Links Daily Devotional

Our Lord, Part 1

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. (Isaiah 53:2b, NIV)

It’s hard not to love the story of East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, where the PGA Tour Championship will again be played later this month.

East Lake was the home course of Bobby Jones, the most venerable amateur golfer of all time. Jones, of course, matured to be one of the game’s greatest benefactors, too, giving us not only East Lake but Augusta National and a legacy of rich golf tradition. Built in 1908, East Lake reached its earlier zenith when it was refurbished and hosted the 1963 Ryder Cup matches.

Soon after, however, white flight to the Atlanta suburbs sucked the wealth out of the surrounding neighborhood, and “the projects” grew up around a golf course that fell into deterioration. By 1990, the course “had no beauty or majesty to attract” golfers. It lay in perpetual disrepair.

The wonder of the story is that with the concerted effort of the East Lake Foundation, led by Atlanta developer Tom Cousins, East Lake was revitalized beginning in 1993. Rees Jones restored the course to its Donald Ross roots, prominent Atlanta-area corporations committed both to membership and to the revitalization of the surrounding community, and in the end both East Lake Golf Club and its neighborhood were redeemed, brought from an existence of no value to a new zenith.

If you read into this story echoes of the work of Jesus Christ in the hearts of those who turn to him, you haven’t missed the point.

But it was in Jesus first that the work of wonder was done. Born to culturally questionable parentage in a second-rate village, exiled to Egypt for fear of death, brought back to a disdained region of net-menders and shifty shepherds, and a carpenter’s son showing reluctance even to begin a public ministry, Jesus Christ was not “easy on the eyes” as the women might admire nor “broad of bearing” as the men might respect. He was in so many ways entirely unimpressive.

Even today, it is easy for those who dismiss the miraculous in Jesus’ actions and uncover “discrepancies” in his teaching to say of Jesus, “So what? Even if he did exist, he was no big deal.” To which we can humbly reply, “Of course not. The prophet told us that long before he was ever born.”

If you’re looking at Jesus only as a human specimen, you will always be disappointed. You must see all the way to his death to find why there are those who fall on their knees and call him, with all love and respect, “Lord.” Yes, it was at the cross that the wonder of Jesus reached its zenith.

Jeff Hopper

September 2, 2013

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