Photo by ün LIU on Unsplash

Read: Luke 4:31-40

Do you ever wonder if we see Christ only as we want to see him? To go further, do we push onto Him who we want Him to be? Maybe what you are molding your personal Christ into isn’t inherently bad. Maybe you think Christ is mostly love so that is how you mold him. Maybe you desire a Jesus who is powerful so that is how you mold Him. Maybe you like the idea that He is eternal so you mold him into your assurance of a heavenly home.

In and of themselves none of these are wrong or bad or theologically incorrect, but what would happen if we made one thing of Christ “THE MOST IMPORTANT” thing about Christ? What if we make one attribute or action of Christ trump all the other ones? Don’t we lessen Christ? Don’t we lose the wonder and awe of the Savior He truly is? 

I am afraid too often we want Christ to fulfill something in us that we desire or want to be associated with. Think of how flippantly media influencers reference Christ and how, most of the time, it is to benefit themselves, thus lessening Christ to something that fits well into their (or our own) understanding of what “type” of Son of God we want. 

As I studied the passage for this week, I was looking at the actions of Christ and the reactions of those around Him. Those around him were astonished (vs. 32); they were amazed (vs. 36); they appealed to Him (vs. 38); and they sought him (vs. 42). The people couldn’t get enough of Jesus. Do you ever have times you can’t get enough of Jesus? Are there times you are astonished and amazed, appealing to him and seeking him? If so, great!! That is wonderful!! 

But, within just a few chapters, we will see a shift in the reaction of the crowds. Of course the elite scribes and Pharisees want to be done with Him (Luke 6:11). However, they were always against Jesus. So, what about the normal people?  

In Luke 19, we find three stories in a row. The first is that of the “Triumphal Entry.” However, the verses that follow this entry tell us that Jesus wept over the city and then he cleansed the temple. If Jesus really thought these people who welcomed him into the city truly loved him, wouldn’t he actually be celebrating? But he knew. He knew why he was coming to Jerusalem. He knew the crowds would turn against him. He knew that he would die alone. He knew that those who were onced amazed and astonished would now be appalled and full of animosity toward him. What fickle hearts they had! What fickle hearts we have! 

This brings me back to the beginning. Do we mold Christ to be what we want him to be? Did they? I think too often we live in a fake affection for Jesus, and when something doesn’t fit into what we created in our minds, we blame Him for not living up to our created image of a savior. 

I know I am sounding really negative, but we are going somewhere, and it doesn’t end badly, so here it is: Christ knew the hearts of the fickle, and he still healed; he still taught; he still served; he still went into the desolate places. Regardless of whether our affections for Christ are real, fickle, or wavering, He doesn’t change who He is based on who we are. He is the same today, yesterday, and forever. 

He is the Son of God who came to save the lost. When the people wanted him to stay (vs. 42) he told them he couldn’t because others needed to know the good news (vs.43). He is faithful even if we are floundering. He is good and gracious and loving and healing, even if we are too distracted to see it. 

At the end of our passage (vs 44), Jesus tells the people he must go, so he went “preaching in the synagogues of Judea.” Guess what charges are brought against him in Luke 23: 5 when he appears before Herod? “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea!” That’s right! Our passage ends with Jesus going to tell people the good news and that very act is used against him to bring him to trial! 

But he went anyway, because no matter how tossed about our emotions and thoughts and allegiances may be- He is the Son of God. He is the almighty Savior. Our advocate before the Father. He is the vine that our very life is dependent upon. He is our counselor and comfort. He is the very Word of God made flesh!  He is the King of Kings that all knees will bow before one day. He is the light that came to shine into the darkness. Our redeemer and righteousness. And nothing that we or anyone else does can change that! What blessed assurance that is. 

Jesus knew their hearts would turn; he knew he would be denied; he knew he would be despised; and yet he set his face toward Jerusalem. He went to Judea to preach, knowing how it would be received. 

Jesus isn’t intimidated by our wavering. He isn’t going to try and “do better” to win us back. He is going to continue to be exactly who He is and when we praise and honor him for that, our hearts won’t have a choice but to break out in praise and worship and maybe a little repentance. 

Most of us aren’t going to turn on Christ the way that the crowds did, but our hearts are prone to wander and worship lesser things. Here is the thing I desire to know about myself: what leads my heart away from awe and amazement? I don’t want to be the person that has lost the amazement of my savior, and I feel that you don’t either. Let us pray for each other that we may examine our hearts and lives, that we may see what causes us to want to mold Jesus into our idea of what a good savior is, and let us commit to be thankful for exactly who He is. 

Lord God: I adore you for the promise that you will never leave me or forsake me. Because of this, I can say: the Lord is my helper. O Lord, help me today to focus my whole heart and mind on your extraordinary goodness.  Thank you that you are the same yesterday, today, and forever. (From Daily Liturgy Podcast)