Upon my Easter reflection this year the thing that stands out to me is the humility of Jesus. If I were him think I would have just avoided the cross all together and fixed things. Or maybe at least pointed out how I had tried to fix things, and how if it wasn’t for all the sinful people around maybe everything would be better. But thank heaven I am not the Messiah. Instead, he chose to allow us the choice, and we crucified him. He, who could have chosen another time and place to die, he, who could have chosen not to die at all, deciding that we were not worth it…chose instead to give up his choice. To submit to the will of the Father and the will of the people…which happened to be the same, for one brief historical moment. His choice to surrender amazes me still. The suffering he endured…the beating, the torture, the nails, the crown…are each acts of humility. What kind of King allows his subjects to kill him? Who lets human fickleness overrule his divinity? What God submits to death voluntarily?
I’ll tell you…a humble servant. One who loves beyond human comprehension. One who willingly washes feet, dines with the unfit, and binds up the brokenhearted. One who knew that death could die. One “who being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be used for his own advantage, But instead made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness and being found in appearance as a man, humbled himself by becoming obedient to death…even death on a cross.”
That phrase ‘becoming obedient to death’ stuns me. I have fought death. I cannot imagine willingly obeying it. Everything in you fights to live. It did for me at least. Your will to live rises up and takes you, carries you even, through whatever the disease throws your way. So that one phrase boggles my mind. Add to that the painful and gruesome death he endured, and it gives power to the words “amazing grace.”
It begs the question, why in the world would lay down his life in this way? What motivated him to surrender himself? We already know the answer, though I don’t think we really believe it applies to us deep down. He loves us. Only a passionate love can cause this type of sacrifice. To love like he loves is what we are called to do. Yet, as Christians, it seems to be entirely unattainable. We are admonished to ‘be like minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.’ When I look in the mirror I do not see this humility. As much as I desire to be like him, I still see so much of me. So much that is NOT unified with his spirit but aligned with my own will, is it any wonder that things in the world are so bad. I mean if the body of Christ is made up of humans who, like me, are not humble, certainly not to the point of death for the world around them, what do we expect? And what do we see? Not unity. Not like-mindedness. A lot of selfishness, and vain conceit. A desire to meet what we want instead of laying down our lives for others. Pretty much the opposite of the passage above.
It is discouraging to me to think he is waiting on a bride without spot or wrinkle, because it seems he will have to wait forever. However, on Easter, as I reflect on his submission to death I also see his submission to love and to life. Thank God Easter isn’t about Jesus’ death alone, but more so about his receiving life unto himself and therefore for us. I do not have to be stuck in selfishness forever! What a glorious gift he has given us!! Redemption!! We do not have to be self-serving, or divided as a body. We can humble ourselves, offer our hearts to him, and allow his love to flow through us out to the world. It may not be probable that it will flow out untainted but it is possible, which is more than it was when we walked without him. I don’t know about you, but I will take probable over impossible any day of the week. It is messy to abandon our selfishness. It does not disappear with a few words of prayer. It has to be walked out and as bad as I am at walking it out, I would rather try to obey love than to throw his sacrifice away all together and walk without him. I know that way leads to impossibility.
His humble heart, his death at my hands, has given me his greatest gift. Resurrection. Redemption. Both words you cannot grasp unless you have experienced them. The only way to do that is to take the humility he offers me and clothe myself it in daily. When I can remember to do that, I can walk in newness of life. That, to me, is what Easter offers and it is the most precious gift that blood can buy. Have a blessed day rejoicing in his overwhelming love for you!! Happy Easter!

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