Recently our 8 year old granddaughter started a small blog called ‘To Help You to Rejoice’. In it she says she wants to help people who feel ‘down’ to feel ‘up’. What a lovely refreshing change from normal. She’s obviously following the example of Someone else!
The Kind One
G.K.Chesterton commented that the Greek word chrestos, meaning ‘kind’, sounded to hearers in New Testament days very like the name Christos (Christ). Did they see Jesus as ‘The Kind One’? If so, how very appropriate.
‘Kind’ is a very practical and down-to earth word. We associate it with the comforting sort of person towards whom people are readily drawn. So at odds with our modern ‘blame’ culture that too often in the public arena seems to delight in criticising others and ‘putting them down’.
Beautifully and Radically Different
With Jesus, it was so very different. Dostoyevsky wrote: “I believe there is no one lovelier, deeper, more sympathetic and more perfect than Jesus.”
“Jesus’ life was exceedingly beautiful, summing up all that we would most like to be in our best moments…He loved ordinary people, cared for the lonely and unloved, identified himself with the despised and the oppressed. He had compassion on the sick and the rejects of society…something about him was beautifully and radically different.”
All needs are met here
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners………
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion –
to bestow on them a crown of beauty, instead of ashes,
the oil of joy, instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise, instead of a spirit of despair.”
Isaiah 61 verses 1-3
Light in our darkness and hope in our despair
Jesus was graciousness, gentleness and kindness personified. Handling with tenderness ‘broken reeds’ and ‘flickering candles’, hurting people whose light was about to go out. He was the ‘doctor of souls’ and they crowded around him. This same Jesus is alive today and his promise of a crown of “beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” is still there for the asking, including me!
In his commentary on Isaiah chapters 40-66, John Oswalt refers to the passage in chapter 42 saying that, in this ‘Servant’ (Jesus):
“….there is hope for…. the world. We are not locked into the inevitable results of our inheritances and choices. The Transcendent One can enable us to transcend all of these…by absorbing into himself all the wrongs we have done and giving us back the selves we were created to be.”
At the the call of Jesus, the first disciples left their nets and followed him. I too have done this and sought to follow him and have discovered that a warm and reassuring welcome awaits all of us who follow Jesus, however faultingly.