A Surprising Paradox
1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
Jesus' ministry presents us with a paradox. He is the King of Kings and yet is born into humble circumstance and lives a life of relative obscurity until he begins his public ministry. He spends most of his time with the lowly, the least, the lost. He identifies with the poor and powerless. He shuns opportunities to consolidate his power or become a part of someone else's cause. How can this be the way God will save the world?
When we look at the ministry of Jesus, he always seems to be seeking the lower ground on which to stand. The Creator looking up at the created. Jesus consistently chooses to be the position of vulnerability over the one of power. The wisdom of this approach is that those who stand in need of his help are disarmed by his humility. They are willing to trust Him because he is not a threat to them. They open their hearts to Him because he reverses the balance of power in their favor. Ironically His true power is revealed in becoming a servant.
Jesus still comes to us today looking to love us in the way we least expected. He looks into the recesses of our hearts and sees our shame. He sees the pain that lies at the root of our insecurity, greed, and calloused deeds. He looks into the invisible and undesirable areas of our lives where we are certain we cannot be loved and loves us. He looks at our faults and broken ways and sets about to mend them in a way that will not only make us whole, but give us a story of redemption to share with the world.
What do I hold in my heart that seems beyond the reach of God's love?
Father, I spend too much of my time acting as if you are bound my limitations. I try to rationalize behaviors that cannot be reconciled with your ways. I stubbornly persist in doing things that have always failed me. I struggle to trust the transforming power of your love. Soften the hard places in my heart today, Lord. Help me to abandon my shame for your deep love. Help me to embrace the paradox that in full view of my shameful deeds and darkest secrets, you love me without condition. You stand ready to forgive me and lead me away from the struggles of my past.