In the Anglican church we attended yesterday the gospel portion was Luke 9: 18 – 24 in which Jesus asks the disciples who the crowds think he is and then who they think he is. The crowds see a prophet, the disciples see the Christ of God, the long awaited Messiah.
Sounds great but who exactly is this Messiah? Even Peter and the disciples got it wrong. They expected an earthly king. Someone who looked a little like the Roman generals only better. Jesus’s description that follows was far beyond their comprehension.
And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:22,23)
The idea of a vulnerable God who willingly exposes himself to suffering, pain and death is hard for all of us to believe. A God with an aching heart who walks amongst the poor, eats with prostitutes, heals lepers, stands with the marginalized, this is the kind of God we still tend to reject. This is the kind of God who is still beyond our comprehension. That Jesus asks us to become like this is often even more incomprehensible.
The closer we walk to Jesus, the closer we move toward the love of God, the more aware we become of the fact that our God is not the arrogant “godlike” character we expect. Out of my meditations yesterday I wrote this prayer:
God you made yourself vulnerable,
Shown us your aching heart,
Open to abuse and contempt,
Willing to be scarred,
Accepting death as a criminal.
This is your love,
This is your faithfulness,
This is you revealed in Jesus Christ.
May we see and give thanks,
So my question for today – how do we embrace this God, this vulnerable One with a broken heart and nail scarred hands? And then how do we follow him?