December 30th – “What Does God Look Like?”


Has it ever struck you as unusual that the writers of the Gospels, and those who know Jesus of Nazareth well, never took time to tell us what he looked like? I suppose it doesn’t matter because it’s not the outward appearance that counts but who and what a person is.On this the New Testament has such a lot to say. But I also feel that it does paint a word picture which cuts across our own imaginary pictures of Jesus.
Being an Englishman I see him (as do many Anglo-Saxons) as with golden hair and blue eyes. But black Africans picture him as a negro – Chinese see him as one of them. Indeed, we all tend to picture him as one of us. But look at the New Testament, and see a young, strong, vigorous man. Jewish, of course, and middle-Eastern, therefore olive-skinned, and truly Semetic. This was no sissy. He was a real man – climbing high mountains (Mount Hermon is 9000 feet high), living rough when necessary; as he said, he often had no where to sleep.Powerful enough to endure a Roman scourging which ripped the skin and flesh off the back, and killed most of its victims.Then to drag a huge cross to the place of execution It could not be done by a weakling. When he was helped in carrying the cross, it was probably because the procession was going too slowly. His voice could rivet 5000 or more spell-bound, enough for them even to forget their dinner. His teaching was a revolution: his courage, monumental: his tenderness, endless. See him thronged by an angry crowd outside the synagogue parapet in Nazareth – and holding up his hand saying “Enough”, and striding away through their midst. His sense of humour was sparkling – ever thought about his similes? – about camels and needles eyes, and pompous men straining a sandfly out of their drink and then not noticing that they were swallowing a camel, hooves, humps and all.
He was passionate – see him driving enraged, street-wise traders out of the Temple Court – “This is a house of prayer not a market place”. See him sensitive to women; hugging children; sensitive also to the disabled, leading them apart from the sensation-seeking gazes before bringing them healing.
The Bible picture of Jesus is sharp and clear, and yet deeper than any words. In any case, listen to the Bible on judging by looks: I Samuel Chapter 16 v.7:
But the Lord said to Samuel: “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
A Prayer:
Father, we marvel at the revelation of yourself in Jesus. The Almighty who is vulnerable; the all glorious who is humble; the all-knowing who is innocent; the ever-present who is unobtrusive; the sought-after who seeks us; the centre of all, who is selfless. We worship and wonder in adoration.

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Thought 4 The Day

Our salvation depends not on our love for God but His love for us, not our commitment to him but his pledge to us,
not our hold on him but his grasp of us. (Anon)

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