As we enter into holy week, I have been reading the gospels and praying to read Jesus’ words with fresh eyes. His humility and self-sacrifice disarm my heart and move me to gratitude and worship. His love was publicly displayed for all to see, our shame and guilt hung with him on the cross, but he was never ashamed of us.
He listened to the Father and often retreated to pray in solitude (John 6:15, Luke 6:12). Spending time with the Father God, he was intimately familiar with his voice. God’s presence influenced, invaded, and prevailed in his life. When he talked, he spoke of his Father’s tender loving care, not only for himself but for all. Jesus words about God the Father are so confident, knowing his very thoughts and desires. He was God’s very mouthpiece walking upon the earth (10:19-20 and 29-33). Jesus spoke with God’s authority but never spoke outside of what the Father told him to (John 7:18).
More and more it becomes evident of how his life was the complete opposite of what is seen to be successful. Pharisees, Sadducees, political and spiritual leaders, common people, and his own family were very critical and curious of all Jesus did and performed (Mark 3:20-21). To give them some credit, he did some crazy stuff and talked very different than anyone else. Jesus healed on the sabbath (Luke 6:6-11). He encouraged his disciples to not fast while he was there, nor did they follow traditions (Luke 5:33-35, Mark 7:5-8). Jesus equated himself with God (John 5:18), and he healed people from diseases and cast out demons (Mark 1:32-34).
For someone so publicly disruptive, Jesus did not seek personal attention. When he performed a miracle, he would tell them not to speak of it to anyone (Mark 5:42,43). When the attention was given to him over the works he performed, he pointed to the Father (John 10:31-38). Even when the demons declared his authority, and he quieted them to not make him known (Mark 3:12).
Jesus spoke in parables most people didn’t understand (John 6:41,52, Mark 4:33-34). Those who were curious enough to press in further were the disciples. He was hesitant and sparingly spoke to his disciples of his earthly fate (Luke 9:21-22, 43b-45). Jesus knew they wouldn’t understand or support him (Mark 9:30-32). Some of his disciples even walked away, and we know of one (Judas) who betrayed him (John 6:66, 70-71, Luke 18:31-34). Jesus strongly scolds Peter for wishing against his fate (Matthew 16:21-23).
Jesus’ teachings were backward to that time and culture. He often spoke of a private spiritual life, one that does not boast in works but instead worships God in a non-attention seeking way (Luke 18:14). He praised children and encouraged his disciples to posture themselves like little ones (Luke 18:15-15, Matthew 18:1-4). He treated women with respect and equal standing (John 4:7-30, Matthew 14:21-28). He commended those who were weak and vulnerable, yet had faith to believe (Luke 8:42b-48, Matthew 9:1-2, Matthew 9:36). He spent time with “heathens” according to the religious elite (AKA tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners). Jesus draws up an amazing parallel that Christ, like a physician, came to treat the sick and not those who are healthy (Matthew (9:9-13). Jesus didn’t have a home and or a place to lay his head (Matthew 8:20). He didn’t have a newly built home, or a trendy urban condo or apartment. He didn’t have a perfectly mowed grass lawn or a beautiful decorated house. Jesus was all about his Father and accomplishing his will (John 6:38). Ain’t nobody got time for that! He spoke often of his kingdom not being of this world, to not store up treasures here on earth, and sell or give away possessions (Luke 18:22). Jesus encouraged his disciples to not carry a moneybag or knapsack, extra tunic, or earthly possessions (Matthew (10:8-10). Jesus spoke to a man concerned about his inheritance, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life doesn’t consist of the abundance off his possessions (Luke 12:15).”
Jesus lived a holy life. He came to fulfill the law, exactly what Go the Father intended him to do (Matthew 5:17,18).
“And yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.” Isaiah 53:10-11
Jesus words, actions, and lifestyle were the personification of a holy God who’s salvific plan was unfolding. His short-lived earthly life has an everlasting impact that leaves me in awestruck wonder. These are my thoughts, as I imagine our Savior obediently making his last few stops on the way to the cross.