THE REAL CINDERELLA MAN

“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him…But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Isaiah 53:2, 5 (written 700 B.C.)

 

Once upon a time a handsome prince danced the night away with the most enchanting woman!  Her name was Cinderella. The prince knew from the moment he took her into his arms and looked deep into her eyes that he had found true love. She was his beautiful princess; the one he couldn’t live without!  But just as quickly as she came, she soon vanished!  When the clock struck midnight she fled from his arms, leaving behind only her glass slipper.

“And so, with the same grace and beauty that had carried her across the dance floor nights before, she walked across the room, and slipped perfectly into her glass slipper.”

The prince was devastated.  His family was putting heavy pressure on him to take a wife of noble heritage. But he wanted to marry for love! He despised the idea of marrying someone out of obligation or duty. The prince became desperate. He decided he would rather die than live without this Cinderella. So he sent his men throughout the city, and taking her glass slipper, they set out to find the one whose foot was a perfect match. As you might imagine, every privileged woman in town lined up to try on the slipper, hoping for a chance to marry the handsome prince. 

Cinderella was anything but privileged. She didn’t even have real parents or a real family. She was a stepdaughter. She didn’t own beautiful gowns or expensive jewelry. She spent her days serving her ungrateful step sisters, as a lowly house maid. As a matter of fact, when it came time to try on the slipper, her evil step sisters locked her in the attic. They didn’t want Cinderella to try on the slipper!

But seemingly the divine hand of providence compelled the prince’s men to ask, “Is there anyone else?” And so, out of the dark, dusty attic, appeared a soft and gentle light; Cinderella, dressed in humble rags. But could she really be the one? Surely one look at her tattered appearance was enough to dismiss her as a princess. Perhaps her dirty servant’s foot might even soil the slipper. But the prince’s men were wise, and they insisted, “Go ahead Cinderella, have a try.” And so, with the same grace and beauty that had carried her across the dance floor nights before, she walked across the room, and slipped perfectly into her glass slipper. And you know the rest of the story. The prince found the one he couldn’t live without; his beautiful Cinderella. And they lived happily ever after.

“Cinderella reminds me of another story, found in an old dusty book, often kept in the “proverbial” attic, which some have said is only a fairy tale.  It’s the story of a lowly man named Jesus…”

Perhaps we’re not quite as handsome, but we’re a lot like this prince. We can feel it; we too are running out of time. We grow up feeling the pressures of family, friends, culture, and religion; all telling us what to believe, how to live, who to become. But deep inside, we’d rather die than conform. We desperately long to marry for love! We despise the life of joyless duty and obligation; rotting in bondage to religious compulsion. We want to be free; to see our soul soar like a bird. We long to run through green meadows, and feel the sun on our face, and the dew on our bare feet. We’d rather die than live without Cinderella.  She is the one we were destined to love, and the one we know deep inside that we cannot live without.

Cinderella reminds me of another (greater) story, found in an old dusty book, often kept in the “proverbial” attic, which some have said is only a fairy tale. It’s the story of a lowly man named Jesus, and in this book, he is called “a light shining in the darkness.” I’ve often wondered what iface of crucified Christt was about this LIGHT named Jesus that drew such large swarms of people. Perhaps it was his warmth.  Everywhere he went, huge crowds pressed in, captivated by his presence. It almost seems magical, yet we’re told there was nothing special about his appearance.  Truthfully, Jesus came into the world a lot like Cinderella. He was born into very “humble” circumstances. By this, I mean, he landed all sticky and wet in a bed of itchy hay, while steam rose from his body in the cold bitter air of an open barn (or cave), as the donkeys cheered him on with hee-haws and stomping hooves. Joseph wasn’t even his real dad, and they were so poor they could only afford a small dove for their Jewish sacrifices. The story is a bit strange at this point. It claims that Jesus was divine; the one who made everything out of nothing, but that he then “made himself nothing,” and became a lowly servant, born in the likeness of man. I admit this part seems a bit like a fairy tale. I mean, I have a hard time believing any man is willing to make himself as a lowly servant! But Jesus did!

“Look again! Your search for Cinderella is over. Beneath the dirty rags and mangled flesh of the one called Jesus, lies the beautiful Savior of the entire world!”

Perhaps some of my dear friends have already taken one look at the tattered ugly Christ, and dismissed him as a Savior. But Matthew tells us in his gospel that Jesus came into the world to save his people from their sins! And so today, I want to tell you, “Look again!” Your search for Cinderella is over. Beneath the dirty rags and mangled flesh of the one called Jesus, lies the beautiful Savior of the entire world!  How do I know this? Because God has provided us a glass slipper!  By one man’s count, there are 191 Messianic Prophecies in the Old Testament (predicting the coming of Christ, hundreds, even a thousand years before he came!)  According to Dr. Peter Stoner, a mathematics professor in California, the odds of any one person fulfilling just 8 of those 191 prophecies in his lifetime is one chance out of 1 hundred million billion!  Slim! Yet we can go to the Bible, which Dr. Voddie Baucham calls “a reliable collection of historical documents written down by eye witnesses during the life time of other eye witnesses…that claim to be divine rather than human in origin,” and we can see that CHRIST fulfills every one of these 191 prophecies. In other words, His foot, and his foot alone, fits the glass slipper perfectly! Jesus is the Real Cinderella Man! He is our beautiful Savior; the one we cannot live without!  Run to him today, be taken into His arms, look deeply into his eyes, and know that you have found true love. Jesus said in John 17:3 “this is eternal life, that you may know…ME!” And you know the rest of the story….they lived happily ever after.

 

*Written August 18, 2009.  Pulled out of the attic for Passover & Resurrection Sunday (also known as Easter)!

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