Christians have many different mental pictures of what Jesus is like, but only the true Jesus of Scripture is worthy of our devotion. It is possible that the mental picture we have of Jesus is one of our own creation, a Jesus we have created in our image to serve our desires and needs. When I was a student in university, I went door-to-door selling very large, religious prints of Jesus to make a little extra money. Whatever your idea of Jesus, I had a picture of Jesus just for you. I sold Jesus the gentle shepherd, Jesus watching over the children, Jesus knocking at the door of our hearts, and Jesus with the sacred heart.
After a while, I became embarrassed about what I was doing and stopped peddling pictures of Jesus.
Our focus should be Jesus - but much more than a picture of who we think Jesus should be. Not the Jesus of the pictures I peddled. The real Jesus.
Jesus is more than a great religious leader. In fact, Jesus did not come to start a new religion - he came to fulfill the ideals of every religion and the longings of every human heart. Jesus is for anyone who will follow Him on His terms.
Jesus is the greatest hero of history. He is the symbol and reality of sacrificial service to others. He is the smiling, laughing friend of children, and the serious consultant of leaders in every religion, drawing them from dependence on their good deeds to find Him as the source of all goodness.
How do we know the real Jesus?
We read His words, listen to the stories He told, study His actions, and then allow what we hear and see to seep down into the deepest places of our hearts. Allow Him to challenge the status quo of our already accepted ideas, and then to challenge and change our views of people, religions, enemies, and difficult neighbors.
Just Jesus. Do it for a time. Lay aside your already set ideas of the truth, and allow Jesus to be your truth. Let Him lead you to new understanding and appreciation for who He is.