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Whiter than Milk.

Updated: Feb 23, 2020

I can remember walking back one February morning to my dorm amidst something akin to what I’ve always imagined snow would be like on a movie set.  It appeared to stay afloat for however long it desired before making its descent, creating the same effect as a spring morning or an autumn sunset- the effect of something only transiently enjoyed in its season. It took mere seconds of walking through this picturesque scene for my 8-track mind to start playing a melody deeply ingrained in my soul.

Jesus paid it all. All to him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, he washed it white as snow.

In this moment, the gospel I had long since claimed as my own made itself new to me once more. I realized a little more the grand magnitude of a Father’s love and, for a fleeting second, more tangibly felt his unending grace.

I was told once that Ethiopians, when attempting to describe the lengths of Christ’s holiness, would use the comparison ‘whiter as milk.’ At first and honestly still, in part, to this day, this comparison strikes a funny chord with me. Mostly because I do not like the idea of the gospel being in any form milky (I think I view Christ’s love as something warm, hence why I’m not all that eager to chug a glass of this Ethiopian, Jesus milk).  However, this is the comparison that best fits their understanding of Jesus’ amazing love story with them: whiter as milk.

Through various events in my life this week, I have begun to realize that this is the very beauty of the gospel. In John 20, we see for the first time Jesus sharing the power of the gospel in its completely-perfected, post-resurrection state. First, he approaches Mary Magdalene and consoles her in her sadness. Then he approaches the majority of his disciples and gives them the power of the Holy Spirit. Finally, he approaches Thomas and reveals the scars of his all too recent crucifixion. In and of themselves, these events seem normal, at least normal in the peculiar, Jesus sense.

But you see, they mean so much more.

Mary Magdalene had just lost the one thing that was able to reclaim her life from the demons that haunted her. The disciples felt stripped of all their power, hopeless and fear-stricken, locking themselves away from the rest of the world. Thomas, with his objectivity and strong sense of reason, was simply unaware of the good news in front of his face. But Jesus came to them. In the middle of their relentless weariness, broken dreams, wounded hearts and crippling doubts. Jesus met them exactly where they were. Humbly, Jesus made himself exactly who they needed. Mary needed comfort, and the Comforter whipped away her tears. The disciples needed courage, and the Almighty passed on the sword of the Spirit. Thomas needed proof, and the Faithful answered him. From the first day its fulness graced the earth, the gospel of Jesus Christ has met people where they were and, in turn, people have encountered a Jesus that looked so undeniably familiar to the exact thing they so desperately needed. In this way, the gospel does not dilute itself but rather magnifies its greatness in a way that transcends all earthly imagination.

So, whether it comes to you in a blossoming friendship or a devastating departure, the hopeless moments of a sleepless night or the early hours of a bright sunrise, through snowfall or in a milk pail, I pray you continue to find the gospel anew. Its has the power to meet you wherever you are. It's over and underneath, it's inside and in between. He waits for you each day.

One day I will exclude Audrey Assad from a post. Today is not that day.

Humble and Human, willing to bend You are.

Fashioned of flesh and the fire of life, You are.

Not too proud, to wear our skin,

To know this weary world we're in,

Humble, humble Jesus.

Humble in sorrow, You gladly carried Your cross.

Never refusing Your life to the weakest of us.

Not too proud to bear our sin,

To feel this brokenness we're in,

Humble, humble Jesus.

Humble in greatness, born in the likeness of man.

Name above all names, holding our world in Your hands.

Not too proud to dwell with us, to live in us, to die for us,

Humble, humble Jesus.

-Humble, Audrey Assad

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