Friday, December 24, 2010

Grace in a Person, the Favor of Jesus

An Ohio man asked his aunt about a painting she had in her house. She responded, “Oh, that old thing. No one wants it.” Since none of her family wanted the art work for their homes, she had already commissioned the art to a local gallery, but hadn’t delivered it to them, yet. Her nephew said he would love to have it, so she gave it to him.

Nephew Bill took the painting to an Antique Roadshow for appraisal and was quite shocked to hear that in a New York gallery, the art could fetch $250,000. A painting deemed of little value to the aunt was re-discovered by the nephew. I once was lost but now I’m found.

The painting of Jesus in the temple at the age of twelve is by N. C. Wyeth. The appraiser at Antique Roadshow noted, “Wyeth first gained fame by illustrating some of Scribner’s Classics, including Robinson Crusoe, The Last of the Mohicans and Treasure Island.” The painting, believed to be titled “When He Comes He Shall Rule the World,” was done to illustrate a story in Harper’s Monthly magazine called “The Lost Boy,” by Henry van Dyke. Wyeth’s painting was on a list of missing artwork.

For many in the world the Messiah remains undiscovered. Over 2000 years ago, the treasure of heaven arrived boxed in a manger. If I had been in charge of God arriving on earth, there would at least have been a feast in Bethlehem and a town crier announcing the birth. However, God in his wisdom chose to send splendor to the earth without a great deal of fanfare or spectators.

God revealed facts about the Anointed One through Isaiah:

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” (42:1-2)

When Jesus began his public work, he didn’t twist arms. He didn’t coerce or force his rule upon his audiences’ hearts. His delivered no brash messages to the masses. The weakest sinner coming to him was lifted up not quashed. His core group of friends was commoners and his ministry non-pompous. When God sent Jesus he sent first-class character to renovate man’s family tree.

Melito of Sardis wrote about his personal discovery of the Messiah: He is all things: when he judges, he is Law; when he teaches, Word; when he saves, grace; when he begets, father; when he is begotten, son; when he suffers, lamb; when he is buried, man; when he rises, God.

Rediscover Jesus, Messiah, Redeemer and Friend this last week of December through re-reading Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. From the manger, to the boy rabbi, to resurrected God, he alone remains full of favor, meaning “grace in a person.”

Jesus -- worth discovery -- a treasure in plain view, the one who ably bestows “peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

(Tune in next Friday and start the “Year of the Index Card” with me. Buy a packet of 100 index cards for about a dollar and see how those simple pieces of paper, 52 Bible verses, and meditation on them can broaden your faith throughout 2011.)

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