Today’s Readings: Psalm 143; Ezra 1:1-11; Matthew 12:15-21; 1 Corinthians 16:1-9
I often am challenged to find a depiction of Jesus that is truly satisfying for me. That’s because many of the popular depictions of Jesus don’t capture the essence of the man as I understand/experience him.
There are a cluster of images, for instance, that depict Jesus as a mighty warrior or conquering hero. There are others that show a radiant Jesus who seems incredibly aloof. Still other images show a Jesus defined by gut-wrenching pain and agony. None of these images capture the fullness of how I imagine Jesus to be.
So how do I picture Jesus?
Well, I suppose the best description I’ve stumbled across comes from today’s passage from Matthew – where the author points us toward the image spelled out in Isaiah: “… he’ll decree justice to the nations, but he won’t yell, won’t raise his voice; there’ll be no commotion in the streets. He won’t walk over anyone’s feelings, won’t push you into a corner…” (Matthew 12:18-20 from The Message). What a beautiful description to associate with Jesus!
I raise this image because I think there’s an important lesson here for all of us who consider ourselves followers of Jesus. I believe that if those qualities describe Jesus, then they ought to be evident in the lives of those who follow him as well. We ought to fight the urge to attend town hall meetings in our community and scream for all we’re worth. We ought to find other ways to take stands in ways other blocking access to public buildings or medical facilities. We ought to resist the urge to resort to name-calling when we encounter those who think/belief/worship differently than we do. In other words, we should simply act like Jesus.
Today I would encourage you to resist the tendency to simply be reactive when faced with frustrations and challenges. Instead, embrace the Christ-like ways of being put forth for us in today’s Gospel reading. Til next time…