It is startling to me how often I see people do their best to force Jesus into their tiny little boxes and formulas. Is it not strange that we think the creator of the universe can be contained by our doctrine and weak philosophy? I have been so guilty of this. We all to often give God a set of parameters that we believe He has no right to over step. Truthfully all through history God has been doing things to subvert and over step our formulas and boundaries. He is always revealing to us that He knows far better than we do and simply invites us to trust him. This is something I am thankful for more and more each day. It is as if every day I wake up to find out something I was so convinced was true was actually far from it. I have found new freedom in Christ that my prior set of absolutes would not allow.
The way of Christ almost always seems so counterintuitive to the way we believe the world should function. In the Kingdom it as if Christ has literally turned the world on it’s head; the least are the greatest, the first the last, the marginalized, ragamuffins, and worst of all are invited to the table. The Kingdom is for the poor, the rich, the drunkards, the sober, the stupid, the liars, the angry, the hurt; it is for the abused, and broken, terrorist, and orphans; for the lost, the hopeless, the addicts, and the murderers. It is all encompassing and the most beautiful part of it all is that Jesus does not care if you do not like it! He will not stop until love wins. Until all has been mended.
Pride is truly the killer of mankind. There is a level of arrogance in telling the one who formed you in your mothers womb that you know better than he does. Sadly I have been all to guilty of the act and the more I see the truth the more I see how we have missed the mark on so many levels.
I immediately think of the wilderness temptation. I have heard a ton of sermons from this set of scripture but I think so often we can miss the forest for the trees. Simply put, all of the temptations Satan brought before Christ were the very things that Rabbis had been teaching The Messiah would do when He arrived. Satan was trying to convince Jesus to be the Messiah the world wanted Him to be. In similar fashion all through the gospels we see the same thing happening.
The people of Nazareth could not accept that the messiah was a backwoods hillbilly like them born to a carpenter and his obviously “adulterous” wife.
Which Christ’s family came to seize Him for claiming to be The Messiah, He told them the only family He had were those who would hear and obey His commands.
Even Peter tried to tell Jesus to quiet down with all the “I must suffer many things. And give my life a ransom” nonsense. To which Jesus promptly told him “get behind me Satan.”
The most disturbing scene of all has to be the one of The Triumphal Entry and the public trial before Pilate. On the way into Jerusalem the crowds cried out “Hosanna in the highest…” which is a proclamation of Christ being Messiah. The issue is that it is the proclamation that Christ is the blood-thirsty War King Messiah they have all been waiting for to come and burn Rome to the ground. This is why we have Jesus on the back of a colt mourning for Jerusalem.
“If only you would have know the things that would have made for peace…”
The same multitude who cried out in honor of Christ were the same voices who chanted “Crucify Him!”. All at the revelation that this Jesus refused to bow to the way of Satan and live by the sword. The decline into this state is so easy when we try and force Christ into the small shallow boxes we have built.
We do not have to have all the answers. God never asks us too! We can have questions and doubts! We can wrestle with truth and allow God to make us alive with Him despite the doctrines and formulas we have been forced fed all these years. I told a friend recently that the biggest thing I had to do when I started to follow Jesus was to give up all of my opinions and ideas on how the world should be ran. This is precisely what Jesus offers us in in the beginning of mark,
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Literally, “turn away from your way of thinking and trust me.”. That is the answer to our frazzled state that comes from God stepping over the boundaries we have set. In all the frustration and craziness of it all He whispers “Just trust me.”. This is so beautiful and I am learning day by day to trust Him more and more with my life, my family, the world, and His Kingdom because I know that He knows better than I do. Even if I do not always act like it. Three years ago I prayed a prayer that has changed my life completely. I prayed that Holy Spirit would reteach me all that I thought I knew and it has been a wild and joyous ride ever since! Let us stop putting Jesus in the corner for being who He is. Let us stop having a life crisis when He does not act the
way or do the things we think He should do. Let us trust Him! That is all that He asks of us!
I’ll end with N.T. Wright’s simple yet powerful translation of the above verse,
“Give up your agenda and trust me for mine.”
Through whom, to whom, and for whom all things exist!