Evidently he got into trouble when he was twelve, wandering from his family in a big city. They didn’t find him for three days?! There he was, daring to sit among the scholars in the temple, daring to ask questions, to converse with these leaders. He got a good scolding. It seems he lived a quiet life for the next decade or so. But once he got started on his special calling, he lived dangerously.
Think about it. He made a point of touching lepers, people made ugly by their disease. Everyone else thought you would get sick if you touched lepers. He had a habit of making friends with unsavory characters like Matthew, a tax collector. Then he went over to dinner with Matthew, and a whole group of his unsavory friends, more tax collectors. Earlier he had gone to a revival meeting and walked down into the water to be baptized by his cousin, John. It didn’t make sense to John. Jesus appearing like any other sinner needing cleansing?
O, yes, there was that time when he made a friend of the woman who was about to be stoned for being caught in adultery. Pretty risky, if you ask me, to stand up in public for someone others despised. How would he ever be successful in life when he does such things? Then there was that other woman at a well in Samaria. He was alone with a woman who had a reputation for loose living. He even asked her for a drink and struck up a conversation. Something that could easily be misunderstood. His disciples certainly saw it that way. When they came upon the two, they were surprised. They almost asked, “Why are you talking to her?”
There was that notorious time he got upset in church (the temple) and turned over the tables. He chased out the animals that were for sale. He made a lot of enemies that day, for sure! The sellers were connected with the big shots of the temple who had a stake in good sales, a brisk economy right at their doorstep. On occasion, he did take steps to avoid getting arrested. He seems to have slipped out of Jerusalem when things got too hot a couple times. But he always headed back for more confrontation, even teaching revolutionary things right at the temple. He also got in trouble when he went to the synagogue in Nazareth where everybody knew him. He upset them with his remarks about the Bible that day, too. They practically chased him out of town. He didn’t seem surprised. He took the chance, delivering a message to an unappreciative audience. Perhaps he thought at least a few would remember it and take it to heart.
He was always taking chances, being around sick people, people with problems, sinners, and people others hated. On his last trip through Jericho, he went to have dinner with Zacchaeus, a well-known district manager in the Roman tax system. Jesus just didn’t seem to care about protecting his own reputation. It seems he was always doing these things because he wanted to help people, that he was practicing unconditional love. He did it so well.
And he always dared to stand up for the truth against whatever powerful people were bruised by his public comments. He made enemies. I think he had hopes that even some of those, like Nicodemus, would have their hearts changed for good.
Jesus lived a risky life. So if he made a habit of taking chances to bless others, even the least attractive, the least respected, the ones who were poor and dirty, the ones who could react and hurt him, why don’t I do that, too?