"There was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him, nor appearance that would attract us to him. He was spurned and avoided by people, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, one of those from whom people hide their faces, spurned, and we held him in no esteem." Is 53: 2-3
Often we think of Jesus as a hero, and artists portray him as the perfect Western man. Handsome and rugged, tall and muscular with freshly washed hair and a neatly trimmed beard, the Lord looks more like James Bond than a middle eastern peasant. Of course, because so many of us need a hero, we accept these portrayals easily. It feels better to have a hero than a savior.
But Jesus is no ordinary hero. He will not triumph over the Romans and be like Moses leading the Jewish people to safety and the promised land. Neither will he slay his enemies and stand atop the mountain surveying all he has conquered. Rather, he will, as Isaiah reminds us, be someone from whom people will hide their faces and turn away. His message is too harsh, too difficult.
Jesus' meaning was clear. We must die to ourselves for the glory of God and to lift up those with no voice or power. Though this is Good News for the underclass, it is threatening and frightening to any of us with unearned power or inherited wealth. Money and power are to be used for the good of all, not simply to enhance one's own position.
Today, as we pause to remember Christ's suffering and death, take some extra time for quiet gratitude and reflection.
How do you hear Jesus' freeing message of Good News?