Church staffs are planning for Easter Sunday, the “Super Bowl” for most churches. Easter Sunday is the highest attendance of the year for most churches, and they always pay extra attention to the details. A church will lose points if the childcare is inadequate or if the “Chreasters” (a nickname given to those who only attend on Christmas and Easter) can’t find a parking place.
I love Easter Sundays. The music, the flowers and the crowds are glorious. But, the Sundays that followed the Easter service were normal, average days. The big programs, special music, and large crowds made for an impressive Sunday, but they didn’t seem to change the church very much.
Church attendance in America has shrunk, as several polls show. I even read one article that said that the numbers are much worse than it would appear, because fewer people are defining “regular attendance” as every Sunday now. That article believes the actual church attendance numbers might be half the number the polls are reporting.
Contrast those numbers with the crowds that followed Jesus. By the second year of his ministry, Jesus was followed by such large crowds that the Jewish leaders considered him a threat to traditional Judaism. Why was Jesus attractive to the people of his day?
Isaiah prophesied about the coming Messiah and described him this way: “For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2–3). One of my favorite things about Jesus is that when He chose to take on human flesh, he just picked an average look. Jesus could have chosen to be the most “attractive” man that ever walked the planet, but instead, he chose to look average—or maybe even a little homely!
Jesus came to help people find a closer relationship with God. Jesus chose his appearance and he chose to look average. Maybe that is why Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’ Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? (John 14:8–10)? Philip had a difficult time thinking of Jesus beyond his average appearance.
Jesus told Philip to look past the physical representation and see the glory of God in his life. I wonder if Jesus would want to remind churches, and Christians, of that goal today? Are we attracting people to know God through our daily average lives, or distracting them with our “good impressions?” I think Jesus chose to be average so he could display the greatness of God and taught his disciples to do the same.
Why was Jesus attractive? Why did Jesus draw enormous crowds? The glory of God was evident in the way Jesus lived, and God’s glory is still attractive today. As you plan to celebrate Easter, what in your plans will draw you and others to the person that Jesus chose to be? Sometimes the power and majesty of God is best displayed through the average person whose life displays the extraordinary presence and power of God.
The Easter season is a good time to examine our lives and see our potential. Easter Sunday is a wonderful celebration of the hope we have in Jesus. Every other day is an opportunity to reveal him in our ordinary lives, as he does extraordinary things through his Spirit-led disciples. Jesus is still attractive today any time an ordinary person is filled with his extraordinary Spirit. Who will witness the glory of God today, in you?
Join us at www.christianparenting.org and chime in on this week’s discussion question: April Fools–to prank or not to prank? What does your family do?