When the hour came, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.
The lesson might be that those who take a risk, for love and in faith, receive a blessing. The ones who stayed away were loved the same, but missed out on something because of their fears.
And it is the same with us. Life continually presents opportunities for us to take a risk, act in love, serve somebody and go against our fears. We get to choose. The light is green and a blessing awaits us if we will act, but we are still loved if we are passive, afraid or selfish.
Mary was the first person that Jesus commissioned to speak on his behalf. And Jesus sent her to testify, to the men and share the word of God to them. Jesus is countermanding the rules of men that do not permit a woman to give testimony and do not permit a woman to share the word of God, with men.
Backing up, to the Via Dolorosa, have you thought about Simon of Cyrene? Imagine he is you. What was his experience and how does it apply to us?
He was curious. Curiosity is completely neutral. He was just in the crowd.
You and I are in the crowd or we have been in the crowd in life. Suddenly and without warning you are chosen for something that is in the spotlight and might be embarrassing. What is hard to wrap your mind around is that a person called you and pretty much made you do this and it is embarrassing, but that unsavory task is really for Jesus.
This thing you have been called to do is not what you signed up for, not what you had in mind and it is embarrassing. You are annoyed, saying, “Why is this happening to me?”, and you feel really not ready, not trained and not prepared for this. This is not at all what you planned on!
Remember that the theme I am considering is plans, God’s plan and our plans intersecting with all of the detours and unforseen circumstances of life. There are unplanned pregnancies, sudden job loss from firing or layoffs, unexpected losses of people or things, accidents, natural disasters, theft and many other things that ruin your otherwise happy life.
A large percentage of people who are in love and get married end up divorced. Bad things happen in their lives. Many small decisions are made that result in separation and estrangement from a person who was once the person you loved the most in the whole world.
Was that God’s plan? No. Is God with you when your plans are spoiled? Yes.
Simon of Cyrene’s experience is an ‘in your face’ illustration of someone’s plans going awry and them facing an assignment that they never wanted that confuses them and embarasses them.
No other human being but this Simon has had the opportunity to help Jesus, in this way, at that time when Jesus was in agony and suffering.
Simon helping Jesus, against his will, is a picture of authentic ministry. It is not prestigious, lucrative, performed to applause, nor clean. It is dirty, bloody, embarrassing and filled with misunderstanding.
Authentic ministry is to and for Jesus and it is done today in the most dirty places that are unprestigious, not on stages, with blood, dirt and tears and very embarrassing to our pride and selfishness.
The highest call that we are all called to but few of us answer that call, is the call to be a slave to Jesus, child of God and friend of God. I would imagine that people argue about these three, about which one is the top.
I would say that since Mary cared so much about Jesus and went to the tomb, that Jesus saw her as his friend: Lord and Savior and friend. I’m not sure if being his slave is a higher calling that we are all called to or if it is a three fold calling of child, slave and friend.
This is our identity. Many people want to be famous and there is nothing wrong with that and Christians should be the famous ones. But what are you famous for and did you get famous through him and his love or some other way and was that other way selfish and hurtful to other people?
Have you found out who you are in the Bible? I mean which Bible characters do you identify with or which ones has God given you a calling similar to?
There is no one in the Bible who desired fame or wealth who ended well. There is no leader in the Bible who had the need to be in charge so much that he pushed others out of the way and was controlling, who ended well. And there is no one in the Bible who talked but did not listen who ended well.
Easter is about God’s plan colliding with our plans and the Devil’s plans, and with God winning. We either get to oppose God or die with God. We either get to be monumentally frustrated and become jaded, cynical, carnal and at a loss of faith; or we can die and experience God’s new life for us.
What if being born again is not an event, but a process? What if being born again means to follow God’s call and the life of God in us, to start over in every area of our lives? What if being born again means to begin a new life that is continually renewed and starting over with God’s life in my life?
What if what God has always been after with believers is changed hearts, but we have continually resisted changing our hearts and have sought to please God and others through actions without inward change and the dying with Christ, which is the only path that leads to his resurrection life, which is the Christian life?
God’s plan has always been to bring his plan or his life out of your inward life, through your death and his resurrection. We were never meant to just believe in the resurrection of Jesus, but to also live in his resurrection life, in our lives.