Two of the most enduring and beloved children’s stories are THE UGLY DUCKLING, and RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER. These two and many other books, films and plays have a similar theme that resonates with people of all ages— the despised and rejected underdog who somehow overcomes the mocking and becomes a respected, needed and even vital citizen. Perhaps you have been there and done that? I have. It is hard to overcome such a beginning isn’t it?
According to the Prophet Isaiah, Jesus didn’t live his life out as a handsome physical man like David or Absalom. ( 2 Sam 14: 25-26) Isaiah said of Jesus, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. ( Isa 53:2) “He was despised and rejected by men…” ( v 3) He had a very humble birth and evidently lived a very ordinary albeit blue collar life until his earthly ministry. ( Lk 2:39-40) His first sign of being extraordinary was the acclaim of Simeon and Anna as a baby in the temple. However, this was because of his spiritual impact, not his physical appearance. ( Lk 2: 25-38) At 12 years of age he astonished the teachers of the Law by his knowledge, not his physical presence.
As Jesus grew into adulthood he was scorned and mocked as “the carpenter’s son” because of his teachings. In spite of his miracles and good deeds he was resented and killed even though completely innocent. However, Jesus arose from the grave to be what he always was—God the Son, creator, savior, friend and Christ. At his name every knee will bow. ( Rom 14:1) ( Php 2:10) From a lamb to a lion ( Rev 5:5) what a transformation! On Judgment Day he will be revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels and will pay back those who do not know and obey his gospel. (2 Thes 1:7-9)
Even if you never became a swan or the leader of Santa’s sleigh like you had hoped, take comfort in these scriptures! “ God is just. He will pay back trouble to those who trouble ( despise and reject) you and give relief to you…” ( 2 Thes 1: 6-7) “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” ( Heb 6:10) It is hard to ignore and overcome mankind’s injustice, but God’s justice will be worth the wait.
On one of our kitchen walls in our home, and probably in many of yours, we have a chart that has been there for many years. It has measured our children’s and grandchildren’s height over those years. The young ones especially enjoyed comparing their height to where their parents were at that same age.
Most good Study Bibles have a chart of Biblical weights and measures with the present day equivalents. We are familiar with talents, and shekels and maybe even omers, huns and baths. God has used different measures to teach us valuable lessons almost from the beginning. Noah had to obey God’s plan for the Ark exactly for it to save the passengers and animals from the flood. In Exodus the measurements for the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Testimony, the Priestly garments and may other holy articles are spelled out definitively. The offerings of olive oil and fine flour ( Lev 24), the value in shekels for redeeming firstborn children, and the number of Sabbaths until the Year of the Jubilee are delineated. The use of dishonest weights and measures angered God greatly. In Revelation we hear of a measuring of the temple with a reed like a measuring rod and many counting of days to represent years. ( Rev 11: 1-3)
There are, no doubt, many reasons God is so precise in his expectations—two of them are to teach obedience and growth. He admonished us to measure ourselves by attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ ( Eph 4:13) and the Father ( Eph 3:19). We are to grow up by: “Hating what is evil; clinging to what is good.” ( Heb 12: 9) “ Honoring one another in brotherly love.” ( v 10) “ Never be lacking in zeal…” ( v 11) “ Being joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (v 12) Sharing with God’s people who are in need. Practicing hospitality.” ( v13) The list goes on and on until the end of Romans 12.
How in the world can a Christian striving to please God measure up to these standards? We can’t, of course, but God knows from Christ’s experiences on Earth that we will need supernatural help and therefore gives us: Grace, sober judgment, various spiritual gifts ( serving, teaching, contributing, etc, etc.) ( Rom 12: 3-8) power, strength, the Holy Spirit, ( Eph 3: 16) love ( Rom 5:5) and a host of others. “He is able to do IMMESURABLY more than all we ask or imagine. ( Eph 3: 20).
In the game of life some people spend their whole life thinking they hit a triple, never realizing they were born on third base. After all, wasn’t that their prerogative? This baseball analogy could be applied to a financial, physical or talent advantage also. It could very well be extended to one’s geographical or chronological situation. Very few of the billions of humans who have lived on this planet ever had a time at bat, much less got a hit.
However, if one is a New Testament Christian, he or she has hit a home run spiritually speaking every day of their new life. Think of the prerogatives we enjoy. We did not earn our position on Team Jesus, He drafted us at a huge price—his blood. Our playbook has all the right moves to avoid failure and enjoy success. The Bible is available to us because of the love of God and the many teammates who died a martyr’s death.
When we “boot” the ball we can have the error (sin) removed from our record by admitting it and asking forgiveness. ( 1 Jo 1: 7-8) ( 1 Jo 2: 1-2)
Each of us in MVP for life in the eyes of our manager/creator. ( Mt 10: 29-30) (Jer 1:5) ( Jo 3:20)
This team is inclusive, (whosoever will) with new teammates joining every day. ( Jo 3:16) ( 2 Pe 3:9)
Our team is a close-knit group that loves and supports each other. ( Eph 4:3) ( Col 3: 13)
We don’t have to ever stay on third base thinking WE hit a triple, but trot right by it to home plate knowing that it is our prerogative because of Jesus Christ.