There was never a man quite like this. He had a magnetism that drew attention. He had personal power but was humble and kind to people who needed mercy. Yet he antagonized the establishment -- those elite privileged leaders who didn't want anyone to rock their boat.
The entrenched power players hated him. Why? Because he was not afraid of them. He didn't need their approval, nor did he want their money. Instead he appealed to common people. The outcasts, the despised, the disenfranchised, the working class who felt oppressed -- they all loved him. He was for a season a bright and shining light, a beacon of hope, the talk of the town. Then, they crucified him.
Jesus was full of surprises. He was never pretentious but approachable. When he became the object of vicious libel attacks, he didn't run away. When their legal system became politicized with mob invectives, he yielded to the injustice. He was willingly led away like a lamb to the slaughter. The greatest of surprises was that he came back from the dead. Doom, gloom, defeat, then ... Surprise! This humiliation, then resurrection, happened later than expected, on the third day. The Bible says in Romans that he was brought up from the grave by the power of a person, someone known as the Spirit of Holiness. This is the only instance in the Bible when the Holy Spirit is called this.
Jesus was fully vindicated by his Father. In fact, the Father had already spoken about him, saying, "This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!"
I can't help but be amazed at how Jesus condescended to the lowly yet was deserving to sit in regal attire on a throne. Not just any throne, but the throne above all thrones everywhere. Yet he mingled with sinners and even took their (our) punishment on the cross. That explains why the exorbitant price was paid due to God's great love for us. It required a payment in blood for our sins to be atoned for. Not just any blood, but that of someone without sin, a spotless lamb who was sacrificed for the sins of the world.
That also explains why Jesus affiliated with ordinary people who had no religious background, who were rejected by the strict religionists of their day. He sat and talked with commoners and sinners. He was in their homes. He ate with them and drank wine with them. He was loved by poor people. He touched and healed lepers. He spoke with and forgave prostitutes.
My wife and I have friends who own a bar and restaurant, Maxine's in Fayetteville. After my wife was hospitalized for knee surgery a year ago and we were back home in Fayetteville, this friend brought us a meal. Not just any meal, but the best and most expensive item on their menu. It was so heartwarmingly delicious! We felt love coming from this couple, genuine kindness. During the covid-19 pandemic, this couple struggled so very much due to seating restrictions and shortened bar hours. Their business was teetering on the brink of never recovering. When they could, they fixed free meals from their freezer for their laid off staff.
If Jesus was still on earth today, I think he would sit in their bar. I think he would show mercy to those who were hurting. I think he would display his Father's great love and the riches of his own deep grace. Jesus would sit and drink with friends at a pub called Maxine's.
-- Ron Wood is a retired pastor and author. Contact him at [email protected] or visit www.touchedbygrace.org or follow him on Facebook @touchedbygracenwa. The opinions expressed are those of the author.