Unlike the Rest 
by Pam Ford Davis

 

Joseph, trudging through crowded Jerusalem streets, led Mary and their male child to the temple. Sounds of bleating sheep vied for their attention. In obedience to God's laws of dedication and purification, they brought Jesus to the temple. They offered up sacrifices of turtledoves or pigeons to their God, Yahweh. Simeon, a worshiper in the temple, routinely witnessed ritualistic dedication ceremonies. He soon realized Jesus was unlike all other children.

Seeing Jesus, he beheld the Messiah. Simeon was old and weary; yet, he knew he would not cross over Jordan until he saw the consolation of Israel. He readied himself in expectancy of a soon departure to join his fathers. Looking into the innocent eyes of Jesus; he saw hope for his people, the redemption of the nation of Israel. Spirit led, cradling the holy child in his arms, he praised and prophesied.

"Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, 'Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against ('yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed (Luke 2:34-35NKJ)." His prophetic words fell upon ready ears, and into the pondering heart of Mary. Unlike the rest of newborns, this child was destined to become God's sacrificial offering, her Savior and Lord.

Young boys of Jesus' day enjoyed yearly adventures of caravan trips to attend Passover feasts in Jerusalem. During one particular return trip, Jesus' parents frantically searched for Him among family and friends. Unable to find their adolescent son, they retraced their steps, finding Him inside the temple with teachers listening to them and asking questions. "And all who heard him were astonished at His understanding and answers (Luke 2:47 NKJ)." Never before, had they witnessed such wisdom in youth.

Jesus, in his thirties, attracted faithful followers, curiosity seekers, outcasts and cynical religious leaders. Multitudes listened to Him teach, received or rejected Him, but seldom ignored Him. A blind man received faith, forgiveness and physical sight. He boldly refuted Pharisees attacks on Jesus authority and credibility. "Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind (John 9:32 NKJ)." Jesus proved His deity through signs and wonders.

Asking a Samaritan woman for water, Jesus broke down barriers of gender and nationality. Jews and Samaritans did not mix socially and had very different beliefs on worship. Why would He associate with her? Jesus held her attention with a discussion pertaining to living water. Jesus confronted the woman about her past marriages and current living arrangement with a man who was not her husband. He was unlike the rest of the men she had known. "Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ (John 4:29 NKJ)?"

Religious leaders plotted against Jesus, arrested Him on false charges and demanded that Pilate crucify Him. Jesus did not resist or retaliate. He endured mocking of Roman soldiers as they whipped Him before nailing His ravaged body to a Calvary cross. A Centurion soldier, a witness to the execution, observed Jesus as He suffered excruciating pain. This man he watched did not curse His tormentors. Instead, He prayed to God, asking Him to forgive them, saying they did not know what they were doing. After Christ took His last breath, the Centurion discerned His real identity. "Truly, this Man was the Son of God (Mark 15:39b NKJ)!"

Jesus, God the Son, drew back the curtain of eternity, giving Apostle John a glimpse into future mysteries. John saw a scroll, and heard an angel ask who was worthy to open the scroll and to loosen its seals. "And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open and read the scroll, or to look at it (Revelation 5:3 NKJ)." John lamented; yet, there was a Lamb "Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne (Revelation 5:7NKJ)." The Lamb is unlike the rest. He alone is worthy!

"And they sang a new song saying: 'You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For you were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation (Revelation 5:9a NKJ)."

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