Sunday, April 01, 2012

It Didn’t Have to Happen This Way

Philippians 2: 5-11

The opening gambit has been played. The symbols of the Messiah have both been achieved, and have been subverted from what the people are looking for--no White Military Charger, instead there is a donkey.

Now comes the closing. This is going to leave a mark. Here comes the last supper, where Judas begins his work. Here comes the garden, where Jesus prays and is arrested. Here comes the Sanhedrin, the midnight show trial, the battering, the dragging of the cross, the nails, the lifting, the blood and water, the earthquake, the death.

John 1: In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God, and the word WAS God. Life came into being through him, and all the light of the world came through him. He was in the world, but the world did not know him.

He chose to come to us, so that we would know Him, and know God through him.

Philippians 2: who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross.

He humbled himself; he was not humbled by anyone or anything else.

He was baptized by John, and John protested that Jesus should be baptizing him. "John, cousin, let it be this way for now", he said. He humbled himself.

Luke 22: Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!’

He chose to participate in the scheme, knowing that the love of God could only be shown with his sacrifice.

Luke 22: ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.’ [[ Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.]] When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief.

He knew it was coming, and like any human being would was anticipating the pain and terror of what death meant. Our faith in God was his certainty, no faith required, because he was God and he was with God, at the beginning. Yet he still did not relish the pain.

Luke 23: Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’ Having said this, he breathed his last.

Jesus was a human being, and he was God. In the beginning he was with God, he was God. He died, and yet he lived. God died, but yet he didn't. Thus we declare the mystery of the faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

When he died, he chose humanity. He chose us.

When he rose, he chose us.

When he comes again, he will be choosing us.

It didn’t have to happen this way.

He came, offering love, made himself into a human being, even. It could have gone anywhere from there.

He could have called down the angels to defend him.
He could have cried out to Elijah.
He could have spoken in the Sanhedrin, and defended himself.
He could have jumped the low wall in the garden, and run back to Mary and Martha’s place.
He could have ridden into Jerusalem as the conqueror they wanted him to be.
But that was not why he was here.
He came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly.

It became clear that the full evidence of love for this stiff necked people, the entire measure of proof, was what was required. But because of that, we have the knowledge that our God is a God of all, even that which is outside the boundaries of reason and science. Outside and inclusive of hell and death.

So now we know. Our God does more that create the universe. Our God knows us and loves us. This week reminds us of that. May it be a full and reflective week for us all. Amen.

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