Thursday, March 31, 2011

Jesus, The Real Deal

"Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done." - Jesus

How could Jesus want anything but God's will to be done? This quote is so proving to be so pivotal in my understanding of Jesus. He was no halo-clad, blonde-haired, beautiful saint in a toga. Jesus was a real man, with real struggles. Jesus' struggle was profound.

In the Garden of Gethsemene, in his anticipation of the cross and the rupture of his relationship with his father, I can't even begin to plumb the depths of his anxiety, fear, and troubled-spirit. Can you imagine sweating blood? I can't, and I've dealt with some pretty fear inducing stuff, like tasting "tootie-fruitie" ice-cream for the first time (my fear was well founded).

In Jesus' experience in the Garden there is some stuff we do know. He was anticipating the loss of a parent, the loss of life, the reality of torture and deep-spiritual darkness. This last had to be the worst, for he was facing pure, undistilled evil. And he was facing it as a human.

I've never really given this too much thought. That Jesus didn't somehow have super-strength to endure the cross and ensuing hell. We find in scripture that he had to face it fully human, and as fully God. The fully God part only made it worse, not better. He was capable of experiencing infinate pain that goes, umm, infinitely beyond our feeble imaginings.

All of this taken into consideration, we have in Jesus, illustrated by this quote, someone who knows temptation towards self-preservation. And to the degree that I'm capable of being honest with myself, self-preservation defines my life. What I want, when I want it, I need and if I don't get it, you'll pay.

Jesus now lives in me. So there's severe tension with my self-defining attitude. Great tension. People who think that the Christian life is easy, haven't yet faced themselves. We are bent on evil, Jesus is bent on good. A battle ensues. But Jesus is tender with us in the battle as he knows what it's like to be tempted after something other than God's plan.

That's what I find in this verse. A fierce declaration of loyalty in the fiercest storm of temptation this world has ever know. I don't think I'm using hyperbole. In Jesus we get the real deal.

For the longest time, my whole life on and off, I've thought that we get a weirdo who floats around and lives on a different plane than the rest of us. That goes utterly against the incarnation, and the experience Jesus went through. As my eyes are opened to reality of what happened at the cross, my temptations begin to go all fuzzy. That's what I'm counting on anyway...

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