Isaiah 53:2 - For He grew up before Him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him.
Not so long ago, a friend sent me a story about a professor who taught at a large state university.
With classes being rather large and impersonal, the instructor began each semester with the students introducing themselves. The girls in the class paid special attention when one young man, whom my daughters would describe as a "hunk" stood up. He began by sharing his name. The professor noticed many of the girls wrote down the boy's name.
The lad told the name of the town where he lived. The girls wrote that down, too. The student gave other pieces of information, casually mentioning that he loved family life. The girls smiled at that one. He was simply too good to be true. The young man continued, "I guess that's because of my mother. She's a very special person. I hope to find somebody just like her, someday."
If the boy had sat down then, he could have dated every girl in the freshman class. But, he didn't sit down. He said one more thing. He said, "I hope to find somebody just like my mother. She did a great job raising 16 children."
The girls stopped writing. One after another, they crumpled up their papers.
The girls liked what they saw in that young man, but he was asking them to make a change they weren't ready to make.
That is, I imagine, how a great many people feel about Jesus.
From what I've seen, most people enjoy Him. "After all," they say, "what's not to like?" Jesus loved little children, picked them up in His arms and blessed them. Anybody that loves children can't be all bad. Some listeners can recall how Jesus was always reaching out to people who were hurting and helping others who needed healing.
Among the qualities that many people like about Jesus is the fact He didn't get carried away by the glitz and glitter of popularity. Nor did He, like many parish preachers and priests, spend a lot of time shouting about how people ought to give more money. Quite the opposite. Jesus seemed to ignore people who counted on their big-buck contributions to the church and chose to compliment a woman who put a few pennies into the collection box.
In the minds of many, Jesus is always supportive, never negative, never judgmental and, certainly, never rebuking, reprimanding, or reproaching. They like Jesus because He accepts them just the way they are.
Now our loving Lord most certainly had many of those wonderful, caring attributes we've just listed.
But if that's the only Jesus you know ... well, there's more.
Listen to these words taken from the first chapter of Mark. The evangelist wrote: "Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the Gospel of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.'" Did you get that? If not, let me shorten it up a bit: Jesus came saying to repent and believe in the Gospel.
Repentance and belief: those are the works of the Holy Spirit on our dead hearts. Both must be brought about if we are to see, believe in, and proclaim the Savior who has rescued and restored us.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant that I may always see and believe in the sacrificing Savior, the conquering Christ. May He always see in me a person with a repentant and believing heart. This I ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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