Friday, 29 May 2009

Misleading Pictures

"More modern ideas present Jesus in a different way. He is the champion of the vagrants, the leader of reactionaries. This too is misleading. Jesus did not come with a social gospel. He was not a superstar. He came to show people a better way.

It is his strength of purpose more than his physique or his manner that we should admire. It is the fortitude with which he met scorn and ridicule. It is the way in which, unflinchingly, he faced the cross. The prophets had foretold his suffering. Yet his determination never wavered.

Even quite early in his ministry, Jesus had experienced rejection. He had visited Nazareth. At first he had received an enthusiastic reception. People had heard of his teaching and miracles. Men like to be associated with a hero. They welcomed him and pressed home the fact that he had grown up in their town.

As Jesus began to talk, they were pleasantly surprised by his words. When, however, he began to say that they would be unwilling to receive his teaching, they changed. They quickly became opposed. When he showed that God had turned to the Gentiles in the past, they became angry.

Jesus said that they would use a proverb against him. It was "Physician, heal yourself!". They led him out to the top of the hill on which Nazareth was built. They had intended to throw him over as they did with criminals. Jesus, however, escaped. His words were prophetic though. At the cross they threw those words back at him. "He saved others; himself he cannot save." In effect they were repeating the proverb, Saviour, save thyself.

Despite the experience of Nazareth, Jesus did not turn away from Jerusalem. Luke's gospel shows that he "steadfastly set his face" to go there. It is this courage and determination that makes the picture of a pale and sickly figure so unsuitable. It is his isolation from the crowd that makes the idea of a hero of the masses so untrue.

Yet there was much more to the Lord than strong resolution only. People came to him with different needs. Whatever their need was, it was met and answered in Jesus. No-one ever came to the Lord and found him too busy. None was ever asked to make an appointment or turned away."
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Brother John S. Roberts
The Bible, the Lord Jesus and You