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Something Beautiful: Mumbai 2018

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HEBREW ideas of Beauty

Not Greek, that was outward or physical. in OT/Jewish World beauty as an outward thing attached to a human is infrequent. "Beautiful" in the visual or aesthetic sense was not a Hebrew value, but one that was Greek.
Now the Pharisees, because they have Levitical justification, turned what was designed to protect, (crippled people not serving in the temple so that they did not fall or bring shame on themselves for being impaired) became something that was perverted into a class definition instead.
God and his creation are said to be beautiful, his attributes and regality, his reign, and Israel as a nation,
is Ways and Plans are said to be beautiful or glorious, but are like grass, says Peter and our beauty is fading like a field flower ,
Physical beauty is rarely mentioned in the OT, and when it is, it is as a characterization, not a characteristic...
; from Zion, God, perfect in beauty shines forth
: beauty fleeting, but a woman who fears God is to be praised,
. Beauty of the King, God is the King
Israel is beautiful
Gods plan is beautiful
Gods People (plural) are beautiful
Fallen Jerusalem is lamented for her loss of beauty, it was "all pleasing to the eye" that were destroyed in this text.
Gods beauty leads to our salvation, it's is not our beauty that saves us and this is not why God saves us, we are saved by his beauty , because of his beauty.

Womanly Beauty in Biblical Texts

Women and Beauty in Scripture
When women are described as physically beautiful in scripture, it has consequences, (Sarah: Abe Lied about her beauty, Jezebel "painted her face", women of questionable moral character are portrayed in the Proverbs as "captivating" but in a dangerous way, not a holy way, Bathsheba "beauty" was what David was drawn the classic example. "the pretty girl" in Proverbs is to be shunned, and is potentially evil or one who leads astray by her beauty.
Hebrews saw beauty as ultimately something that GOD defined, not the EYE of man. Beauty was NOT in the eye of the beholder, but was in the EYES of God

The Temple Complex was Designed to reinforce cultic norms

(204) Now the magnitudes of the other gates were equal one to another; but that over the Corinthian gate, which opened on the east over against the gate of the holy house itself, was much larger; (205) for its height was fifty cubits; and its doors were forty cubits; and it was adorned after a most costly manner, as having much richer and thicker plates of silver and gold upon them than the other. These nine gates had that silver and gold poured upon them by Alexander, the father of Tiberius.
SHOW DIAGRAM: Lets look at the temple for a brief moment
Here you have a gate, called beautiful; why was it was on the side of the city facing the court of gentiles, and was the ACCESS POINT FOR THE LOST. Its beauty was defined by what it opened up, not the way it appeared. THINK:
How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”

#1 The Rhetoric of Ridicule ACTS 3:1-10

Ancient perceptions of disability:
The way the world beats us down, takes away our dignity and self worth. Calls us broken, not beautiful
If I am disfigured, I am no longer beautiful
If I cant do something, then I have no value
If I don’t have any money, then I am of no value
(Archeological evidence of) Crippled dancers feature prominently on Corinthian pots, as, for instance, on an alabastron which depicts a padded dancer with clubbed feet who is about to have his leg pulled away by another dancer—to the side-splitting laughter no doubt of the drinkers witnessing this prank. Whether scenes like these were acted out by genuine cripples or by actors taking their parts makes no difference. Evidently the joke was deemed sufficiently amusing to bear frequent repetition in the artistic repertoire, which presumably reflects its popularity at symposia.
The world we live in wants to define us byu how we look, by what we can do, by whether we are pretty, or smart, or useful, or make some kind of contribution...what if all that was wrong, an God saw us a completely new way.
A Man at the gate beautiful, that excluded him instead, the gate that should have been a place of hope, a door of hope, was a barrier...until now

Ugly Feet Makes you weak: Another Popular Idea from culture

Adamantius, likewise, comments on the importance of ankles:
Perfect, solid ankles belong to a noble man, those which are soft and smooth to a more unmanly man and those which are very thin to a cowardly and intemperate man. All those who have thick ankles, thick heels, fleshy feet, stubby toes and thick calves are for the most part stupid or mad. (Adam. 7)
The comments about feet (here the more familiar πόδες) are similar:
Those who have well-made, large feet, well-jointed and sinewy, are strong in character; witness the male sex. Those who have small, narrow, poorly-jointed feet, are rather attractive to look at than strong, being weak in character; witness the female sex. Those whose toes of the feet are curved are shameless, just like creatures which have curved talons; witness birds with curved talons. (810a15–22)
Word group signals weakness, a physical deformity was a spiritual liability, Luke as a medical practitioner knew of this prejudice...he knew how untrue it was

Kindness of the King 2 Samuel 9

. Mephibosheth always ate at the table of the King
Davids relationships with Jonathan made this possible, and his mercy to Saul.
2. Grandson of Saul, son of Jonathan, nephew of Mephibosheth (1.) and father of Mica (h), who had numerous progeny (; ).
He was five years old when Saul and Jonathan were slain. The news of these deaths caused his nurse to flee with him from Gibeah; as she hurried, Mephibosheth fell and became permanently lame in both legs (). He was carried to Lodebar and put in the charge of Machir, a man of great wealth (; cf. ; Josephus ), and there Mephibosheth married.
When the affairs of the kingdom had settled down David felt compelled to fulfil his oath to Jonathan () by showing favor to a member of his friend’s house. Ziba, who was probably managing Saul’s estate for David, told him about the crippled prince, and David sent for him. Mephibosheth approached in great fear, for eastern peoples customarily exterminated all the kindred of a previous dynasty. David handed over Saul’s estate to Mephibosheth and commanded Ziba to manage it. The king also invited Mephibosheth to eat daily at his table and thus to live according to his royal position ().
Balchin, J. A. (1979–1988). Mephibosheth. In G. W. Bromiley (Ed.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Vol. 3, p. 320). Wm. B. Eerdmans.
Mephibosheth calls himself "dead dog" as if that were a common title used of those with disabilities. Crippled by sin, but God lets us in...
David shows us what it means to be kind, to love those from whom we cannot get anything. Those who need us.

Compassion Drove Action

The law permitted him to do otherwise, BUT his conscience and his heart kept him from living by the rule of the land, He had a heart over-ride.
Culture did not dictate; his compassion dictated his action
** When I was in High School, Mary Cariola Childrens Center; Summer job, arrange for me by my dad, who worked there as a Doctor, pro bono.
The first time you enter the classroom, the faces, the disfigurement, the needs, the inability to speak, was overwhelming; but over time you begin to connect, and realize that those kids DO communicate, Do respond to love, Do need compassion, ARE HUMAN...some of the most rewarding work I ever did in my life. I still remember the faces of those kids; Timmy Trevette, Danny Sulimowitz and Meg, the other teacher and her seemingly unending ability to see potential and progress where I could only see limitation and failure.
How did she do that? Compassion drove her to action.
Later when I became a christian, i would learn that those kids, though unable to hear and understand the gospel were beautiful to God, and will be with him forever in a place that knows no limitations of body or spirit.
The Name of Jesus Heals when nothing else will do
Money cannot fix our problems
Money cannot make us well, or whole
Money gives the illusion of security, but only Jesus can heal

An Eye for Beauty; Acts 3:12-16

Big Idea: God sees beauty where we see defects. God heals the ugly and brings us into his presence.
Beggar, crippled, ugly, prohibited access to temple and life of community.
Sitting at gate called Beautiful: Corinthian Bronze gate, largest, faced East toward court of women and Gentiles. Only gate that was not gold and silver plated. (irony) This was the gate most familiar to those that were restricted access.
Peter and John; “no silver or gold, but you can walk”
Healing made him able to walk through the Beautiful gate, access the worshiping community.
Silver and Gold did not help. Only the Name of Jesus can make the ugly a thing of beauty.
Beauty and value are not the same things. God sees value in that which is not pretty and God sees beauty in that which is offensive to us, because he sees us through the eyes of Jesus!

Three Closing Ideas

1: You are Beautiful, whatever your situation. God sees beauty in us and wants us to be close to him, to enter into his gates with thanksgiving, so to speak. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, in this case, God.
2: God does not reject us on the basis of ugliness or beauty, He sees the beauty in us, even when others don't. He sees his image in us, and God is beautiful. Our beauty is reflected, not earned or merited.
3: God is unnervingly kind, and wants us at his table. He saves a place for us so that we are not judged based on being disfigured, but on being transfigured. !!
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