The Eye RollProject
The Eye Roll Project
I know the Bible says that Jesus came “in the fullness of time” or at exactly the right time. I’ve seen the Bible studies that show the communication and transportation within the Roman Empire at the time of his coming was exactly right for the spread of the Christian message. I get it; I have no complaint.
But I have to admit that there are times that I wish He came during the cell phone camera era. It would be really cool if we had videos of everything he did, recording every word he said. I’d even put up with a million selfies of “me and Jesus” showing up on Facebook pages if I had to.
I am not hung up on what Jesus actually looked like or even whether the Bible accurately records his words. What I’d really like to know is did he ever roll his eyes at the stupid things people, particularly his disciples, said to him? Did the answers he gave frequently follow a big sigh and a resigned slump of his shoulders?
Some years ago author Phillip Yancey called our image of Jesus a “Prozac Jesus.” He says we have an image of a calm and unemotional Jesus moving serenely through life unaffected by the turmoil around him; floating above it on a sea of spiritual peace. All his statements and answers, or most of them anyway, come across as calm and reasoned; anger being the only occasional exception. Cell phone video would be able to confirm or deny that.
I suspect, as I am sure Yancey did, that this was not so. I’ve been doing an off and on run through the Gospels trying to determine when it might be that Jesus was looking at those around him as if they had two heads even as he patiently gave answers. Since I don’t have any video I know this search is subjective. I’ve often wished I could convene a group of “Bible scholars” and we could go through the saying of Jesus and vote on the likelihood that he was rolling his eyes as he spoke.
This “Eye Roll Project” would not be like that other project decades ago where a group of hand-picked scholars got together and voted whether everything he said and did was real or fiction; I am comfortable in basing the project on what Jesus is recorded as saying. I’d just like to see who agrees with me that some of the stuff coming his way clearly seems to be something that would drive him crazy.
For example, in Matthew 20:18-19 Jesus, while on the way to Jerusalem, predicts that he will be mocked, flogged and crucified and then raised from the dead. The reaction? The disciples immediately launch into a rip roaring dispute about the seating arrangement in his kingdom. I guess they wanted to get that detail nailed down before it was too late. If I was using a 1-10 scale, I’d give that a “10” on the likelihood of a Jesus eye roll as he answered.
But there are so many others. How about the flack he took for healing on the Sabbath? Or when the rich young ruler wanted exact details on how much he needed to do to get into heaven? Or when they ran out of wine at the wedding in Cana and came to him for more?
If there was one pattern I’d use for the Eye Roll Project it would be how often he had to give spirit-of-the-law answers to letter-of-the-law questions. When questioned about the details of a divorce policy he affirmed that care for the woman being divorced, a virtual death sentence in that culture, was more important than meeting some legal standard. This study would not be just a way of determining what are the stupidest things Jesus had to deal with; it is a pondering of the mercy and grace of our Savior.
Which leads me to the main question – how often do I, in what I say, how I act, or even how I stay silent, cause Jesus to roll his eyes? I suspect a lot more than I’d like to believe. But the good news is that in all his interactions Jesus was relentless in love and grace – even in his forgiveness granted to those who hung him on the cross. Even in his forgiveness granted to me.