The world into which the Saviour of mankind entered as a baby was a very harsh place. Life was cheap. Might was right. The oppressed were abused and often mistreated by the Roman conquerors. Those expected to speak up for, and defend, the voiceless vulnerable — their religious leaders of the day — had become too easily corrupted in their pathetic attempts to win a crumb of their conqueror’s power. This corruption in the pursuit of financial gain and political leverage had blinded these supposed-to-be-shepherds to the true plight of those they should have served as guardians. Why on earth would God send His Son into our world at such a dark time?
¶ But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent His Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that He might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law.
Galatians 4:4 THE MESSAGE
WHERE IS THE GOD WHO CARES?
In what would have to be the greatest reply to the oft asked question – what has the all-powerful, all-good God done about evil and suffering in the world? – God the Eternal Father sent His Eternal Son into this world of evil and suffering as a zygote (the earliest stage of human development) as His answer. In one of Dr. F.W. Boreham’s essays on this topic he pointed out how often it has been throughout history that just at the darkest hours in human history, a baby has been sovereignly born who would grow into a courageous leader who would be a further divine reply to the question about what has done about evil and suffering in the world. The greatest example of this of course is the Christmas Child. At just the precise time of one of earth’s darkest hours, the Christ was born. Little wonder then that Dr. Boreham could say that God’s answer to the world’s problems is always a baby. And the baby that God the Father sent to the world was the One who created it and everything in it (Col. 1:17-18). Did He come reluctantly? Did He come in the same way that the mythological Greco-Roman members of the pantheon of gods would come feeling rather indifferent to the injustices besetting the world? Let the written Word of God be our answer-
When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them,
because they were harassed and helpless,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Christ was moved with compassion for people. He felt their pain and saw their suffering. Did Jesus care? Asking this question sound utterly ridiculous even before I get the question mark! There is no doubt that Jesus cared. He demonstrated care for outcasts — such as lepers who shunned by society — but He didn’t care for them because they were a marginalised group or even because they were lepers. He cared for them because they were people created in the image of God. Jesus cared for the poor – but not because they were poor – but because they were people created in the image of God. Jesus cared for women – but not because they were women – but because they were people created in the image of God. And the same can be said of His care for those people with a different skin colour to His (which almost certainly was not ‘white’), or for those people of different ethnicity who could barely speak the language of the Hebrews without a tell-tale accent that brought scorn and even hatred among Israelites. He cared for these people despite these things because they too were created in the image of God. This reveals that Christ treated all people as sharing a common and unique bond: all people are created in the image of God and this common bond and shared privilege binds us each together as the ‘human race’ thus making all alternate adjectives of the word “race” superfluous and counter-productive to a biblical understanding of what it means to be human. Our initial question, who cares? is now forced to be adjusted to: Who should care? And the answer is immediately obvious. We should because we are the family of the divine image bearers. We are family.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”
has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge
of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Second Corinthians 4:6
BUT WHO CARES?
Those who know Christ! To worship is to adore, to behold, to praise, to reflect upon and reflect. Thus, we become like whatever we worship. When we reflect on Christ we marvel at His care for each individual in a crowd where each one probably thought that no-one saw them in the midst of a sea of faces – but Jesus did. They may have thought that when Jesus looked at the crowd He couldn’t have noticed them but He did. As they blended into the masses of people that often flocked to Christ they may have felt that non-one cared for them – but Jesus did. Consider how often Jesus spent time with one person: the woman at the well (John 4); Nicodemus the Scribe (John 3); the man at the Pool of Bethesda (John 5); the women condemned as an adulteress (John 8); the man born blind (John 9); Lazarus (John 11); and Pilate (John 19).
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.
For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Second Corinthians 3:18`
Time and time again throughout the gospels we see Jesus taking time out for the individual – a woman with the issue of blood, the Syrophoenician woman with a demonise daughter, a blind man on the side of the road. Jesus’ care for people is a remarkable insight into the Father’s care for each member of His earthly family of divine image bearers. And just as Jesus conveyed the Father’s heart of care for each person, we too are called to also convey it (Luke 10:25-37).
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