Who is this Man?

The scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, "Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?"  - Luke 5:21

Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this man who even forgives sins?" - Luke 7:49

I've been acquainted with Jesus for a long time. I've confessed Him as my Savior for most of my life. Yet the more is revealed to me about who He is, the more I realize how little I know. I mean REALLY know; understand. Every epiphany knocks me back to the knees I didn't realize I had risen from. Which sounds like He brings me low ...

Yet lowly as I realize I am ... He is really lifting me up. I am bowed by reverence and relief, not by a burden. It's when He takes my burden I realize how much I've been carrying and in utter exhaustion I collapse with gratitude into the safety only He can offer me.

This past weekend at church Tim pointed out a woman signing. We've been visiting a huge church, and I had seen the ASL interpreter before. But I peeked between those in front of me and saw a woman besides the interpreter worshipping in sign. And I saw her sign "Jesus" and it hit me square in the chest. I choked on His name, unable to keep singing.

Photo by Jo Hilton on Unsplash
The sign for Jesus is made by touching the middle finger of each hand into the palm of the opposite hand in turn. It is a heavy allegory for the nails that pierced Jesus' hands. This wasn't something I didn't know and yet it hit me anew. It is also very similar to the sign for hurt. If you haven't seen a two year old with tears welling in their eyes so like your spouse's signing "hurt" ... well, it may not have the same impact.

Jesus. Hurt. For me despite me.

Earlier in the week I had seen a photo posted on Instagram of an artist's interpretation of the "sinful woman" washing Jesus' feet. Lots of the comments were about Jesus' chinstrap beard, or his unusually large feet, and I was even made slightly uncomfortable by the way one of His hands was tangled into the hair of this woman largely interpreted by scholars to be a prostitute ...

And it struck me. Do the pharisees say her offering is unsuitable because her head is uncovered? Or because she was giving an offering to Jesus rather than at the temple in the acceptable forms?

Nope. It is because of who she is. Just like Cain's. By some interpretations it was his attitude, his heart, that made his sacrifice unacceptable to God. Just like me. Nothing I come up with on my own is acceptable.

But Jesus. In the end, all stories reach the turning point of "but Jesus."

Jesus. The Greek form of Joshua/Yeshua. The Hebrew meaning of which is to rescue or deliver.

But Jesus deemed her sacrifice worthy. Despite her background. Despite her reputation. Despite the inappropriateness of it all. Just as the loud rich raining a cacophony coins into the offering were giving less than the humble widow who gave two small, quiet coins that almost went unnoticed. But Jesus. Jesus noticed. And now her actions are recorded in one of the most published books in history.

Photo by Jordan Rowland on Unsplash
I know the trend right now is not to think of oneself as worthless, and I'm not advocating false humility or self-abasement. But the reality is we are wicked. We are born with hearts drawn to rebellion. Adrenal glands that relish pleasure and excitement of which they will always crave more. We are without worth.

But Jesus. He died anyways. He looks at whatever we bring to Him and because He does it is enough. When we accept Him as Rescuer, we become worthy. Just because of who He is. Who is this Man? The only one who can forgive sins. The only one who can make us enough, just as we are.

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