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Summary: The love of Christ is outrageous and we can discover that outrageousness in our own life.

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I HAVE TWO QUESTIONS FOR YOU TODAY. ONE: WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE OUTRAGEOUS? TWO: WHAT EXACTLY MUST HAPPEN IN ORDER TO MEET YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THE TERM "OUTRAGEOUS" MEANS?

FOR SOME OF US, BEING OUTRAGEOUS ARE THOSE THINGS WHICH DEFIES ALL HUMAN REASONING; WHEN IT EXCEEDS THE TYPICAL BOUNDARIES OF NORMAL EXPECTATIONS, OR WHEN IT

DOESN’T SEEM TO MAKE ANY SENSE AT ALL.

ON THE FLIP SIDE OF THE COIN, FOR OTHERS, IT MAY MEAN THAT SOMEBODY DOES SOMETHING THAT’S COMPLETELY UNPREDICTABLE OR THAT RUBS AGAINST WHAT IS CONSIDERED "NORMAL," OR EVEN WHEN IT IS THEIR BEHAVIOR THAT IS OFF.

IT IS WITH THESE FEW UNDERSTANDINGS OF WHAT IS "OUTRAGEOUS" THAT MAKES THE IMAGE OF CHRIST GIVEN TO US IN ISAIAH 53, SO POWERFUL. IT IS SO POWERFUL TO SEE, HUMANLY SPEAKING, HOW OUTRAGEOUS CHRIST WAS TO ENDURE THE SUFFERING, HUMILIATION, SHAME, AND SLANDER OF HIS DEATH.

ISAIAH THE PROPHET GIVES US AN ARTISTIC PICTURE OF WORDS TO POINT US TOWARDS A MESSIAH WHO WAS ACCUSED AND ACCOSTED; WHO WAS BURDENED AND BEATEN; WHO WAS TAUNTED AND TORMENTED. YET, WHAT BECOMES EQUALLY AMAZING, OR "OUTRAGEOUS" IS THE RESPONSE THAT THE CHRIST EXPRESSED.

THE SCRIPTURES TELL US THE JESUS WAS OPPRESSED, AFFLICTED, AND LED LIKE A LAMB TO THE SLAUGHTER, BUT NEVER ONCE OPENED HIS MOUTH. IN ALL THE AFFLICTION THERE NEVER WAS A TIME THAT DECEIT CAME FROM HIS LIPS.

IN TIMES OF TROUBLE AND HARDSHIP, CAN THE SAME BE SAID OF US AS WITNESSES TO THE CHRISTIAN FAITH? HERE’S A TEST: HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN A SITUATION WHERE YOU WERE UNFAIRLY ACCUSED? HAS ANYONE EVER SAID ANYTHING ABOUT YOU THAT WAS UNTRUE?

HOW ABOUT THOSE TIMES WHEN YOU FIND YOURSELF IN A SITUATION WHERE SOMEONE IS BLATANTLY TAKING ADVANTAGE OF YOU? HAVE YOU EVER FELT THAT A TRUSTED FRIEND USED YOU FOR THEIR OWN PERSONAL GAIN?

IN ALL OF THESE SITUATIONS, WHAT IS THE FIRST INSTINCT THAT COMES TO MIND IN HOW TO RESPOND? DO YOU CLINCH YOUR FIST AND GRIT YOUR TEETH? IS YOUR MIND SUDDENLY FILLED WITH ALL KINDS OF SORDID IMAGES IN WHICH YOU IMAGINE YOURSELF PERFORMING UNMENTIONABLE ACTS OF RETALIATION?

WHY DO WE STRUGGLE WITHIN OUR HEARTS TO KEEP FROM WANTING TO LOOK FOR WAYS TO GET EVEN? WHY DO WE FIND A CERTAIN PLEASURE IN DOING WHATEVER IS NECESSARY TO BRING THE OFFENDER DOWN? HUMANLY SPEAKING, WE WANT TO BE THE ENFORCER OF JUSTICE IN OUR OWN DEFENSE.

YET, WITH ALL OF THESE POSSIBLE HUMAN RESPONSES, IT IS PRECISELY WHAT MAKES THE PASSIONATE LOVE OF CHRIST SO INCREDIBLE AND OUTRAGEOUS. IN ALL THAT JESUS ENDURED, HE NEVER ONCE EXHIBITED ANY SORT OF PLANS FOR RETALIATION.

PERSONALLY SPEAKING, IF I HAD THE GOD-GIVEN POWER THAT CHRIST HAD, I AM ASHAMED TO SAY THAT I WOULD FIND SOME SINISTER WAY TO USE IT TO MY ADVANTAGE. BUT JESUS DIDN’T! NOT ONCE DID JESUS USE HIS GOD-GIVEN POWERS TO LASH OUT OR GET EVEN. INSTEAD, HE USED THEM FOR GOOD.

COUNTLESS TIMES WE SEE JESUS USING HIS GOD-GIVEN POWERS TO HEAL THE SICK, RESTORE SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO CAST OUT DEVILS AND TO RAISE THE DEAD BACK TO LIFE AGAIN. YET, IN ALL THAT HAPPENED, JESUS DID NOTHING TO REVEAL ANY INCLINATION TOWARDS RETALIATION.


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