Contemplating Jesus


Posted on by Lucinda M. Vardey

Jesus’ birth in poverty not only established his future but created the foundation on which he was to serve.

From the start, his arrival was heralded by the angels and proclaimed to the shepherds as bringing joy to the world. This joy was not something that could be grasped, or even discovered, it was instead a gift from God.

The star that guided foreign kings to come and worship him with earthly treasures – gold, frankincense and myrrh – promised much more than the world could imagine. That kings in their wisdom would bow down at a vulnerable newborn in a rough stable, indicated their acknowledgement of a radical new reign, not of an imperialism that divided people but of a nobility that united them. Indicating such a reign, Jesus avoided being crowned a king in worldly terms throughout his public ministry,

He came among the people to serve them, he walked from town to town healing the sick and tormented having nowhere to call his earthly home because he repeatedly claimed that his was a kingdom not of this world. He wandered in and out of synagogues to prophecy and teach, that the time of peace and hope was being revealed, and the time of love had arrived.

Jesus reminded his followers that what we hold true in our earthly existence in fact is limited, and in many ways false to the ways of God. He upset the status quo, disrupted the established order of oppression, welcomed the despised, and reached out to the lost. He questioned the prevailing assumptions, he taught with narratives from nature, of forgiveness, of the way to reach inner freedom. He turned the other cheek on violence, he never defended, competed or rewarded. Instead he spoke like no other and befuddled those who thought they knew God. Come follow me he said, and some did and many didn’t.

He called himself Son of Man, not Son of God, or Messiah or any other official title. He was here to serve humanity, not to overthrow or superimpose. He taught that when threatened, or overcome with fear, to tie an apron around your waist, bend down with a pail of water and wash others’ feet. To not let cultural customs or habits dictate your heart, but your heart to be expressed in them.

And he assured that a troubled heart can only find its strength in peace and healing through him alone. He came to show us that to serve brings joy, and he promised us that that joy lasts forever.

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