Reflections: February 15, 2021
Monday of Quinquagesima
By Jacob Ehrhard
For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7b)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Looks can be deceiving. Instagram influencers and TikTok users understand this well. They spend a lot of time and energy cultivating an image that gains them followers and sponsors. It doesn't matter that the image is only superficial--whatever gets clicks and likes is what works for them.
It's not just our digital selves that we like to touch up for the world. We always project a pretty picture of ourselves to the world, but that picture hides the ugliness under the surface. If we're good at hiding our worst selves, no one will ever know.
Except that God sees differently. He's not fooled by outward appearances. We're captivated by the superficial, but God's sight pierces to the heart. He sees the ugliness that lurks beneath the surface, and that's a frightening thought.
Yet there is also a comforting inversion with respect to God's sight. David was, by all appearances, the poorest choice of Jesse's sons for the future king of Israel. Yet God saw something that no one else did. It wasn't that David possessed a hidden quality that his brothers (or anyone else) did not. Rather, God anointed the unlikely David to show that when God is at work, things aren't always as they appear.
There was nothing about Jesus that would indicate anything special about him. "He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him" (Isaiah 53:2b). Yet hidden beneath His human flesh and blood is the majesty of the Son of God. In that humble form, He endured the ugliness of the Cross in order to bring us to the beauty of resurrection. Learning to see like God does means learning to find His work hidden under the most unlikely places. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, for the majesty hidden beneath Your humble human flesh and blood. Thank you for enduring the ugliness of the cross to bring about a beautiful resurrection. We confess that we cultivate outward appearances while neglecting our hearts, yet we pray that You would renew us inwardly day by day with the good news of forgiveness. Amen.
-Rev. Jacob Ehrhard is the pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church and School in Chicago, IL.
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