A woman sat at His feet and poured her very best, most expensive bottle of perfumed oil over them. She had just finished washing them with her tears and drying them with her hair.
Another woman had been talking with Jesus at the one well everyone in that area had to use, then ran through her town, shouting with happy excitement. He was a stranger to her, and political correctness would have Him not even acknowledge her. He knew things no one could, and told her He knew she was living with a man she was not married to as well as how many times she had been married before. Even with that knowledge, He still talked to her, told her how to get Living water.
A man, cursed with life long blindness, looked around with a new perfect, clear view. Jesus had just picked up some dirt, spit in it, and rubbed it over the man’s eyes.
Jesus grew weak after walking through a crowd of people. Why? Because of one woman, compelled by desperate belief in the miraculous healing that coursed through Him propelling her to humbly, quietly just touch the hem of His robe. She didn’t want to disturb Him, but knew in her heart of hearts He could fix what money and doctors could not.
Most often we look into the recorded happenings of Jesus with the expectation that we can identify with the ones who interacted with Jesus. We expect that Jesus will identify with us, after all He left perfection to be born as we are, and live as we do.
How can we identify with Him? How many times have we experienced anything like He did?
We expect we should be the focus of His attention, that He can understand us and make excuses for where we lack. We expect that He will reach out to us with love, kindness, healing, forgiveness and understanding.
Jesus told His friends, the ones who followed Him and half-heartedly listened to His wisdom and truth, that one who broke bread with Him would betray Him. We always look at Judas as the betrayer. He sold Jesus out for 30 silver coins. But, what about Peter? Peter also betrayed Jesus, and throughout recorded accounts, Jesus felt a closeness with Peter that He did not feel with many. Yes, Judas betrayed His life, but Peter betrayed His heart, His loyalty, His trust. Can we identify with Jesus? Or do we most often put ourselves in the shoes of Peter, with all our explanations and excuses for His behavior? He was afraid for his life, after all.
And Jesus was dying on the cross in Peter’s place as Peter denied knowing Him 3 times.
Jesus made it clear that if we deny Him before men, Jesus will deny us before His Father.
I think it’s pretty clear: that is a touchy area with Jesus. He has made His terms crystal clear: if we sincerely value Eternity with Him, we need to cling to Him, no matter what. Eternity with Jesus is the reality that needs to remain the focus and purpose of our earthly lives.
As the saying goes: “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” _ C.T. Studd
It seems apparent to me, a big chunk is missing from American Christianity– identifying with Jesus. Our culture is so far removed from everything His life on earth was immersed in. His Heavenly mindset. We worry about the things He told us not to worry about. We place vanity above sacrifice. We love ourselves far more than any of our neighbors. We let money be our “master”. We think more highly of ourselves than we ought, about our “rights”, our “privileges”, what we “deserve”.
If we ever identify accurately with Jesus, we will come to that sobering realization– what we have deserved was exactly what He took in our place.
Death on the cross.
Because of Him, we no longer deserve that, because He broke the curse of death that was on all mankind until God rose Him up from the grave on that third day.
We have rights because Jesus made the way for us to. We have rights because God created us to have them. We are given privileges through what Jesus has done on our behalf. Because He is mediating on our behalf even now as He sits at the right hand of God the Father, we now have God’s favor on us. It’s never been in and of ourselves we’re granted the abilities to become privileged, or have them bestowed upon us.
It should be a constant sobering thought as we ceaselessly pray, that as we enjoy our lives, many in other countries are being called upon to be martyred.
Not because God demands that of us, but because of that friendship with Jesus. Because of that loyalty to Him.
Because He first loved us.
Because He willingly took the punishment death had planned for us.
How can we possibly say we can identify with Him in that? No one has ever done such a selfless thing. No one has ever loved those who hated Him while He was taking our punishment from death, a punishment He never should have been given. He never once stepped into the realm of sin. He stayed outside of it, demonstrating for us how walking with God helps us also to step outside of, to stay outside of, the realm of sin and of death.
Jesus took the sting out of death that robbed mankind of eternity with God. He took it, and He now has control of that. He has set the standards. He told us that when we go to God through Jesus, we can live in Eternity. When we allow Jesus to rule and reign over our lives.
He is no dictator.
He is kind. He is generous. He is beautiful. He is loving. He shows mercy and forgiveness, consistently.
I would much rather trust Jesus with the keys to death and Hell, than the devil. Satan has our best destruction on his mind, consistently, constantly.
Jesus has our best interest at heart.