John Ortberg begins Chapter 13 (“Friday”) of Who is This Man? by noting that Jesus’ death is central to His story in an unusual way. The story of Jesus’ death takes up about one-third of each Gospel, in comparison to biographies of famous people like Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King, Jr., where their assassinations comprise just a tiny part of their story.
The author states that at least two forces were working to crush Jesus: (1) Rome believed Jesus had to die because He was a threat to Rome; (2) the crowds in Jerusalem waiting for a leader who would revolt against Rome and overthrow the government. Both forces impatiently tried to take matters into their own hands. Jesus, in contrast, fervently prayed that God’s will would be done. As Pastor Ortberg states:
“Out of his remarkable brilliance, breathtaking courage, and inexplicable love, Jesus sized up a situation that defeated every human attempt at correction.”
It’s natural for us to respond to our ministry downsizing or vocation loss with impatience and frustration. We fantasize about taking matters into our own hands. Yet Pastor Ortberg reminds us how Jesus transforms our lives:
“The cross was changed from the symbol of a human empire’s power into a symbol of the suffering love of God. It was changed from an expression of ultimate threat into an expression of ultimate hope.”
Today’s question: Why is taking matters into our own hands counterproductive to Christ’s transformation of our lives? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: Living “between the trees”