Saturday, January 7, 2023

Free To Be You

As he was saying these things, a certain woman in the crowd lifted up her voice and said to him,

“Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts which you nursed!”

Luke 11:27

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world.”

Therefore the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness of yourself; your witness is not true!”

Jesus answered them, “Even if I bear witness of myself, my witness is true.

I am one who bears witness of myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness of me.”

Then they began to say to him, “Where is your father?”

Jesus answered, “You don’t know me or my Father; if you had known me,

you would have known my Father, too.”

Then they said, “Who are you?”

And Jesus said to them, “Even what I said to you from the beginning.”

John 8, excerpts

Sometimes, such as during the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ preaching was so astonishing that his disciples were spellbound, unable to speak.  Most other times, however, his followers felt perfectly free to interrupt Jesus with questions or comments.  That tells us that Jesus made people feel relaxed and engaged, for he was down-to-earth and personable; he participated in no staged events.

Jesus was also interrupted at times by his enemies, which means they were not intimidated by him.  This was God’s doing, not theirs.  God did not want anyone in Israel to be intimidated by their Messiah, and to this end, He gave Jesus a body that was unattractive and gifted him with no stylish form.  Isaiah said, “He will have no form or majesty, and when we see him, there will be no beauty that we should desire him” (Isa. 53:2b).  Consequently, “He was despised and rejected by men, . . . and we did not value him” (Isa. 53:4).

If anyone loved Jesus, it was not for his looks or smooth style.  It was because of what they felt when they were around him.  And if anyone spurned Jesus, or forsook him, it was for the same reason: his unpretentious righteousness made them feel something they did not want to feel.  Jesus was the same Jesus everywhere he went, the Jesus that God had made him, but human reactions to him differed.  For some souls, Jesus was easy to love, and for others, he was easy to hate, and it all depended on the condition of their hearts.

God designed it that way.  He is a wise God, and in His wisdom, He set everyone in Israel, both sinner and saint, completely free to be themselves.  And He still does.