Friday, November 25, 2011

A Vanishing God by Frank Viola

Jesus often comes to us in unexpected ways and unexpected means.
Think about how He came to Earth. For centuries, Israel had
waited for a political Messiah. They expected Him to lead a rebellion
and free Israel from Roman oppression.

But how did the Messiah make His entrance? He came in a way
that made it easy for His own people to reject Him. He came as a frail
baby, born in a feeding room for animals. There He was. The promised
Messiah who was expected to overthrow the Roman Empire and set
Israel free from oppression. A needy Nazarene born in a manger.
When Jesus grew up, He ate and drank in their presence and taught
in their streets (Luke 13:26). Yet they didn’t recognize Him. He was
unassumingly modest. A mere craftsman; the son of a craftsman.
He grew up in the despised city of Nazareth, fraternizing with the
despised and oppressed. But more startling, He befriended sinners
(Luke 7:34). As such, the people of God didn’t recognize Him. Why?

Because He came in a way that made it easy for them to reject Him.
And what about the disciples? Read the story again. Jesus continued
to break out of their expectations. He couldn’t be pinned down, fi gured
out or boxed in. The Twelve were constantly confounded by Him. His
teachings were offensive. His actions scandalous. His reactions baffl ing.
But the greatest offense of all was the cross. It offended everyone—
both Jew and Gentile. The only crown the promised Messiah-King would
accept was a crown of thorns. Look at Him again. A suffering Messiah, a
defeated King. It’s easy to reject Him.

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