Imagine a king who looked at an ordinary peasant, and saw extraordinary potential.
Imagine a king who looked at a misfit, and saw possibility.
Imagine a king who looked at a sinner and called him “friend.”
That’s our King – Christ Jesus. In the Upside-Down Kingdom of Christ, being “ordinary” is anything but.
This profound truth of our faith bowls me over. And it dropped me to my knees again this week while reading Chapter 9 of “The Story of God, The Story of Us.”
In this chapter, entitled “Christ,” I was moved deeply by the reminder of Jesus’ love for ordinary, sinful me. And I was reminded again of this truth: God comes to us as we are, but He promises to never leave us that way.
Truthfully, I had all kinds of emotions swirling inside of me as I read this chapter. Since we started this book, I’ve been anticipating this chapter, the “Christ” chapter. I couldn’t wait!
And now that we’re here, I’m … speechless. I thought of emailing the Bible Dude this week – our gracious host for this group-blogging project this week — and asking him if I could quietly bow out. I thought about writing the author, Sean Gladding, and apologizing. I mean, what can a person say in response to this?
Perhaps this is a start: “King Jesus, Thank you.”
Throughout Chapter 9, I was reminded of the surprising, unpredictable ways of Christ.
First of all, our narrator is a woman. A woman! Jesus saw great value in women, at a time when many men treated them as second-class citizens.
And we’re reminded that our King came from a family tree with a few “bad apples.” If there ever was a King with some generational baggage, Jesus was the one. By the world’s standards, he would have been labeled a “loser” – destined for failure well before his unmarried, teenage mother had her first labor pains. His dysfunctional family included a prostitute and a string of liars and cheaters.
Eight days after his birth, Simeon and Anna recognized him as the Messiah, while most of the religious leaders stood cloud-gazing. Our story’s narrator puts it this way: “They were – and still are – waiting for the Shekinah glory to return to the Temple. Yet when God’s glory did indeed return, in the person of this eight-day-old baby, only an old man and an old woman … recognized it.”
But there’s more. When this King grew up, he didn’t choose the brightest students as his disciples. He picked ordinary people like fishermen.
Gladding writes: “Jesus was always hanging out with the wrong people, and seemed to spend much of his time breaking bread in the wrong homes.”
So what does all of that mean for an ordinary girl like me?
It means I have extraordinary value to my King. I have so much worth that Jesus was willing to go to the cross for me. But that’s Chapter 10, entitled “Cross.”
As for me? I’m still stuck here in Chapter 9, just humbled and in awe over a King who came to Earth for me, a sinner.
I have to agree with you Jennifer – I am in awe. I continue to be in awe as I hear story after story of “ordinary people” who have been changed by Christ. Jesus shows us so much about the character of God – and lives me almost speechless.
Thank you for your reflection on this chapter – very well stated.
The picture fits perfectly with your post.
Thank you God for seeing this misfit, and calling me friend.
Oh and ps, I forgot how much I liked BibleDude. Thanks pointing me this way.
just read this yesterday in my quiet time and really focused on the fact that they recognized Him as the Messiah. It blew me away.
This sounds like an amazing chapter, Jennifer. Dealing with a little generational baggage myself lately :). Seeing it in this light warms me through and through. Thanks for sharing these words today.
This theme keeps popping up in my world these days! The whole idea of regular, ordinary, broken people filling up the branches on Jesus’ family tree. It is definitely an awesome notion!
Finally, got caught up to this chapter… Whew…
There’s an awful lot here, hard to pack it into a post or a comment. So I stick just to this: the challenge of recognizing Him as the Christ. Most didn’t see the Messiah when they saw Jesus. He wasn’t what they were expecting. They were “cloud gazing” as you say, waiting for Him to show up in the way they thought He should, being who they wanted Him to be.
And yet who did recognize Him? Guys like Simeon — because he spent his whole life waiting for that one thing. Guys like a blind man on the road who just cries out for mercy even when he’s told to shut up — because he’s desperate like that. Women like the one He healed on the Sabbath — because she has no other hope.
Those other folks, they didn’t see Him because they weren’t hungry enough, wounded enough, untouchable enough, to be desperate.