Matthew 9:35-10:1, 5-8

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.

During these 26 days of Advent 2014, I’m trying to draw closer to the Lord.

Perhaps I think this would be easier if I had a biography, even a picture of Jesus. But the Gospel writers don’t give me that kind of information. Except for the story of his birth in Matthew and Luke, they tell me only about the last years of his life.

What was Jesus like? Was he tall, short, thin, heavy? Did he laugh much? Did he have a good singing voice? Did he have a roundish face or a square jaw? Was there a twinkle in his eye or a stern look? Did he come off as formal or folksy?

The evangelists don’t get into this. They want me to know who Jesus is, not what he looked like or sounded like.

There is, however, one human characteristic they stress: he was compassionate. On eight different occasions he is described as having pity – and the Greek word used is particularly strong. On two occasions they note that he wept – at the death of his friend Lazarus, and also over the city of Jerusalem.

The “Word became flesh” – truly one of us. It helps to keep that in mind when spending some quiet time with he Lord.

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