11 "The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."
Jesus. God incarnate. Came… for Good Friday. In growth group we are reading John 11. The story of Lazarus. Jesus said “Lazarus is dead. But his story will not end in death.”
So it is with Jesus, himself. His story also, did not end with a horrific death.
I remember sitting in the theater, watching The Passion of the Christ. For the first time. As I sat there, watching them whip Jesus. …I suddenly, internally, began saying: “I am not worth this. This is not worth it, just for me.” Over & over & over again. Then, just as suddenly, I felt like Jesus was sitting next to me. Like he was my boyfriend, or fatherly, it felt like he reached over. Put his arm around me, & gently whisper into my ear: “Shut up, Brian”. As one might expect, for the “tone” I felt from his voice, I immediately fell silent.
The other moment [I’m going back further in the movie], is the “creative licensing” moment. The crowd is yelling “crucify him”. Satan is walking in & out among the crowd, staring at Jesus. Jesus seems to be staring back at him. For some strange reason I heard the dialogue from The Matrix Revolutions.
Agent Smith [Satan]: Why Mr. Anderson. Why do you do it? Why bother? [getting angry] Is it for faith? Is it for love? DO YOU EVEN KNOW? WHY Mr. Anderson…why?
Mr. Anderson: [firm authoritative voice] Because I choose to.
A stranger “movie moment” for me was how drawn I was to watch X-men 3: The Last Stand.
I remember driving to the theater, & asking God: “If you have anything to say to me in this film, help me to hear it. To see some part of it through your eyes.”
For those who know nothing of X-men. They are mutants, they have special abilities. To cut to the chase here, Jean has the ability to think things & make them happen. Wolverine [Logan] has, among other things, the ability to spontaneously heal himself. He gets shot, his body pushes the bullet back out of his skin & heals shut. No scar. Jean, in this movie is fighting herself. Her good nature vs her evil, uncontrollable nature. Wolverine is the only one who can withstand her [& not forever, mind you]. Near the end of the movie [on the dvd this chapter is called “because of love” –you gotta love irony.] Jean is standing on a pile of broken stuff. Burned cars, rebar, concrete, etc. She is so angry, that she is basically causing peoples molecules to fall away from one another. Taking people apart, at the cellular level. Slowly, from the outside [skin] down to the bones, & then bones as well. Wolverine, steps out & walks toward her, calling her name. So she focuses on slowly pealing him apart. As she does this he walks up the mound to her. At one point she stops tearing him apart [& he begins to re-grow everything]. She looks at him, as if to say: “have you had enough? You gonna run away now?”. He defiantly steps toward her as if saying “no” with his foot & body language. So she rips into him again. He moans, falls to his knees…& keeps climbing. Finally he stands up, face to face with her.
Angrily she spits out “You would die for them!?!?” with tears running down what’s left of his face “No, Jean… not for them. For you.” In that moment, it felt like Jesus squeezed my arm & whispered: “that’s why we needed to watch this together. See what you mean to me?”
It’s so easy to think “am I valuable? Do I matter? Am I worth anything?”
Jesus is 100% God & 100% man. [no, I don’t understand or fathom it either] So God, died for us.
Moses lead God’s people out of bondage from Pharaoh.
Joshua lead Israel to victory against Jericho.
When God wanted to put a final end to our separation from him. To have our sin paid for, once & for all. He didn’t “farm it out” to someone else. He did it himself.
In Revelations 21:5 It is written: and He that sits on the throne said “behold, I make all things new”
You know, if you’re going to make all things new, death …would be a great place to start.
So, this weekend, when you see a cross… just think, that’s your price tag. That’s how much God wants you. As a guy, it’s easy to say to my wife “I love you to death.”
Jesus says “I love you…beyond it”
I think I'll just end with 2 songs I love by Neal Morse...
Cradle to the Grave