Who He Is and Why He Came
Jerusalem, 30 AD
By any measure, Jesus led a tragic life: rumors of illegitimacy, taunts of insanity from his family, rejection by most who heard him, betrayal by his friends, the savage turn of a mob against him, a series of justice-mocking trials, execution in a form reserved for slaves and violent criminals. A pitiful story, to be sure, and that is the heart of the scandal: we do not expect to pity God. – Philip Yancey
In Biblical times, according to Roman Law and Jewish Law, a servant could be forced to do just about anything with one exception: it was illegal to make a servant wash one’s feet. That was deemed far too demeaning and degrading for any segment of society.
How perplexed the masses must have been to discover the Jewish Messiah wielding a towel rather than a sword. They expected Him, after all, to overthrow the powers that had long since oppressed their people, the mighty Roman Empire. That’s why on Palm Sunday, the multitudes were screaming at the tops of their lungs: “Hosanna in the Highest! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!” And yet, on the eve of His greatest triumph over His enemies, the weapon of choice to change the world as we know it was a common household towel.
“Jesus got up from supper and laid His outer garments aside, and He took a towel and tied it around Himself. Then He poured water into the basin and began washing the disciples’ feet and wiping them with the towel which He had tied around Himself…..‘Truly, truly I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.’” (John 13:4-5; 16)
It’s no surprise to find those same multitudes once again screaming at the tops of their lungs a mere five days later: “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Our Lord did not come to do their bidding, and they seethed Him because of it.
Philip Yancey’s suggestion holds true now as then: “Perhaps we should say ‘Christ is the pattern’ rather than ‘Christ is the answer,’ because Jesus’ own life did not offer the answers most people are looking for.”
Today you may find yourself perplexed about the onslaught of hardships disrupting much of your life. It is confusing for sure, much like the confusion the multitudes faced trying to figure out Jesus. You want answers. You’re wondering where God is in all of this. Well, I can assure you God is in the exact same place as He was 2,000 years ago when His Son endured the agony and pain: On His throne reigning the Universe according to the perfect pleasure of His will.
Christ did not come to do your will, but His will be done. And until you accept His ways on His terms exclusively, you’ll be sorely disappointed in life and embittered in your faith. Rest in Jesus for Who He is and not Who you want Him to be so that it may go well with you during this holiest of seasons.