Something about being a CHRISTian gets my attention every day, especially this week. I am telling the world that I am Partnering with Jesus Christ who is my Pattern, Example, Savior, High Priest, and Coming LifeGiver.
Of course it also matters if He is a Distant Friend or an Ever-present Companion. And it also matters if He is my Constant Supplier of energy, hope, and joy—my Partner every moment of the day and night.
How does this all work?
Surely I must listen to Him, study His life, watch how He lived as a member of a subjugated people, how He bore with jealous countrymen/women, how He kept going on a schedule that would wear out anyone else!
Yes, some could say, “He was God, remember!” As if He came to earth to show us how God would do it! To show us a great human being as a marvelous picture to aim at, but nothing more. But to understand me, to understand what I have to go through—no! That is why Mother Mary is our “go-to” guy for she will understand and plead our case! Or take the usual default position: He knows we are sinners and asks us only to believe that He obeyed for us so He can wipe our record clean.
Thank Him that He does not play word games. Thank Him that He doesn’t ask us to “do” something that is really impossible, such as “overcome” and “resist” the devil, and to live a cheerful, obedient life as He did!
Gethsemane was not a play! If ever in His short life He taught us how to trust and call it faith, look again at Gethsemane. No earthly reason to hope that anything would get better! No earthly reason to keep trusting God, His Father! Or to keep believing that He really existed! What kind of evidence could He point to! Thirty-three years wasted! All the crowds that He fed with a few biscuits and perhaps a fish or two! All those villages that saw their sick healed! All those who saw Lazarus living among them! All those who shouted “Hosanna” six days before! What a joke His life has turned out to be!
How often have I really sensed His heartbrokenness? Disregarded by even His friends except His Mom and John who tried to comfort her. Three times He buried His head into Gethsemane’s dirt, weeping for relief, for some sense to it all! There must be a better way to tell the world the Grand Truth . . . but! He was good at giving signs of God’s blessing on others but for Him—silence, nothing, zero!
But He did not give in to the Dark Reality, the Unfairness of it all. All He had to fall back on, the only Rock left was His thirty-three years of learning what His Father was like, really like, above all the dark questions that human beings can and do ask when the heavens seem like brass. All He had was His Old Testament scrolls and His experience.
Jesus in Gethsemane simply showed us how to trust God when everything on earth seems to make no sense. All the sudden illnesses and the endless pain! All the heartbrokenness of a spouse that watches the other chase another! All the parental heartbrokenness watching children ignore Reality
Lots of people I know have had their “happy” days when everything was going right—according to plan! But when the wind turned around, they seemed to fall apart, blaming even God for not answering their prayers. They may have crossed their Red Seas in their lives but all that seemed forgotten when they suddenly found themselves in the Wilderness.
What then? Think Jesus! Think why He earned the right to be our High Priest in the Heavenly Sanctuary. That’s right—in the Heavenly Sanctuary where He as a human being still in his human form! He still lives as our Savior—eager to save us from every dart of the Evil One. Every blast of sin’s consequences! Every sense of being forsaken!
That’s why Paul (IMO) saw all this when He wrote the fourth chapter of Hebrews, verses 14-16: “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (NKJV)
Paul had already laid down his basic Christological principle in his second chapter, vs. 16-18: “For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things, He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be in a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.”
Wow! Could any human being ever ask for more? We all have our Gethsemanes, some sooner, some later. So black the sky, so brassy the heavens—but lo, we have these promises in NT words that Jesus did not have. He really tasted death like we will never have to—even though we may fall into His arms in our earthly sleep. He “tasted Godforsakenness” like we will never have to! Never! Because He was the Pathfinder who showed us how to go through earth’s surprises, earth’s awful dreariness, earth’s frightful long nights. Praise His wonderful job as our Living Savior!
How does this all work? I now know that I do not face any earthy issue, no physical pain or weariness, no human disappointment, no marvelous, almost wonderful temptation in which everything seems so right, that He has not faced. But I know that when I pray for guidance, the Holy Spirit will give me the same counsel and power that Jesus needed in those same circumstances. That’s why He is my Savior today, saving me from those same human Black Holes, the same “reasons” to question the Father with my “whys”? Thank you Father, Jesus and the Holy Ghost! I can’t make it without you!
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/3056