Playful, cunning, generous, fierce—not one moment of it is contrived. Jesus never plays to the audience, never kowtows to the opposition, never takes his cues from the circus around him. He is simply being himself.

The diversity of Jesus’ actions, timing, manner, words, dare we say moods; his sudden changes of direction, then his stillness—it’s hard to keep up with. It certainly is colorful, but almost dizzying, like a Byzantine mosaic, alive and shifting like the northern lights. Dazzling, but nearly to the point of leaving us confused. As soon as we’ve grabbed on to one dimension of Jesus—his generosity, his compassion, his honesty—he seems to turn it on its head, or us on ours.

Perhaps the Gospel stories seem dizzying only because we’ve never seen anyone act like this before. Maybe what we are witnessing is actually one single quality, not many. Maybe Jesus is simply being true.

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