What does your Messiah look like?

By Campus Missionary Mary Rowley based on Matthew 11:16-19

Strong. Powerful. Warrior. Conqueror. Dashing. Aloof. Awe-inspiring. Frightening. I imagine the Pharisees would have described their future Messiah in these words. They wanted a military hero, someone who would march at the head of a mighty army and take back Jerusalem by force. He would be respected and saluted by the other conquerors of the day; none would dare to take him on.

They did not want a Messiah that looked like Jesus. They wanted their military hero; instead, they got the humble Son of God, born in a stable, who ate with tax collectors and sinners. They wanted someone to lead armies; instead, they got someone who preached sermons and fed the poor. They refused to change their expectations, and so, they killed this Messiah who did not look like what they wanted him to be.

Today we look at the Pharisees and shake our heads. Of course the Messiah didn’t look like that, we say. But what does our Messiah look like? We are to be imitators of Jesus; who are we imitating? Are we humble? Do we get together with the outcasts of society? Do we share the Word of God with others and regularly give what we have to those who need it? If we don’t, then our Messiah doesn’t look like Jesus either. It’s time for us to recognize our position among the Pharisees and take a good look at Jesus.

The good news is that Jesus didn’t condemn the Pharisees; he offered forgiveness. He gives that same offer to us. We can be forgiven, and we can imitate the real Messiah. Humble. Caring. Sharing. Loving. Forgiving. Welcoming. Compassionate. Gentle. These words describe our Messiah, and by the grace of God, they can describe us as well.