By Edward Thal /
Consider Jesus of Nazareth (Isaiah 53:1-6):
He was equal with God, yet He laid aside His reputation and became a humble human servant (Philippians 2:5-7)
Scandal attached to him, because His mother was unmarried at his conception and the identity of his father was a mystery (Matthew 1:18). He was born in a stable (Luke 2:7) in an unfamiliar town ruled by an oppressive foreign power (Luke 2:1-5). Disaster followed when he was hunted by a jealous king who slaughtered all of the babies of his age in the town of his birth, while his parents fled to save him (Matthew 2:12-18).
His parents were simple peasants who lived in a little village of no repute (John 1:46). They were so poor that they could afford only the cheapest sacrificial offering to mark his birth (Luke 2:22-24 with Leviticus 12:8). His father was a carpenter who sold his wares in a local community that knew the supposed circumstances of his eldest son’s birth (Matthew 13:55). The family, and Jesus especially, would endure ridicule and rejection as a consequence (Luke 4:16-22, 28-30; John 8:39-41; Matt. 13:54-58; Mark 6:1-3).
His Early Life: He was a special target of Satan (Matthew 4:1-11).
His Poverty: He owned nothing but the clothes he wore (Matthew 8:20).
Misunderstanding and controversy followed him everywhere (Matthew 8:34; 9:3, 11, 34; 10:22, 35-36; 12:14, 24; 15:8; 22:15; Luke 13:34; John 6:60-66; 8:33-59). His family tried to stop him (Matthew 12:46; Mark 3:31-32). His siblings did not believe him (John 7:2-5). Many who did believe him were afraid to admit it (John 12:42-43).
Misunderstood him (Matthew 16:6-11, 21-23; Mark 8:14-21). They thought he was mad (Mark 3:20-21).His cousin doubted him (Luke 7:19-20). His friend betrayed him (Matt. 26:21, 47-50; Luke 22:47-48; John 6:70-71). His closest friends were oblivious to his anguish (Matthew 26:37-40). His closest friend denied him (Matt. 26:31-35; Mk 14:66-71; Lk 22:54-62).
The authorities plotted constantly to kill him (Matthew 26:3-4; Luke 22:1-6). The people who hailed him as a prophet suddenly turned against him and rejected him in favor of a noted criminal (Matthew 27:20-26; Luke 23:13-25). He was mocked and tortured (Matthew 27:27-31). He was crucified among criminals (Matthew 27:35). In his death agony he was mocked (Matthew 27:38-44). At the end He was rejected even by his own father (Mark 15:34). He was buried in a stranger’s tomb (Luke 23:50-53).
The life of Jesus of Nazareth would be a singular demonstration of the triumph of evil over good and the futility of high ideals in the face of human selfishness and depravity. Yet one supreme event vindicated everything Jesus taught, lived and died for—an event that changed the destiny of mankind forever and impacted the trajectory of the entire universe. On the third day after his death a messenger at his empty tomb declared, “He is risen; he is not here” (Mark 16:6).
When you think you’re having a bad day, consider Jesus, and know that in His life and death he accepted, and defeated, every adversity, including the devil and death itself. If you’re His, you have nothing to prove, nothing to fear. There’s nothing in this life more attractive than Him because no spiritual fulfillment and joy is unattainable in Him.
On the other hand, as the world around us seems to unravel at an alarming pace, if you can’t say with absolute confidence that you have new life in Jesus Christ, be afraid. Be very afraid.