Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

The Beauty of the Gospel

compadres-blog

We are accustom to reading the Bible as truth, which it is, but if truth is the only thing we see then we are missing much of what the Bible has to offer. The Bible is also full of beauty. It reflects the glory we find in Jesus. To miss the beauty of Scripture is to miss the glory of the Son of God.

This beauty is found before the Messiah takes on flesh and is born in a manger. The Old Testament is full of beauty. The poetry in the psalms and the prophets contain echoes of better things to come. The Gospel of Luke begins with a story about a childless couple. The righteous prayers of Elizabeth and Zechariah are heard by God and he decides to act on their behalf. As Zechariah enters the temple, he is visited by an angel who delivers the good news. Zechariah questions the angel. He cannot believe after all these years that God is about to do something. Because of his unbelief, he is struck speechless. For nine months Zechariah does not utter a word and then his son is born. The first words that come from Zechariah’s mouth are a poem. He praises the God of Israel for acting in his life, but not his life only. Something amazing is about to happen. God is going to act and this time the whole world will take notice.

By the tender mercy of our God,
    the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:78-79)

In beautiful, poetic language, Zechariah describes what is about to take place. God is going to “raise up a horn of salvation” from the “house of his servant David.” The long awaited Messiah is about to enter the world, but God is going to do more than send a messiah. God is coming! God will take on human flesh. God will be born. God will rest his head in a feeding trough for animals. God will identify with his creation. When Zechariah speaks of the dawn breaking and the light that will help those who live in darkness, he is not talking about just any light. The Light of the world is coming.

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (John 8:12)

God’s mercy is greater than we could ever imagine. The incarnation is something we still have not fully wrapped our minds around and it has been 2,000 years since God first took on flesh. God is serious about redemption. Since Adam and Eve first sinned in the Garden of Eden, no one had ever imagined that God would leave heaven and enter into this world as an infant. The glory of God is not just about how God is different from us. The glory of God can clearly be seen in this radical act of God becoming human. The story of redemption is not about what humans must do to be saved, it is about the amazing things God has done to save humanity.

God entering the world was good news and Zechariah understood this. Things were going to change for the better. God would bring salvation to his people who were being persecuted (Luke 1:71). God would show mercy to his people, and he would remember his covenant (Luke 1:72). God entering the world was “good news to the poor” (Luke 4:18). God would work to set his people free as he had done long before. The blind would see. The oppressed would be liberated. What people would experience when God came near would be like the year of Jubilee but even greater (Luke 4:19).

Jesus accomplished all these things in his earthly ministry. After his ascension, he passed the torch on to his followers. The ministry of Jesus belongs to us now. We are the torchbearers! Just as holy Scripture reflects the beauty and glory of God, we are to reflect the beauty and glory of God to the people around us. We are to be Jesus to others. Christianity needs to attract people. It does not attract people through worldly means. Christianity should not attempt to out entertain the world. It cannot do this. What Christianity does have is true beauty, a beauty that the world is longing for. It is the beauty of a person feeding the hungry, helping the homeless, and healing the sick. The glory of Jesus shines when we follow in his footsteps and do the things Jesus did.

Anyone who picks up a newspaper or turns on the news knows that this world is broken. God came to redeem the world but redemption is not yet complete. It began when God took on flesh. People’s lives were redeemed when Jesus healed them and forgave them of their sins. The life of Jesus is proof of a better way to live. It is a life we are to imitate. As we are being molded and shaped into the image of Jesus, we bring glory, redemption, and beauty into this world. We are a light on a hill that shines in the darkness. Redemption is happening but creation still longs for something more. We live in the now, but not yet. God’s kingdom is a reality, but we still pray “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We see evidence of redemption all around us. Lives have been changed. Alcoholics have become sober. Broken relationships have been mended. We know redemption is possible and real, but we also know there is much brokenness in this world. Like in the days of Zechariah, we long for the coming of God. We look forward to the return of Jesus. What God began long ago, he will bring to completion one day. So we, along with Zechariah, look forward to the day when God’s glory will shine brighter than it has ever shone before. We look forward to when all wrongs will be made right. We long for full redemption and to dwell forever in the presence of true beauty.

We pray for what Zechariah spoke of long ago.

By the tender mercy of our God,
    the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace.

9 Responses to “The Beauty of the Gospel”

  1. Very nice. I think we overlook the impact modernism had on the church, making us emphasize the rational part of faith and neglect the artistic side. Good reminder.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts. I think of the numerous debates and schisms throughout church history that continue today and how far removed they are from the beautiful mission of God.

  3. Enjoyed those thoughts Scott. You are drawing us to see a bigger picture and to also know that we will never see the entire picture. We keep watching, God keeps creating, blessings are abundant!

  4. […] LINK: THE BEAUTY OF THE GOSPEL […]

  5. Just my kind of thing! Focus on the beauty of the scripture and pointing us to the amazing nature of the Incarnation:) Thank you!

  6. […] Jesus Challenge June 10: Carl Jenkins: Give A Man A Fish June 17: Jonathan Dobbs: Why Me, God? June 19: Scott Elliott:The Beauty of the Gospel June 24: Chris Hodges: The Glory of the Son June 26: David Smith: then they can see my glory, which […]

  7. […] Jesus Challenge June 10: Carl Jenkins: Give A Man A Fish June 17: Jonathan Dobbs: Why Me, God? June 19: Scott Elliott:The Beauty of the Gospel June 24: Chris Hodges: The Glory of the Son June 26: David Smith: then they can see my glory, which […]

  8. […] Jesus Challenge June 10: Carl Jenkins: Give A Man A Fish June 17: Jonathan Dobbs: Why Me, God? June 19: Scott Elliott:The Beauty of the Gospel June 24: Chris Hodges: The Glory of the Son June 26: David Smith: then they can see my glory, which […]


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