Then There Was Jesus...
How do you start a post about Jesus? It’s been rather daunting to say the least. Especially when it comes on the heels of my last post about my yellow chair, which was sooo profound. The tone is slightly different here. It’s like I want my words to do my heart justice when I express my gratitude toward the man that changed everything, but I’ve come to accept that my words will fall short...I’ll do my best. Jesus.
Even His name evokes emotion. He might just be history’s most polarizing figure. You love Him or you hate Him. You believe or you don’t. At some point, we have to deal with the question of Jesus. Growing up in a Christian home led me to deal with this question early on. I’ve known the gospel as long as I can remember. I feel unbelievably blessed to have been raised in a home that taught the love of Jesus. I’ve always known that He came to Earth to die for my sins because He loved me and wanted a relationship with me.
You know how something becomes commonplace when you’ve heard it your whole life? Ya’ll, don’t miss this. Jesus, who did nothing wrong (ever), DIED for you and me who screw up all the time! Can you even imagine? In our culture, the norm is to pass around the blame and never accept responsibility. Heck, I won’t even take the blame for a fart I didn’t commit, much less an actual crime against humanity. We are a world full of excuses for our bad behavior. Never wanting to admit that we, in fact, are the problem.
Then came Jesus.
A hero who rode in on a donkey to save us. A hero who endured beating after beating on our behalf. A hero who had a crown of thorns pressed into His skull. A hero who willingly let people who hated Him pound nails into His hands and feet. A hero who hung on a cross for hours for crimes He didn’t commit. A hero whose blood poured out as freely as His forgiveness. A hero who was obedient to the wishes of His Father even when it meant death. And He did all this while being mocked and ridiculed and spit at. The story of Jesus is not one I want to become numb to. Even as I sit here writing this, I’m struck by my inability to express what my heart feels for my hero.
This Jesus. He wrecks me with His ability to love a sinner like me. When I became a believer at the age of 11, it wasn’t really some dramatic transformation. My heart was transformed, certainly, but my day-to-day didn’t look that different. It wasn’t until I was older that I understood my need for grace. I’m going to let you in on a dirty little secret: Being raised in the church, led me to believe I didn’t need as much grace as other people. I thought I was a pretty good person already and God probably liked me better than some of those other sinners.
Basically, I was a Pharisee. My sinful nature had distorted my knowledge of Jesus into self-righteousness. The truth is, if I had been comparing myself to Jesus rather than other people all along, I would have clearly seen my need for a Savior. Thankfully, in God’s loving-kindness, He gives us the Holy Spirit to gently lay the smack down when we’re royally screwing it up. And because I’m a slow learner, the Holy Spirit still convicts me of my self-righteousness at 34. I know, I learn at a snail’s pace. I may seem alright on the outside, but inside, I’m an abyss of judgmental thoughts, underlying motives, thoughtlessness, selfishness and a slew of other horrible things. And because of these things, I need a hero. I need someone to take my crap and put it to death. I need someone to show me the way. I need forgiveness. I need I need I need.
You wanna know something awesome? Jesus doesn’t need anything. He doesn’t need us. He doesn’t need our praise, because in Luke 19:40 it says the rocks would cry out if we were silent. He doesn’t need our good works. He doesn’t need anything from us.
He just wants us. I don’t think we even get how beautiful that is. Not to be needed, but to be wanted. I need Jesus for life, but He wants me for love. He has nothing to gain from wanting me. He saw my ugly and chose to die for it, because He knew I needed a hero. He knew I needed a way out. He knew that sin leads to death and He wanted better for me. He loved me and wanted to give me life. He didn’t want me to be defined by the things I do wrong. He wanted me to be defined by redemption in Him. So my abyss full of nasty I told you about? Yeah, He’s working on that. The Holy Spirit shows me my junk and shows me a better way. He’s constantly trying to teach me to see the world through grace goggles so Judgy Judgerson doesn’t rear her ugly head. Some days are better than others.
So today, I’m thankful for Jesus who wants me because He loves me. He loved me as a sinner and He loves me as a believer. The love never changed, the relationship did.
Happy Thanksgiving!!!! I hope your hearts are as full as your bellies!
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