Warning: Satire ahead. Proceed with a sense of humor.
Life’s better when it’s lived my way. Customization is the key to happiness, right? Why else would Disney+ give me the option to add Hulu and ESPN (that’s a no from me, dawg), my workplace offer flexibility (can I switch to WFH permanently? PJs stand for “productivity jammies”) and why the barista at Starbucks gives a dead-inside-smile and nod when I order an iced espresso, 10 shot, venti, with almond milk, 5 pump vanilla, 7 pump caramel, 4 Splenda, poured (not shaken), upside down frappuccino?
With the power of customization, it’s gotten me thinking: shouldn’t Jesus be like that? (Let’s be honest, the Big Guy could use some marketing help, am I right?). The Bible contains 4 accounts of Jesus’ life, each written from a different angle or perspective. Have you ever read the same book 4 times? No, you have not. BOOOORING. So why read 4 different perspectives on the same guy’s life? Let’s be serious, you’ve got Moon Knight and TikTok cat videos to catch up on.
The Bible’s four accounts of the life of Jesus are called Gospels. Each one is not-so-creatively named after its writer. Here’s a quick snapshot, so we’re all starting from the same place.
- Matthew, a guy who actually spent time with Jesus, writes his account primarily for (and from) a Jewish perspective. He emphasizes the teachings of Jesus and presents Him as the fulfillment of ancient prophecies in the Old Testament. If Matthew wrote The Matrix, Jesus would be Neo.
- Mark, a young guy who collected the stories of Jesus from first-hand witnesses, penned the shortest account of Jesus’ life. It’s punchy and full of action—Jesus did this, then he did this, then he did this. Think of it as the Christ CliffsNotes.
- Luke was a doctor, who put his detail oriented brain to work at crafting an orderly account of the life of Jesus. A Gentile himself, Luke wrote his gospel for a non-Jewish audience, presenting Jesus as a Savior for all, detailing his interactions with marginalized people groups, and focusing on his parables. The longest book in the New Testament, it’s Zack Snyder’s Justice League for Jesus people.
- Finally there’s John, an original disciple who considered himself Jesus’ best friend. The most unique of the gospels, John focuses his attention on the divinity of Jesus by detailing miracles, signs, and statements Jesus made about Himself. It’s like a celebrity tell-all written by someone who was there… but with 100% less destructive behavior.
Of course, across the four books, you’ll find plenty of overlap, with many of the same miracles, stories, and parables repeated. But with the specific angle of each Gospel writer coming through in their work, each one stands on its own. Which is where this completely-scientifically-accurate, we-didn’t-make-this-up-at-all, Buzzfeed style quiz comes in. It’s meant to save you the precious time and brain space that would otherwise be occupied by reading 4 books about the same dude. You’re welcome.
The power of customization means you can finally have your own, personal, Jesus. One that already believes all the things you do, doesn’t push too hard, and won’t expect much in return. Because what we all need, more than a Savior, is a Snuggie. Find yours below.
RULES: Don’t act like you need rules for an Internet quiz. Seriously. You’ve done this before. There’s no shame in liking these. Read the prompts. Choose an answer. Unquestioningly accept the results. LIKE AND SUBSCRIBE!
1) You’re in a meeting with people you’ve never met before. The presenter asks each person to share their name and one interesting fact about themselves. The guy sitting beside you says “Hey! My name is Jonas, and I’m pretty sure Jesus likes me best of all.” How do you respond?
(a) Your mind immediately thinks of no-less than 4 different scriptures to refute what he just said.
(b) On your turn, you stand, point to the guy beside you, and sing at the top of your lungs: “HIS NAME IS JONAS, HE’S CARRYING THE WHEEL!” Meeting isn’t boring anymore.
(c) Smile smugly to yourself. You spent last night feeding homeless families at a soup kitchen. Jonas has no idea what he’s talking about.
(d) You are Jonas.
2) Which meme would you repost?
3) Your ideal vacation spot…
(a) Visiting sites of historical significance, then hitting the bookstore after.
(b) The heart of a big city, where we can bounce from one thing to another around the clock.
(c) Overseas, where you can experience a new culture first-hand.
(d) A secluded mountain cabin with no WiFi, just lots of quality time. Wanna play Clue… again?
4) When you think of Jesus, what song plays in your head?
(a) The Messiah — George Fredich Handel
(b) The 57-second theme song from The Chosen
(c) Bob Marley’s justice songs, but not the pot ones (unless you’re in Colorado)
(d) We’re Going to Be Friends — The White Stripes
5) When you pray…
(a) You’re drawn to liturgical prayers that have been used by followers of Jesus for centuries like the Lord’s Prayer (You know, the “Our Father, who art in Heaven” one…”)
(b) You pray in bite-sized Tweets.
(c) You find yourself praying about the hurts and needs of others.
(d) You ask “Daddy God” for miracles… a million little miracles on miracles.
6) The last Bible you opened was…
7) Which Avenger is your favorite?
(a) Captain America - solid backstory, rule follower, defender of all that is good.
(b) Black Widow - only one stand alone movie, lots of explosions.
(c) Ms. Marvel - Pakistani-American tweenager living in New Jersey and struggling to fit in, until she gets superpowers of her own (cue Disney logo).
(d) Thor - Cosmic superpowers, weirdly fond of earth and a gal named Jane.
8) You’ve been accused of being…
(a) Aloof and unapproachable
(b) Too-busy and stretched-thin
(c) A bleeding heart softie
(d) Overly emotional and too opinionated
9) You’re walking alone in the woods, when you turn a corner and bump into Jesus—in the flesh. He’s out taking a stroll like you. What do you do next?
(a) Ask Him the answer to a theological question… oh, I don’t know, something like predestination vs. free will.
(b) Seriously, if you don’t get the point, I’m going back to YouTube videos.
(c) Ask Him the answer to a long list of social ills: inequality, hunger, houselessness, the education gap, pollution…
(d) Ask Him if He wants to quit the trail and go grab a burger at your favorite spot.
10) Which Hogwarts house do you most identify with?
(b) Last chance, or I’m out. (PS: The wizarding world isn’t real. Please grow up.)
You did it! (I know it was difficult, perpetual-letter-B-picker, way to stick it out.) Go back through your answers, find the letter you chose most often, and get your customized Jesus experience below.
If you answered mostly A: Matthew is the gospel for you! You’re a rule follower. You like to tax your brain on deep dives. You care about history and context, and have never cowered before a Greek-English dictionary. Stick with Matthew to scratch your intellectual itch, and definitely stay away from Luke (his focus on actually doing something with the knowledge you’ve gained will rub you the wrong way) and John (emotions are scary, shut ‘em down like Spock).
If you answered mostly B: Are you still here? Wow, gotta say, I’m a little surprised. You can jump straight to Mark—it’s the summer blockbuster of the gospels. You’ll never find yourself bored as you bop around with Jesus from a teaching, to a miracle, to a clash with the religious leaders and back again. Skip Matthew, because trying to understand the importance of Jesus’ Jewish heritage or how He fits into the first half of the Bible is a real snooze fest. And don’t even think about Luke, he’s a real Tolkien—just get to the point, man! You might like John, but keep it secret, or you’ll be accused of being soft.
If you answered mostly C: You’ll find your culturally active, injustice-fighting Jesus in the book of Luke. You’ll thrill with the unpredictable Messiah who turns over tables in the temple, heals a Roman Centurion’s servant, and stops a woman’s bleeding condition. You’ll find inspiration to get back to your protest/picket line/letter writing campaign/political rally in the depth of His parables. Be sure to avoid Matthew, lest you be tempted to slow down and think about the theological side of faith. And you don’t even want to mess with John, Jesus talks too much about himself there—this is all about you, remember?
If you answered mostly D: Last, but certainly not least (because you’re a special, unique, and dearly loved individual who’d never get lost in a crowd), John is your book. Get a full tank of the touchy-feelies as you read about Jesus’ miracles and search for His 7 “I Am” statements detailing his divinity. You’ll run into a few moments when John refers to himself as “the disciple Jesus loved”… but he’s dead now, so that’s a vacancy for you to fill. Don’t read Luke, or you might have to get your fingernails dirty doing something about the problems of the world. And whatever you do, skip Mark, the guy clearly didn’t have access to an emotions chart.
That’s it! Dust off your Bible, or download an app, and enjoy discovering the one-sided caricature of Jesus that most fits into your already established worldview. As for me, I’m pretty tired after all this hard work. I think I’ll start my fourth watch-thru of The Office. Now there’s something with some repeatability.
Author’s note: To be abundantly clear, so I’m not tarred and feathered in a tweetstorm later, here’s what I’ve tried to say in this article, with the satire filter removed. (1) We’re all guilty (me too) of creating a false image of Jesus that we’re most comfortable with. (2) God inspired the four accounts of Jesus’ life in the Bible. And to really know Jesus, you need to read (and re-read) them all. (3) Jesus is incredibly kind… AND if He never says/does anything that pushes your buttons, something’s amiss. (4) Reading scripture is never in vain. More than any other habit, it’s changed my life, and I believe it can change yours.