Monday, March 7, 2016
“I am fallen, flawed and imperfect. Yet drenched in the grace and mercy that is found in Jesus Christ, there is always His strength.” ― Adam Young
As we approach Easter, let me give you an alternative vision of the Christ. I base this on what was said and done and just as much on what was not said. You see, I believe in a very strong Jesus, almost a superhero, but if I can see the strength I believe He had--in humans in this century, I think my vision has real truth in it. I don’t think Jesus was ever afraid or scared. In the garden at Gethsemane, when He asked if the cup could be passed from Him, I don’t think for a minute He was afraid of the beatings or the crucifixion. I think, believe that He wanted more time to complete His mission. He knew the disciples weren’t ready—and they weren’t—the ones He asked to stay awake with Him were asleep. They were always arguing amongst themselves about who was the most important and never seemed to really “get” who Jesus was and what He was about. I have seen people suffer horribly but never give in to cowardice or fear but maintain their strength to the very end. I just don’t buy the defeated looking Jesus that movies and television show us. When He was on the cross, He didn’t really believe God has deserted Him, what He said, thirsty beyond belief and very tired, was the first verse of the 22nd Psalm intended for the Hebrews in the crowd—it is even always left in Hebrew and never translated. If you read the 22nd Psalm (go do that now), you will find a very good description of the crucifixion, but you will also find a psalm that ends on a triumphant note talking about generations yet unborn who will know peace. My Jesus is more like a Navy Seal who knows his mission, knows the limitations of his team, and still fights on to complete it. The picture at the right is how I think of Him. Strong, and never giving in to doubts—except maybe doubts about how His disciples are going to perform in His absence. We know now how they fled, how Peter denied Him, how Thomas doubted, and how at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit finally gave them the understanding and strength they needed to complete Christ’s mission. And look at what a good job they did, today Christianity is the world’s largest religion with over two billion adherents. I think, and you can disagree with this, that we surprised God by how completely we embraced the good things that Jesus taught and lived. I once asked one of my professors in seminary if he thought God could be surprised. He said, “In your case, Charles, . . . shocked!” I will never believe in a weak or wavering Jesus and you shouldn’t either.