EASTER. It is that time of year, again.
We will all, no doubt, follow Jesus on His journey from entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to the crucifixion, five days later, on Golgotha, just outside that same city. As with the Christmas story, we can be over familiar with its details, and in our presumption, it is possible to miss what God might want us to see.
…‘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 9:23)
What does taking up our cross look like for me, for you? We know that we won’t physically have to bear the weight of a wooden cross, heavy and roughly hewn, so cumbersome and awkward to carry. We will not be publicly crucified and are unlikely to be put to death.
As I ponder His cross and see what took Him there, I glimpse the possibility of what mine might also look like – the jealousy of others, the criticisms, misunderstandings and betrayal. Jesus was judged wrongly amidst the mistaken expectations of those who knew Him and of those who knew Him not.
With this I can identify – these, I have dealt with before, very occasionally, well with mercy and patience, but more often than not, with anger and outrage. Triggered pain from unhealed wounds, lying deep and dormant, rushes up to greet me and the onslaught reminds me that I am broken. I lash out. I expose the weakness of others in order to feel better about myself. I defend and justify my actions and my words. These violent scenarios more often than not, play out in my head, but nonetheless, this is my indignant and very real reaction, whether real or imagined.
But Jesus did not need to defend Himself; He did not have to justify His actions or His words; Jesus could remain silent. He was the perfect Son, so secure in the affection of His Abba Daddy – so confident in the good, good will of the Father, so rooted and grounded in the love of God, that there was no need to say even a word.
‘I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you’ (John 14:18)
His coming to me has changed everything and yes, even my orphan tendencies are gradually diminishing as I embrace sonship, but they still rise up from time to time. They hit me in the face and surprise me when I least expect it – this then is my cross – to bear with grace and humility the process of death to self. Dying to the right to be heard, to be loved, to be acknowledged, to be seen, to be significant.
For me, it is a hard and torturous road, but certainly far less so than the road so beautifully walked by the Son of God.
Thanks to Wesley Tingey @wesleyphotography for making this feature photo available freely on Unsplash.