March 23, 2013 § 1 Comment
For me, reading the events that led to Jesus’ death is sometimes like watching a movie for the tenth time, hoping yet again that someone would do something differently. It isn’t that I want redemption to be averted, but I hate that Jesus was betrayed – probably because in His story I am freshly confronted by my own daily betrayals.
Last night lowly Florida Gulf Coast University defeated mighty Georgetown University. I’m a native Floridian and never heard of the place! But this is how we want the movie to end, isn’t it. We want the weak to overcome the strong, the picked-on to trounce the bullies, yet every detail of the last week of Jesus’ life was plotted with full awareness that He would be abandoned in His time of weakness. It was God’s plan.
Valiant promises of loyalty from Jesus’ friends were unnecessary, if not impossible, if our Faith is to rest solely on God’s grace. Regardless of Peter’s bold assertions, he would be the first to deny friendship with Jesus. Such are our resolves…
In his book, By Grace Alone, Sinclair Ferguson offers that “The whole story of Jesus’ passion, His arrest, His trial, His suffering, and His public execution is one of appalling loneliness and isolation voluntarily experienced in order to restore us to fellowship with God.”
Even as He hung dying, Jesus cried to the Father out of His sense of forsakenness. This was His path – one He had to journey alone. Betrayed and left with no advocates, only affection would accompany His sorrow – leaving love to be our sole metric for grasping God’s grace.
Would anything else be real?
In this regard, I love Mike Yaconelli’s reflection, “Five years ago I decided to start listening again to the voice of Jesus, and my life hasn’t been the same since. He has not been telling me what to do, He has been telling me how much He loves me.” – Dangerous Wonder.
Something in us wants to hunt down our faults with righteous zeal. Believe it or not, this comes from our darker selves, not the gospel.
Friends, we are unfinished. This means that the road to self-perfection will always lead to disillusionment and self-righteous pride. It is an obsession that wrecks us, and robs us of believing that Jesus didn’t die to make us perfect, but to make us His. And the point of His betrayal and death is not that we blew it, but that even in our darkest moments, through Him and because of Him, we are not alone.
What good news…
grace & peace.