“The darkest hour is before the doorbell rings.” That’s one of the winning proverbs from Domino’s Pizza Proverbs Contest. Last year, that pizza company opened a contest seeking modern proverbs which would fit their pizza products. Since the contest ended, each delivery and take-out pizza box features one of the eight winning proverbs.
While on last week’s trip to Santa Fe, Roswell, and Artesia NM, I’d pondered the book of Proverbs. I’d taken my oldest Bible with me, re-read my favorite passages, and I looked for a proverbial slant for today’s column. I continued to ask myself how I could tie the book of Proverbs into the Easter story. Because this column has taken us through the books of the Bible in sequence, here we are at Easter and we landed on the book of Proverbs.
When we’re out of town and our only transportation is an eighteen wheeler, we either find motels with restaurants in walking distance or order a meal delivered. We’d ordered pizza, and I still hadn’t resolved my dilemma of a tie in between Easter and Proverbs when I heard a knock on the motel door.
The delivery man handed me our pizzas. Later, I discovered that the box had a pizza proverb on the box: “Pizzas dare to go where hamburgers fear to tread.” I checked out the pizzaproverbs.com site and discovered that over 7,000 people had entered the contest. We prefer Dominos thin crust pizzas to all others, but I still have to say that pizza proverbs -- as cute as they are -- are not near as meaty as the proverbs left to us in the Bible.
The “Online Etymology Dictionary” says the word “proverb” originates from the Latin word “proverbium,” meaning "a common saying," literally "words put forward." Descriptive phrases become common sayings as people watch life and see that certain things usually turn out the same way. If you do things this way, they most always have the same outcome.
Even though proverbs are general statements that come true most of the time, they cannot be held up as absolute rules that always turn out the same results. We all know exceptions to proverbs. An example: if you train up children as to how they should live, those children when they grow to adulthood generally accept those guidelines for their lives (Proverbs 22:6). However, parents and guardians use many different methods to train many different little personalities, who may have developed many different aspirations or phobias. Anytime a human is factored into efforts, results can go in infinite directions.
However, the exception to those above statements is Jesus Christ. Although he inhabited a human body, his soul remained divine – his character, his actions, his heart always represented infinite grace and truth (John 1:14). During his ministry, Judea, Galilee and surrounding areas experienced unparalleled displays of favor in the form of Immanuel, God with us.
Throughout the three years of Jesus’ ministry, he continually portrayed the Heavenly Father with exact measure: “The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being." (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus gave us truth about the Heavenly Father. Jesus was more than a proverb. Jesus embodied truth and absolute results of compassionate living and eternal power.
Jesus freely gave over-the-top care: withered limbs re-muscled; fishermen's nets overflowed; thousands ate from heaven's bread basket; massive waves and atmospheric elements obeyed his voice and ceased their violent nature—because extravagant God trod the earth.
Jesus, king of hearts touched foul flesh, sat in fishing boats, and cradled children on his lap. He washed feet, forgave murderous sins, and healed bad reputations. And then the ultimate show of authority came on the third day after his crucifixion when he arose from the dead.
Every day we hear clichés, old sayings, and modern taglines advertising products and pizzas, but none compare to the Son of God who represented the truth of heaven. Jesus moved us from maybes to miracles. Happy Resurrection Sunday.
Index Card Verse for Week 16: “He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home with the wise” (Proverbs 15:31).