Jesus didn’t look like a saint. Jesus didn’t look holy. He hung out with prostitutes and drank too much wine. He was a convicted criminal. He was given the death penalty. And he died under God’s curse.
Jesus looked like a sinner.
We know we’re sinners, yet we spend so much time and effort trying to convince ourselves and others we’re not that we end up seeing ourselves as better than “those people”. There’s a very biblical word for this – self-righteousness – and I don’t think I need to remind you who Jesus reserved that word for. (Clue: they weren’t the good guys.)
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”