I’ve been watching the old series, The Twilight Zone . I think I’m on season 3 now. Even by modern standards, the series is strong on odd and unexpected. One of my favorite shows in the series, so far, has been the one in which a woman is tormented because the doctors have tried everything to make her beautiful rather than the hideous woman that she is. The woman’s face is wrapped in bandages until the end of the show. When her face is revealed, she is a beautiful, blond haired woman. She is in despair because the doctors and nurses have told her that nothing else can be done, and she is going to be sent away to live with other people who look like she does. She is taken to a room in which there is another man, who is very handsome, waiting to take her away to be isolated with others like themselves. As the woman runs, trying to escape her fate, we see the faces of the beautiful people there. The masks they wear are obvious now, but they have snouts like pigs and eyes that bulge. They all look alike, and they are ugly. “Pig face” is a good description for them. They are the norm. They are accepted. They all feel sorry for the “ugly” woman who is sent away for she, and the others like her, lived in a world where they didn’t belong.
Jesus didn’t belong in our world. He was persecuted from the time He was an infant until He was murdered, for our sake, on the cross. He began His sufferings in a world which rejected Him from His birth. Herod sought to kill Him. There would be no king of the Jews other than Herod. If there was to be a king, this Messiah would rescue them from the tyranny of the Romans and establish His Kingdom on earth. Jesus was not this savior.
Instead of rousing up the masses, Jesus told His followers to “turn their cheek,” “to walk a mile longer than they were forced to do.” He told His followers to forgive those who hurt them “seventy times seven.” He became the servant. There was to be no end to His love.
He taught His Apostles the laws of the new covenant, and sent them out two by two to preach His gospel of love and mercy. He healed the sick. He gave sight to the blind. He ate with sinners and tax collectors. He drove out demons. He forgave sins which caused a collective gasp in those who hated Him for what He was and was not. This was not the true Messiah, and His teachings would bring in the Romans, and they would destroy the Hebrew way of living.
“Blessed are the Peacemakers.”
“Blessed are the Merciful.”
“Pray in your private room.”
“Do not show that you are fasting.”
“Love your enemies.”
Those who truly loved Jesus realized that He did not belong in this world, that He could not be of this world. They watched as the crowds turned on Him and condemned Him to death. His friends abandoned Him. They denied knowing Him. Then they hid, except for the most beloved by Jesus. John was given the honor of being with Jesus when He died. John was also blessed by being given His Mother to care for as the seeds of the new church were planted.
The Romans tortured and crucified Him. Jesus suffered so much, yet, He found the joy of emptying Himself on the His Cross because the cross was the symbol of His love for us. He endured the beatings and the whips and the humilations heaped on Him while in the care of the Roman government. Jesus didn’t belong to this world.
When asked by Pilate if He was a King, Jesus responded that His kingdom was not of this world. Pilate might have believed Him, but He didn’t understand. Knowing Pilate would let fear overcome his sense of reason and justice, Jesus told Pilate that His sin was not as great as the sin of the one who turned Him over to the high priests.
Jesus did not belong in our world, but He lowered Himself to the level of a man, and as our God Man, He delivered Himself willingly to those who would torture Him and kill Him, all for our sake. Jesus did not belong to this world. If we belong to Jesus, we do not belong to this world. This is not the Twilight Zone, and our world is passing. We only need to remember what Jesus said, “If the world hates you, rejoice, because they hated me first.”
Rejoice and be Glad! This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad!