Tuesday, November 15, 2005

#20 Just Like Our Christ

Just Like Our Christ
#20 November 15, 2005

"God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him." (1 Corinthians 1: 27-29)

Mahatma Gandhi,a man viewed as the father of the nation of India once said, "You Christians are so unlike your Christ." I would take offense to that statement if it weren't so true.

What is our Christ like? The only way to find out is to search the Scriptures and hear the voices of those who have gone before you testifying to their experience with Jesus.

Listen to Peter the foul-mouthed fisherman tell you how Jesus called him from his boat. He wasn't rich. He wasn't even clean after a long day of casting nets and handling fish. When Jesus called him He already knew that twice Peter would falter in his faith and look away from Him - once walking on a night sea and again denying Him on the night He was arrested. He would even have the gall to rebuke Jesus and try to dissuade Him from fulfilling His mission here on earth. He had a temper, cutting off an enemy's ear. Jesus knew all of this - He chose him anyway. Foolishness? Or just like our Christ?

Listen to the sinful woman of Luke, Chapter 7, tell you how much courage she had to muster to go into that dinner Jesus was having with a group of Pharisees. They knew who she was. They knew what she did for a living. Some of them had even been with her. But she knew that this man was different. She had saved for a long time to buy this expensive perfume. Her broken alabaster box and poured out perfume symbolized her broken life and poured out sorrow - and she found real love and forgiveness. She ignored the degrading remarks of the men in the room. Her focus was on Jesus. And guess what? His focus was on her! When she heard Him defend her to the others, her sense of worth and value came back. This man loved her, sins and all - He forgave her. She could go on. Sin met the Savior that night. Foolishness? Or just like our Christ?

Jesus was leaving the city with a large crowd when He heard the cries of blind Bartimaeus. He was a beggar sitting by the roadside, no doubt passed by, jeered at and shunned by those who saw him. He screamed, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me." (Mark 10:47). People told him to be quiet. It just wasn't proper to cry out like that. But he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me." Jesus stopped. He was busy. He was surrounded by a large crowd. This was one man. A beggar at that! But Jesus stopped. This man, blind, begging, insignificant and dispensable in the world's eyes stopped the Son of God in His tracks. Foolishness? Or just like our Christ?

The Samaritan woman wants to tell you about a man who told her everything she ever did. (John 4:29) In spite of the fact that He was tired and hungry, He took the time to explain things to a somewhat unseemly lady by a well. She had been married five times and was now living with a man who was not her husband. He told her the truth about Himself. He offered her a spring of water welling up to eternal life. Another sinner, another woman who needed a Savior. Instead of giving her condemnation, He gave her a gift. Foolishness? Or just like our Christ?

And how embarrassing was it to be dragged out of the bed, sheets and all? Caught in the act of adultery and made to stand before a whole group of men and Jesus. Why were all of these men at the scene of the crime anyway? Perhaps they were waiting in line! To make matters worse they were using her to trap this Man so that they could accuse Him of not following the Law of Moses. Here is where Jesus makes the most important statement of all-it is still a statement He makes to us today. "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7) She tells you that the silence was deafening. And Jesus was doodling on the ground. After a while only two were left - the Sinner and the Savior. Jesus was the only one fit to cast the stone - He was sinless. But He would rather see her saved and delivered from her life of sin than adhere to a religious rule or program. Foolishness? Or just like our Christ?

Many call out to you from the pages of your Bible. Matthew, the dishonest tax collector. Lepers. Demon-possessed men. Paralytics. The blind. The deaf. Rich. Poor. Little Zaccheus, the extortioner. A thief on a cross. All who had an encounter with the One who was never too busy. The one who never looked down on them. The One who made Himself nothing (Philippians 2:7) and paid attention to the "nothings" of this world. He was not impressed with the rich, the learned, the self-righteous. Those who were the most sinful, the most broken, the most in need - those were the people who captured our Christ's attention. Those who were on the side of the road acting undignified. These made Him stop.

Who along life's road are you passing by? Who do you stop for? Who do you seek out? Never be fooled by the "nothings" of the world. They are closer to the heart of Christ than those who are self-assured, complacent and viewed as "something".

Foolishness? I don't care! I want to be just like my Christ!

Until next week,

Donna Schultz

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