Monday, April 7, 2014

Jesus Loves You, But Not in the Way You Want

I really like my kids just the way they are.  I wouldn't want them to be anyone else.  Even their bad behavior is uniquely them, and, in its own way, precious to me.  The other day my son was mad at me and said he didn't want to live with me anymore.  When I asked where he would go he told me he was moving to Hawaii.  But he wasn't going to do that until he was grown up.  BUT once he was there I wasn't allowed to live with him, but I could visit at Christmas.  So, as punishment, my son was promising to move out when he was an adult(yayyyyy!!!), move to Hawaii(double yayyyy), and, let me visit for holidays(yippeeee). 


My kids are unique, precious and loved by me just the way they are.  But they better not stay this way.  I refuse to be changing diapers for my daughter before she goes of to college.  I will lose it if my future 20 year old son pushes away his dinner plate and yells at his mother that her food is Guhstusting.  I love them right now, just the way they are, and I am working every day to see them grow and change. 

In the Gospel of John, chapter 12, we have the "Triumphant Entry" by Jesus into Jerusalem.  The whole town comes out to see the miracle warrior, the messiah!  Even Christ's enemies feel overwhelmed by his support with the masses and are at a loss of how to deal with it.  But a few days later these same crowds cry for his crucifixion. 

What happened?

Jesus didn't go along with their plans for themselves. 

For hundreds of years the Jewish people had not been a free nation.  Always a vassal state, never a State.  People like Herod were appointed as their local "kings" and their benevolent rulers taxed the daylights out of them.  This is not what the people wanted.  This is not who they believed themselves to be.  They were the children of the Abrahamic covenant.  Not a bunch of oppressed minorities. 

In the century leading up to Jesus' arrival there had been a number of self-proclaimed messiahs.  They would lead somewhat successful rebellions against the powers that be after gathering a large group of "believers/supporters".  It was easy to start a rebellion with the Jewish people.  They were nationalistic, jingoistic and fairly racist.  They had decided that their identity as God's chosen people meant that they were supposed to be the dominant nation and they should crush their enemies.  While they had spent a few hundred years with the short end of the stick, they were waiting for the day when the true messiah would come to them and throw off the shackles of their oppressors.

They, and only they, were righteous and good.  And all things from God were about them.  Their vision of the future is that they did everything right and they wanted God to come to them and make it easier for them to bask in their own greatness as His people.  There was no sense of maybe they had misunderstood the ultimate goal of the Abrahamic covenant, or, its eternal purpose.  It was all about them and only them. 

Jesus was the next great hope for realizing this goal.  He was going to come in and beat up those Romans and establish the Davidic line for all time.  What did Jesus do?  Rode in on a donkey, didn't start a revolution with the thousands canting for him, and peacefully allowed them to lead him off to his execution.  Jesus didn't play their game the way they wanted to play it.  And they hated him for it.

You and I are like this in so many ways.  We like our lives just the way they are.  We want to think, feel and behave just the way we always have.  And if someone challenges us they are intolerant, mean, jerks, etc.  And we want a Jesus who not only complies with this vision of ourselves, but we want Him to help bring it to pass.  The lie we believe is that we are basically just fine exactly as we are, we just need to spice the recipe up with a decent dose of Jesusness. 

Jesus comes in and says, "I love you just the way you are in this moment, but it is not the way you should be, and not the way that, with me, you can be".  We hate that.  Who does he think he is questioning my actions, my beliefs, my lifestyle?

Who does He think He is?......God

My kids are great and I love them in this very moment more than I thought it was possible to love someone.  But I love them too much to be the dad they demand that I be sometimes.  They will not eat candy for every meal.  They will not skip bed time and brushing their teeth.  They can't watch Breaking Bad before they are at least....I don't know....7... ?  Is that a good age for that...?

Are you ready to be loved in a real and life changing way?  Stop demanding that God love you on your terms.  Experience being loved on the terms of the only person who is actually capable of loving perfectly.  Mostly since He IS love.  And guess what, you are going to find out that a lot of what you want for yourself and want Him to do is going to not be what you get.....BECAUSE He does love you.

I've always been confused.  Since His head apparently was always glowing, how come they didn't know who he was???

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