view as web pdf The Altogether Lovely

It is a comforting thought to know that Jesus was ‘one of us.’ He was no angel sent down from heaven to play an acted part in human affairs – he was a human who had to carve out a character by the same methods as every other man. To think that he was of the same clay as we are! What a reassuring thought it is. Yet the thought is reassuring only when we realize what Jesus made of himself.

It is true that he had the same raw material to work on as we have, and the same nature which can attract us so strongly towards sin and away from God, but oh! what a work he accomplished in the formation of his own character. What perfection was the result of his labours – what an image of God he portrayed in himself.

It is necessary at times to realize that Jesus Christ was the son of a Jewish woman – that he was a seed of Abraham and an offspring of Adam. There is a sense of kinsmanship when we appreciate that he was cut out of the same stratum of human clay, but there the comparison ends. We must not unduly emphasize this aspect of Jesus Christ – we must ponder over what he became. We know how from nature’s clay the most delicate piece of Dresden ware as well as the coarsest mug is made. Yet how unalike they are! In the one is infused all the artistry and skill of a master hand – painted with the sure touch of an expert – glazed with a whiteness of dazzling purity – slender and beautiful in shape. Everything is a delight to the eye and the senses.

In the other we have a roughly made piece of craftsmanship, revealing the unskilled methods by which it is made. The shape is ugly and the china thick and coarse – the glazing is uneven and in places the clay shows through. There is no painting on it to relieve its hard lines and it has only one redeeming feature – its usefulness. Put them side by side and mark the contrast. That is how we appear when we put ourselves by the side of Christ.

To think that such “a thing of beauty” as the life and character of Christ could have been fashioned out of clay! To think that the very handiwork of God has been executed upon the life of one man – that the lines of that character should be exactly true to the pattern of God. No flaws there – no weaknesses of the flesh in that character – no “almost perfect” – no “good enough” about that life’s work. But when we look into our own lives, what do we find? We find the crude contour of the illshaped mug – no delicate lines of beauty, now – no hand painted work of God – even the glazing which covers the natural clay is not uniform, for in many places we find the flesh and its lust working through the character which the new man is endeavouring to make. What a “patchy” job we are in comparison with Christ!

From an old magazine

previous chapter previous page table of contents next page