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“Suppose we heard an unknown man spoken of by many men. Suppose we were puzzled to hear that some men said he was too tall and some too short; some objected to his fatness, some lamented his leanness; some thought him too dark, and some too fair. One explanation… would be that he might be an odd shape. But there is another explanation. He might be the right shape. Outrageously tall men might feel him to be short. Very short men might feel him to be tall. Old bucks who are growing stout might consider him insufficiently filled out; old beaux who were growing thing might feel that he expanded beyond the narrow lines of elegance… Perhaps (in short) this extraordinary things is really the ordinary thing; at least the normal thing, the centre. Perhaps, after all, it is Christianity that is sane and all its critics that are mad.” ~G.K. Chesterton
The nature inclination of human nature is to make ourselves the standard of good and bad, right and wrong. If our tendency is to value justice and hard work, then that must be the ultimate standard. If our tendency is to value love and mercy, then that must be the ultimate standard. And we are so naturally one-sided; we have terrible balance. We float between extremes as it fits our needs.
The person of Jesus brings us face to face with our crookedness. At every turn, he contradicts our expectations. The Jews expected Him to be a warrior kng, coming to overthrow His enemies and judge sinners. Today the average person expects Him to be a gentle teacher, coming to soothe the hurting and encourage us to love one another. The funny thing is that both the Jews and today’s culture are right, while ultimately being dead wrong. Jesus is a warrior king, but he is also a gentle teacher. He offers mercy and salvation to all, but he will one day stamp out sin completely and judge the guilty. As we come face to face with Jesus, we come face to face with our own sinful tendency to emphasize either God’s grace or God’s judgment while neglecting the other. If we ignore God’s judgment, then we dishonor Him by not acknowledging His righteous holiness. If we ignore God’s mercy, then we dishonor Him by not acknowledging His compassion and love. As we place ourselves up against Jesus’ straight, perfect standard, we are forced to acknowledge that it is we who are crooked.
Scripture: Matthew 11:1-30
Sermon: Jesus as Savior: Too Hard, Too Soft, or Just Right?