblical picture is very different. Jesus actually got in trouble with the religious leaders because he was hanging out with the “wrong sorts of people”–there were rumors that he was a drunkard and glutton, a friend of sinners. Translation: “He can’t be one of the good guys because he drinks too much, eats too much, and hangs out with the people we don’t approve of.”

Another thing to notice is that children wanted to be around him. They went right up to him. Parents wanted Him to bless their babies.

So, if he seems distant, and maybe even scowling, I’d recommend a closer look. The best treatment I’ve seen recently is Dane Ortlund’s, Gentle and Lowly. But you don’t have to wait to read a book–you can reach out to him in prayer whenever you want.

The point in saying that Jesus is lowly is that he is accessible. For all his resplendent glory and dazzling holiness, his supreme uniqueness and otherness, no one in human history has ever been more approachable than Jesus Christ. No prerequisites. No hoops to jump through. The minimum bar to be enfolded into the embrace of Jesus is simply: open yourself up to him. It is all he needs. Indeed, it is the only thing he works with.

Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly, 20.