From The Garden Bench - Unique
Words by David Hollows
How many times have you been referred to as Unique? Perhaps in jest or even as a barbed comment Perhaps by a member of your family or people at work. Possibly even as a compliment. Certainly to your parents you are so, especially if you have siblings. To your mum, you are one-of-a-kind.
However, be reassured that the scientists inform us that we are; Unique.
Just as each of the billions of snowflakes which fall are individual in their own particular pattern, then no-one in the world, either dead or living or yet to be born, has your individual thumb print or cornea. Hence, in Manchester, access to some of the important buildings is by eye recognition or thumb print. We all have unique numbers which identify us in other different ways; a passport number, your Tax code and NI number. Work-place identity cards have a unique number code – rather like the bar codes on products in our shops.
Yet, what makes you unique? Perhaps you have a birth-mark in a certain place or a particular hair colour. You may have other physically recognisable differences such as your height or the size of your feet.
You will also have a uniqueness of character and personality; you may be quick-tempered, lacking patience or gullible or the exact opposite. In marriage we are told that opposites often attract and this helps a successful relationship as one balances the other.
Also, we all have a uniqueness; the attitudes we have towards others and varying situations, the approaches we adopt. Some of us are good with our hands whereas others do not know one end of the vacuum cleaner from the other. Some of us demonstrate our uniqueness in our choice of colour and style of clothes. Some of us amass certain collectables others live with minimalism.
Like it or not, we are all unique and for some of us, we have yet to recognise our uniqueness; perhaps a coffee with friends might help this journey of discovery. Yet in all of this, had we been the only person on planet earth, ever, Jesus would still have come and died for you.
Photo by Mike Erskine via Unsplash
So what makes Jesus unique?
The Bible tells us that Jesus was born of a virgin (Luke chapter 1 verses 30 to 36) Some people try to deny this but to do so, is to adopt a pick-and-mix approach to the Bible. Certainly His birth is recorded in the Roman Census of the time so w can prove that He lived.
The Bible also confirms for us the unique status of Jesus as being the Son of God ( Luke chapter 22 verse 70) and as witnessed by many at His unique baptism when God spoke to confirm the identity of Jesus (Mark chapter 1 verses 9 to 11).
There are the unique predictions and prophecies about Jesus recorded hundreds of years prior to His birth by Isaiah (Isaiah chapter 53) and by His own contemporaries; Peter confirmed His status as The Messiah (Mark chapter 8 verses 27 to 30) and by the crowds on the entry to Jerusalem – Palm Sunday (Luke chapter 19 verse 29 to 38) His understanding and intelligence were certainly beyond His early years as He held conversations with some of the Jewish scholars of His day (Luke chapter 2 verses 46 and 47).
His itinerant lifestyle, especially during the 3 years of ministry, was unique; He healed the blind (Mark chapter 10 verses 46 to 52) and the deaf and dumb (Mark chapter 7 verses 31 to 35) He cured a leper (Matthew chapter 8 verses 2 and 3) and He so blessed a man so that the man could walk (Mark chapter 2 verses 4 to 12).
There are the unique social event stories; Jesus fed thousands with a small amount of food (Mark chapter 6 verses 35 to 44) and the miraculous stories when Jesus calms a storm (Mark chapter 4 verses 36 to 41) and when He walks on the water (Mark chapter 6 verse 47 to 50).
And there are the key, unique teachings of Jesus; The Beatitudes (Luke chapter 6) as well as the many parables and other stories such as the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke chapter 10) or the Prodigal Son (Luke chapter 15).
There is the death and resurrection of Jesus, again recorded by the Romans. Death by crucifixion was not uncommon as evidenced by the fact that two robbers hung either side of Jesus but the narrative of the crucifixion is different; one of the robbers asked Jesus for a place in eternity which was granted to him even though Jesus had His own pain and destiny to consider (Luke chapter 23 verses 39 to 43) At the point of the death of Jesus, the comment by the Roman Centurion again adds to the uniqueness of the situation and the quick death (Mark chapter 15 verse 39) The heavy curtain in the Temple was torn in two mysteriously and the dead walked in the city (Matthew chapter 28).
Resurrection was not an unexpected phenomenon; Jesus raised His friend, Lazarus, from the dead (John chapter 11) as well as the son of the widow in Nain (Luke chapter 7) and the daughter of Jairus who was a director at the local synagogue (Luke chapter 8) Yet, the resurrection of Jesus was very unique; a heavy stone rolled away, angels with information, linen cloths folded neatly and a Saviour with the crucifixion wounds on His body. (John chapter 20).
For God so loved the world that He gave up His unique Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not die but have eternal life (John chapter 3 verse 16).
Our God loves YOU so much; how unique is Jesus to you?
You may find the following hymns useful to you; Come sing the praise of Jesus (Mission Praise 101) I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene (Mission Praise 296)
Photo by Angela Pantazis via Unsplash
You may find the following prayers helpful;
Lord Jesus Christ, make me worthy to understand the profound mystery of your holy incarnation which took place for our salvation. There is nothing as marvellous as that you, our God, Creator of all things, should become a human in the form of your Son. Jesus, you humbled yourself and became a servant so that we might have relationship with you and we praise you for your sacrifice.
God, you who are the untouchable, in Jesus you made yourself touchable for us. You allowed us to understand your amazing love, the mystery of life, the cross and the resurrection. We thank you.
Blessed are you, our God, for coming to earth as a man; born to die that we might have salvation. Such marvellous and indescribable love! Grant that we might share in that unique relationship Jesus has with you, our Father God.
Christ, our life; you are alive in the beauty of the earth, in the rhythm of the seasons and in the mystery of time and space. Christ, our life; you are alive in the tenderness of touch, in the heartbeat of intimacy and in the insights of solitude. Christ our life; you are alive in the creative possibility, in the dullest conversation, in the dreariest task and the most threatening situation. Christ, our life; you are alive to offer re-creation to every unhealed hurt, every deadened place and to every damaged heart. Christ our life; you set before us a great choice therefore we choose life in you, so let us live.
I believe in God, Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried, he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again, he ascended into heaven where he is seated at the right hand of the Father and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
God bless you