Sunday, November 15, 2009
He was the glorious Son of God in mufti. I can remember Phillip Keller using words to this effect in his noteworthy book "A Layman Looks at the Lamb of God". This is an excellent book on the entirety of the Bible theme of the sacrificial lamb. It may be just the right size to impact the "busy" man or woman.
The words "in mufti" suggest an officer out of uniform and in civilan clothes, or some sort of disguise. It had particular reference to certain Muslim leaders or judges. One who comes so unadorned may be ignored by the popular throng who look for the indicia of success, wealth and public renown. Uniforms often raise the inference of such credit. We assume the best in the adorned one, the decorated one, the one who is heralded in the street.
But with such trappings removed will the intrinsic worth of the man make itself known? Hear the words of Isaiah in chapter 42 concerning Jesus:
1Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
2He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
3A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
4He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.
Eugene Peterson gives an interesting turn to this in The Message:
1-4 "Take a good look at my servant.
I'm backing him to the hilt.
He's the one I chose,
and I couldn't be more pleased with him.
I've bathed him with my Spirit, my life.
He'll set everything right among the nations.
He won't call attention to what he does
with loud speeches or gaudy parades.
He won't brush aside the bruised and the hurt
and he won't disregard the small and insignificant,
but he'll steadily and firmly set things right.
He won't tire out and quit. He won't be stopped
until he's finished his work—to set things right on earth.
Far-flung ocean islands
wait expectantly for his teaching."
Jesus had the touch of the commoner. Hillside village. Carpenter shop. Fishing docks. Vineyards. Crops of grain. Pastures of sheep. Vigorous constitution. Strong craftsman's hands. A hardy voice easily heard by large crowds, but used so much more frequently for quickening, considerate private conversation.
I am glad that he did not easily stand out, so that the power of his message and life could develop gradually, subtly and without alarm. Just like his parables.
As the Lord said unto the prophet Samuel in the chosing of David as king, "the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7b)
There is another consideration here. In the Gospel visit Christ's purpose was to serve and save. The fine trappings of King and Judge were not appropriate. But in His Second Coming, things will be different.
Hear the prophecy of Isaiah in chapter 33:
22For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.