Throughout Jewish history there were prophecies made about a coming Messiah. The Jews in the First Century new these prophecies well, for they foretold of a king that would come into the world and make all things well. The Jews of the First Century would have dreamed of such a king to come and throw out the Romans, and to set every thing back to right. They pictured a king much like David, a warrior king. They looked to the days of old, and yearned. They wanted someone to take away the oppression they were under.
What they didn’t expect was a king born in a barn, and swaddled in a feeding trough. They didn’t expect a king who was raised as a carpenter’s son. Nor did they expect a peace-loving, Sabbath breaking, nomadic Rabbi to be the Messiah. Much like The Ugly Duckling, Jesus didn’t fit the mold they were trying to cast Him in. He was unexpected. He was The Ugly Earth-King.
(Please understand I mean no disrespect to Christ by this name, but instead I mean to point out as vividly as possible the difference that the First Century Jews, as well as, many Christ-followers today had/have in their conception of Christ versus who He has said He is.)
John wrote in His account of the Gospel that Jesus gave Signs of who He really was, but they were mostly ignored, or misunderstood. This is much like The Ugly Duckling. All the signs were there to let anyone who knew what they were looking for know that he was actually a swan. Here again we see what Jesus meant as He said that He is not from this world. He testified over and over again that He was from above, but just as only those who know what a baby swan looks like could have known that The Ugly Duckling was actually a swan, so too it was only The Good Shepard’s “sheep” that knew Him.
Just as the animals in The Ugly Duckling were looking for and at the wrong signs, so too the Jews in the First Century were looking for and at the wrong “Signs”. And just as the animals mistreated The Ugly Duckling, so too the Jewish people mistreated The Ugly Earth-King. Both groups missed out on something that was far more beautiful than they had ever imagined, but both groups were very right about something, Neither Jesus nor the Swan were beautiful in the mold and against the criteria of which they were placed.
I recently watched the movie “God’s Not Dead”, and one scene haunts me from that movie. The scene is when the atheist professor talks about his story as a 12 year old boy praying for his mother to live. He explains that no matter how hard he prayed his mother stilled died. It is to this event that he points to show that God is not real. This part haunts me because people make this mistake over and over, and have done so since before Jesus’ time, and did so when Jesus came.
We build a framework for God to fit into, instead of trying to get to know God and fitting our framework in Him. We try to create God in our image, instead of being transformed into His. We want God to work a certain way, at a certain time, and when He doesn’t we blame Him for the mess. God, much like the swan, is far better than we could imagine, but for some reason we want Him to be as we imagine Him.
So…What’s the point of this story? The point is to encourage to look pass the hollow “Hosanna’s” on Sunday, and make them real. My point is to call to the body of Christ and encourage us all to look deeper, look farther, look closer, Just LOOK! We are coming into a season in which we celebrate the victory of The Lord Jesus Christ over sin and death. We can take this time to see The Ugly Earth-King as He is, The Messiah and Savior of the world, or we can pronounce a hollow “Hosanna”, and find ourselves not really knowing what we’ve missed. So again I say, get to know your King, not for what or who you want Him to be, but for the Magnificently Glorious King He really is.