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People Things

Posted on 14 Apr 2024

April 14, 2024

Luke 24:36-49

Rev. Kristen J. Kleiman


“He does people things”, our nephew said in complete surprise. We had been visiting family to introduce our new baby to them, when 7 week old Jack had let out a yawn, and his teenage cousin was absolutely astonished, uttering a statement that has now become a family joke.

People were equally surprised that Jesus also did people things. From the beginning of his ministry, people could tell that there was something special about him.

As Jesus went about the countryside, inviting people to know God and know God’s kingdom of love; as Jesus traveled, inviting people to come follow his Way of peace; as Jesus healed people and set them free from the illnesses, addictions, and fears that imprisoned them; people sensed that Jesus was special. And some began to listen to that voice inside of them that said here, perhaps, here was the Messiah, the Savior, a Lord they would choose instead of those who wanted to lord it over them.

In so many ways, Jesus showed that he was extraordinary so it constantly surprised people that Jesus did people things: that he ate, that he had friends, that he needed time away to sleep and pray.

It is Jesus’ very humanness that drew people to Jesus and continues to draw people to a relationship with Jesus. He is human. He understands that we get cranky when we are hungry; that we are cranky when we are tired; that we are just generally cranky. Jesus gets us.

Those who followed Jesus, those who ate with him and talked with him and traveled with him, those who were his constant companions, saw every day how Jesus was human. They knew he did “people things” like cry and get frustrated and celebrate the joys of life – like weddings.

Jesus’ followers saw how very human Jesus was, and yet, sometimes when they saw him calm the turbulence of the storm with only his words; when they saw him heal those who others had given up on; when they witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit working through Jesus, they would forget Jesus was human.

Until the day when they could not forget he was human; until the day he died and then, his followers thought it was over. Death had won.

So of course when the resurrected Jesus appears to his followers, of course, they were startled and terrified and a whole bunch of other emotions. I would have been too. I can totally understand that they thought they were seeing a ghost.

Yet, here was Jesus – walking and talking and eating. Here was Jesus doing people things. Here was Jesus being human just like us.

And there was a reason for that. Jesus was fully human to show us the way, to show us the way to not only be human – to be kind, compassionate, loving humans.

Yes, Jesus did ordinary things like talk and walk and eat and enjoy the company of his friends and family. He did all of these people things with a loving twist though.

When the disciples wanted to turn away the children who also wanted to see Jesus, Jesus used it as a teaching moment. Let the little children come to me, he said. Jesus not only accepts children as they are; he teaches us that if we want to truly experience God’s power and majesty, then we need to be like a child – instead of always trying to make children be like us.

Over and over again through ordinary human acts, Jesus did extraordinary things. He placed his hand upon someone’s eyes, upon someone’s shoulder, and healed them. He used his words to share compassion and acceptance. He used his words to call people to justice and better, more loving behavior. He used meals with small groups and large groups to create a community in which all people might flourish.

And Jesus taught us that even when we think there is not enough to feed 5,000 people with two loaves and five fish, there is enough. There is an abundance. Even when we think that there are right people and wrong people to include in a dinner party, Jesus shows us that when God says God loves all, all means all.

Yes, Jesus did people things. Yes, the resurrected Christ was normal – normal with a twist though. While Jesus was not high and mighty in his attitude, he was clothed with power from on high. He was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, filled with God’s power and might, and capable of doing miraculous things, capable of transforming the world with love, peace, hope, and justice.

Just as God made Jesus human, God makes us human. God made us human to be human. We will cry sometimes and be frustrated and even get angry. We need time for rest and prayer – and joy. We need time alone and we need time with friends and family. God made us human to be human, and God made us Christians to be love.

God made us Christians to be humans who love. Humans who love and care for all of creation. Humans who work for peace and justice, who lift up those who are marginalized and forgotten; who heal those who feel trapped by depression, illness, PTSD, and discrimination.

Yes, we are human. Yes, we do people things, and because we are loved by God; because we have been called by God; because we, too, have been clothed with power from on high; we do those ordinary things in a way that changes the world for the better with Christ’s love.

As we marvel at the sky, we take the opportunity to praise God and invite others to praise God. As we go shopping, we treat those who work in the service industry with dignity and consideration. We walk in God’s creation and leave it better than we found it. We read to the children in our lives and listen to them, really listen to them, and show them that they, too, are loved by God. They, too, are clothed with power from on high. They, too, are able to make a difference in our world, creating a just peace society that cares for all people.

Every day, we do people things. And every day, we have the opportunity to do those ordinary things in a way that brings hope, that brings peace, that brings joy, that brings love to those around us and the world.