Russell and Duenes

Jesus the Rock Star?

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In Matthew 12, we come to the point where Jesus is finally being threatened with death by the religious leaders. Healing a man of his withered hand on the Sabbath, and then pointing out the hypocrisy of people who would forbid such healing activity on the Sabbath, and yet who would not hesitate to pull their farm animal out of a ditch on the Sabbath, pushed things over the edge. So Matthew tells us that Jesus, “aware of this, withdrew from there.” In the course of his withdrawal, Matthew tells us, “many followed him, and he healed them all, and warned them not to tell who he was.”

Now why would Jesus be doing things like healing people, and then turn around and tell the recipients of his healing not to talk about him? If I had a bum leg or leprosy or a bleeding problem or a dead daughter, and Jesus had healed me, I think I would talk about him. So why is Jesus warning them not to “make him known?”

Matthew gives us the short answer: “This was to fulfill what was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah.” What could Isaiah have foretold that would lead to Jesus warning people not to talk about him?

According to Isaiah, Jesus is God’s “servant, whom I have chosen, My beloved in whom my soul is well-pleased.” God has put his Spirit upon Jesus and Jesus will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. But here’s the relevant part: “He will not quarrel, nor cry out; nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.”

Jesus will not be made into a rock star!

But Isaiah goes on: “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, until he leads justice to victory, and in his name the Gentiles will put their hope.” No, Jesus will not be made into a rock star because that is not why he came. We certainly do like our celebrities, or rock stars (even when he becomes president of the United States), but they are brittle gods. When a young girl is eating and then vomiting up her food day after day, when she weighs 90 lbs and thinks she’s fat, when her teeth are rotting from her daily purges, when she thinks she’s in control, but clearly is not, when she tells herself “today will be the last day,” when she comes to ultimate despair and feels herself beyond redemption, when she holds out no further hope for herself and believes that God would surely consider her too disgusting to love, she doesn’t need a rock star. She needs a God who will gently blow on her as one who is trying to rekindle a fading wick. She needs a God who will come to her, like a bruised, almost broken reed, and hold her up and support her until she is once again strong and solid. That’s the kind of God Jesus is. He is the one who leads justice to victory, not the high-powered warriors, the overblown politicians, nor the rock stars.

What great comfort there is in knowing we have a God who reaches out to us all day long, who meets us at our greatest point of true need, and who would rather coax us back to life than snuff us out. I need a God like that every day.


Written by Michael Duenes

March 2, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Posted in Duenes, Reflections

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