Jesus: Introvert, Part 3

Dog person? Cat person? To my mind this split in the human psyche is one of the great moral indicators of our time. I’m an unapologetic dog person, and frankly I’m not sure how much to trust cat people. Regardless, though, I’m almost certain that Jesus was a dog person. Why? Well . . . it’s because I’m a dog person.

While I might be joking in the paragraph above, it is certainly true that people tend to see in Jesus many qualities that reflect themselves. I’m not saying that a coward will think Jesus a coward as well, but that person might tend to stress the passivity of Jesus, the turn-the-other-cheek teachings.

It’s for this reason, I think, that extroverts tend to think of Jesus as an extrovert, and I must admit that my assumption that Jesus is an extrovert probably derives my own inward-looking tendencies. Still, I have evidence to back up my position.

We’ve already considered the possibility that Jesus had at least one prominent extrovert disciple, Peter, and one who might be classed an introvert, John. I’d like to emphasize that neither of these personality traits should be looked at as a weakness or a flaw. So with all that stated, let’s look at the introvert evidence on Jesus.

In Luke 5:15-16, we see a perfect example of Jesus showing his introvert stripes:

But the news about him spread even more, and large crowds would come together to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. Yet he often withdrew to deserted places and prayed.

The extrovert would have reveled in the crowds, yet rarely if ever do we see Jesus getting energized by the crowds. Even at the Triumphal Entry, when we can imagine Jesus really getting into the excitement of the day, we don’t get that sense. But in this Luke passage, we see the Savior not just praying, but withdrawing to pray. And he didn’t just withdraw into a house but to deserted places. And he didn’t just do it this one time but “often.”

In the next chapter, Jesus chooses His disciples in 6:13-16, but before that he spends the night alone on a mountain praying. In Matthew 14:13, upon hearing of the death of John the Baptist, Jesus does not seek to grieve with friends but gets in a boat to withdraw. In John 7:10, Jesus sends his disciples to Jerusalem for the festival but then attends secretly and alone.

By contrast, can we think of a case in which Jesus seeks out crowds? He often pulls his disciples away to teach them separately. He sends them out in pairs to do the work that he could have done better and then he sends out even more pairs to pursue that same work. Would an extrovert have been able to be such a hands-off manager?

Look at the images of crowds in the 2014 film Son of Man. Jesus seems to be thrilled to be among the hustle and hubbub of the crowds.That makes good film, but is it an accurate portrayal of the Man?

Okay, I’ve convinced you that at least Jesus had some introvert behaviors. But so what? We’ll take up that question when this topic concludes tomorrow.

The Great Unplugged

I woke this morning to bad news, terrible news, the sort of things that makes you throw your head back and howl “Nooooo!” so the neighbors hear and wonder what wounded animal is in the area.

Picking up my phone, I looked at the charge indicator: 66%. What? It sat plugged in on my nightstand for more than eight hours. How could it be at 66%

A couple of weeks ago, I bought a new phone. I had limped along on the old one for a year, charging it at every opportunity. That thing held a charge the way the Kansas City Royals’ bullpen holds a lead: not at all. Then, when old unreliable started to turn itself off and lock up inexplicably, I decided to retire it.

The new one is great. Recently, I went through two days of steady use and still had 11% on the battery at the close of the second day. But this new phone uses the USB-C cord to connect. Not only does that mean I need all new cords but also I have to be deliberate about getting it plugged in, absolutely making it click. Otherwise, I get 66% in the morning.

These are the times that try men’s souls!

Our world is powered by electricity. Sitting between my living room and kitchen, I can see 26 things that run on electricity. Most of them plug in or are wired into the house, while a few, like that phone, have batteries. Regardless, if you cut off their power supply, they’re dead and useless.

Why do people in the church run out of juice? Why does that person who was clearly brimming with energy at 100% a year ago suddenly drag in at 66% or lower. Why do some of our people wind up completely out of energy, sitting uselessly somewhere like my old phone?

The answer, of course, is that they’ve been cut off from their power source. Like those devices we all carry around, we need to be recharged periodically. In Luke 5:16 we read of Jesus,

Yet he often withdrew to deserted places and prayed.

Not only do we find that “often” statement, but at least three other times in Luke we’re told of Jesus praying alone. If Jesus, who was fully man and fully God, needed to be recharged, how much more do we need to do so.

It’s easy in our busy lives to forget to plug ourselves in to the charger. Sometimes we might go through the motions of a plug-in, like I did with my phone last night, but not actually make the connection. That’s how we get those people sitting in our pews, bowing their heads at the right times, saying the right sort of words, and yet remaining powerless. As you look around the church for those people, make sure they aren’t you!

My phone’s nearly charged now. That’s good, but I need to ensure that my heart is just as powered up.