Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Weak Jesus

            “When Jesus said this, one of the officials standing nearby struck him in the face. . . . Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.  The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. . . . And they struck him in the face.”  (John 18:22, 19:1-3)

            Jesus, our Lord and Savior, didn’t do what we would expect a Lord and Savior to do.  It’s not like in the movies.  When the soldiers were coming at Him, He didn’t raise a hand and blow them back with some sort of force, knocking them down unconscious.  He didn’t use fancy martial arts moves to take down a whole room of soldiers, leaving only Himself standing in the middle while everyone else groaned in pain on the floor. 
            No.  Jesus - our Lord and Savior, God in the flesh, Creator and Sustainer of all – took a beating.  He let Himself be mocked and beaten and spit on and dragged away and crucified.  And He didn’t fight back.  The strongest person in that room looked the weakest.  The chicken at the bottom of the pecking order. 

            And even as He hung on the cross, He didn’t suddenly shine with a bright light and raise up off the cross and rise above everyone else, sending out pulses of electricity to kill all those who just cheered for His death. 

            No.  Jesus, our Lord and Savior, hung there, naked and humiliated, a laughingstock for all to see.  And instead of exercising power or seeking revenge from the cross, He offered forgiveness to the thief next to Him and asked that God forgive those putting Him to death.  He took the position of a weak, tortured criminal/servant who sought the good of others, even as He hung there dying, instead of being a “movie” kind of hero who shows His strength and power at the last minute, thrashing all the bad guys, causing the audience to erupt in wild cheers. 
            He looked weak and incapable of doing anything else, just as He looked incapable of fighting back when the soldiers were beating and mocking Him. 
            Maybe that’s why people today don’t like Him much and don’t honor Him, why they don’t see Him as Lord and Savior.  Even today, they mock Him and beat Him.  Because . . . He lets them.  He seems weak, incapable of doing anything great and powerful.  And that doesn’t look like much of a god to most people.  They want to see Him glowing with bright light, sending lightning bolts out of His eyes, rising up in the air above all, dishing it out to those who deserve it.  Instead, He died on the cross, naked, weak, mocked, and beaten.
            But just wait!  That meek, little, sacrificed lamb will eventually return as a victorious King with a sword in His mouth, separating those who believe from those who don’t.  He will show the world that He is God, that His humiliating death was the key to winning the battle over Satan and was the only way to ensure heaven for those of us who believe, and that He is most definitely not weak and incapable and at the mercy of any of us.  And no one will be laughing at Him then. 
            No.  We will all be bowed too low before Him to laugh at Him.
            “we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.  It is written: ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’  So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.”  Romans 14:10-12
            Someday, those who reject Him in this life will be shaking in their boots as they gaze upon the Lion.  The Victorious King.  But for now, they laugh and mock.  Because they feel higher than Him, taller, stronger, more intelligent, more capable.  And they laugh and mock because He lets them laugh and mock.  He lets them laugh and mock even as He desperately calls out to them, holding out His hand, offering the salvation that comes through His blood, through belief in His blood. 
            Even though He is laughed at and mocked still today, He is not out for revenge or to prove Himself to us.  No, instead He loves us still, even the mockers and haters.  And He reaches out His hand to everyone and He grabs onto and lifts up anyone who is strong enough to admit their weakness, to admit that they need His help, to reach up and grab the hand He is holding out for them. 
            But whoever refuses that hand, the salvation He offers, might be laughing now but they will cry later.  When He finally does show Himself to the world, proving that He is God and the only way to salvation.  And those who cry out to Him now in their need and weakness will laugh later.  Not at Him, but with Him.  Because of Him.  Because they will meet their Savior face-to-face and their joy will be complete and they will find eternal rest.