“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
As a seemingly ordinary man walking the dusty, crowded streets of the Middle East in a long ago era, Jesus was likely no more than five and a half feet tall. His complexion was the same as those around Him and so was the way he dressed. Similarly, His physical frame was normal for the day when men were thin from what it took just to get from place to place. Fictitious renderings of Jesus as a handsome, standout, Hollywood actor or some cool looking hipster are just that – fictitious renderings.
Regardless of what we believe Jesus looked like, what can’t be fully captured is the pure essence of the man Jesus was on the inside. Imagine the enormous strength and determination it would take a man, regardless of physical stature, to withstand the incomprehensible torture delivered by cold, heartless men. Imagine then the pain of being taken from those for you whom you have indescribable love. Then give thought to the depth of anguish provoked by the awareness that your family would watch you die and that you could do nothing about it. Just imagine.
In this life, if we haven’t figured it out by now, it’s the heart that matters. It broadens or constricts the boldness of our convictions, it deepens or withdraws our compassion for others and it defines the authenticity, or lack thereof, of our love. Jesus, with a heart like no other, lived His life with the purpose of reaching people regardless of their place in life. He loved the broken, the sick, the betrayed, the lonely and the empty. Jesus loved the unlovable and He loved you and me. And, He forever will.
Jesus often spoke about having the heart of a child. He knew, and I think most of us do as well, that having such a heart would diminish our capacity to hate, to judge, to condemn. He knew we’d be less likely to notice skin color, the size of a bank account, some fancy title and that we’d have no desire to compulsively speak ill of others. He knew we’d laugh more, observe more, play more and we’d give a lot more. He knew our desire to treat others without condition would be genuine and real.
When I think of a heart like that of Jesus or that of a child, I think of Emily Denny of Waxahachie. Emily, as we shared with you recently, is the sweet, innocent 8 year old who took it upon herself to find a way to give to less fortunate children. Emily simply wanted to give and to love. In doing so, Emily never considered ethnicity, socioeconomic status, how attractive another child might be or that there would be something in it for her. Emily only wanted to make a difference … and she did.
On this day, a day unlike any all year, many children will be donning their best. The bow ties will no doubt compel an understandable degree of perpetual whining, fancy little hairdos will be on full display, shoes will shine and Easter dresses will be photographed like crazy. I’m pretty sure Emily will be one of those children. Under all of the glamour, fidgeting and innocence will beat hearts of purity and kindness, anticipation and hope and there will be hearts that will change this world.
Truth is, there is no more important day for Christians than what occurred on this day more than 2000 years ago. It is, after all, the day when the promise of an eternity free of tears, pain and sorrow became real and when an endless life spent in the sun with the Son became ours for the choosing. It’s also the day when the heart of Jesus, complete with commitment, compassion, sacrifice and love rose from the dead and forever changed this world. We call it Easter, but because of long established traditions we often focus more on bunnies and a hunt for eggs. The real story though is how one heart, with every beat, was willing to be humiliated, crucified, buried and beat again for you and for me.
His name is Jesus and every one of us should strive to have a heart like His.
Her name is Emily and if she can have such a heart, so can we.
Scott Brooks serves as the publisher of the Waxahachie Daily Light. Contact Scott at 469-517-1440 or by email at email@example.com. Follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottBrooks1405.