Monday, April 4, 2016
Sentimentality and Jesus
My wife gets daily devotions from Joni Eareckson Tada’s ministry. This past Saturday Joni’s devotion was something I’ve addressed many times on this blog, so I thought I’d share it with my readers.
"But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on." Acts 2:24
Have you ever noticed that we treat a person or an object sentimentally because of emotion, not reason? That's certainly true when it comes to the sentimental pictures we have of Jesus¼Jesus with His hair parted down the middle, surrounded by cherub-like children and bluebirds. Everywhere this Jesus walks, strains of organ music sound.
We even have sentimental hymns about the Lord. "He speaks and the sound of His voice is so sweet, the birds hush their singing." That's a line from one of my father's favorite hymns, and I know those thoughts can comfort us. But they are more reinforcement of a romanticized image. We have gilded the real Jesus with so much "dew on the roses" that many people have lost touch with Him.
Why do we prefer a sentimental picture? It requires nothing from us, neither conviction nor commitment. Because it lacks truth, it lacks power. We have to change that picture. And one way to do it is to think about the resurrection. Sure, romanticists try to color the resurrection with lilies and birds, but lay aside the emotions and think of the facts for a moment: A man, stone-cold dead, rose from His slab, and walked out of His grave.
That's almost frightening. But that's what Jesus did. That reality has power; it's truth that grips you. Some people believe Jesus came to do nice, sweet things like turn bad people into good. Not so. Our Lord and Savior came to turn dead people into living ones - and there's nothing sentimental about that.
Erase images of syrupy sweetness. Replace them with mental pictures of a powerful God who overcame the harshest foe - death itself. Then you will begin to grasp how amazing God really is.
Lord of All, refocus my softened view of You onto aspects of Yourself that demand much more of me. And help me to respond to what I see.