by Tim Howard
Two verses in the New Testament always amaze me whenever I read them. The verses are found in the book of Luke chapter 15 verses 1 and 2. It says: “A lot of men and women of doubtful reputation were hanging around Jesus, listening intently to his teachings. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!”
The amazing fact is that Jesus attracted so many different types of people to Himself.
They came from every walk of life and enjoyed hanging out with Him. They didn’t necessarily agree with Him on the issues, believe in His teaching or follow His instructions but for some strange reason they liked HIM!
What was it about Jesus that attracted so many people? Was it His persona? His personality? His style? Some have suggested He was ruggedly handsome but Isaiah the prophet tells us there was nothing beautiful or majestic about His appearance – nothing that would necessarily make Him stand out and attract us to Him.
If I was to give an answer to this question – it would revolve around the word ‘Charisma’ but not as our culture defines the word.
In the Bible, charisma is more than a person’s outward persona. It is not only about his or her charm, presence, appeal or external attractiveness.
Maybe an acronym for the CHARISMA will help clarify the true meaning.
Jesus has compassion, care and concern. People were drawn to Jesus because He really cared about them. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. That cliché may be old but it’s true! Charismatic people, in our cultural way of thinking – might be charming but all to often they only care about themselves.
A lot of charismatic people give us tons of hype, but the message of Christ was based on truth and brought people a genuine hope for tomorrow.
Jesus came not to judge but to rescue people. They saw the difference between Him and the religious leaders – who were characterized by an extreme judgmental bias. Maybe that’s one reason many of those outside the faith today choose to run from religion.
Jesus didn’t speak with religious rhetoric or verbiage but acted in real power to dealt with real problems.
He understood and dealt with the root problems of mankind and focused on the heart. He changed people from the inside out.
He speaks in terms people can understand.
Humility is His trademark and that is attractive and appealing.
There is no dichotomy between what He said and what He did.
No, Jesus didn’t influence people because He was charming, knew how to work the crowd, made promises that sounded good or displayed uncanny ability to con people. He influenced people because He was full of grace and truth. This is Godly Charisma.
That’s what I want – I want to be like Jesus. I hope you do as well.