What has Jesus done? Well, that is a loaded question, and a question that stopped me in my tracks the other day when I was reading about the last supper.
I have been struggling with a double ear infection for about a month now, and trying to endure my way through it. It is frustrating because it has affected so much, my energy, thought process, and I have felt like I have been operating at limited capacity (that is the most frustrating part). And this question caught me in a moment of “Why is this happening?”
Do you know what I have done for you?
This was a question Jesus asked His disciples the night shortly after He had gotten up from the Last Supper. He takes off His outer clothing, wraps a towel around His waist, and assumes the position of a servant, pours water into a basin and washes His disciples feet.
But when it gets to be Peter’s turn, Peter just couldn’t handle it. He couldn’t handle that, his “master” wash taking on the humiliating task of washing his feet.
No, you shall never wash my feet.
Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.
Then, Lord, not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!
Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.
Then after He finished washing their feet He says…
Do you not understand what I have done for you?
And truthfully, they couldn’t grasp it, really. If I am honest, I have a hard time grasping it as hard as I try, and want to.
Jesus then goes on to share some heartfelt words for those around Him in John 13-17. Jesus shares in these beautiful passages what He has done, what is about to be done, and what He will do. He encourages to love others, as He has loved that. That there is one amongst them who will betray Him, and He shares that with them so that when it comes to pass, they will believe that He is who He is.
The message to take heart, because He would overcome the world was strong.
Peter’s denial is predicted, as he insists that he would lay down his life for Jesus. Tough truths are shared, but intertwined with unshakeable hope.
Where Jesus was going, they could not follow yet. But He was preparing a place for them, a place with many rooms. Jesus wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t so. He promises to be with them, and send them the Holy Spirit.
They would weep and mourn, as the world rejoices. But their grief would turn to joy.
Jesus states that a time has come where they would scatter to their homes, and leave Him alone, but that He wouldn’t be alone because His Father is with Him.
Then He prays for Himself, His disciples, and other future believers (us).
This is found in John 17, and I encourage you to read it. You can feel Jesus love in every single word written.
But pause, and reflect on these verses that have stuck with me. I pray that these words meet you where you are, and are treasured in your heart, because the deep love these words carry from Jesus.
While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you[knownto them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them. John 17: 12-15, 24-25
And soon after these words were spoken, He died on a cross. A humiliating death reserved for the worst of the worst criminals.
The unexpected became the embracers.
Once Jesus had taken His final breath on the cross, something interesting happened.
I have never thought about this much until recently. There were 2 men that took Jesus body off the cross, and placed His body in one of the tombs that was reserved for one of them, as Mary Magdalene and Mary stood there watching. These 2 men weren’t Jesus’ closest friends, they had actually followed Him in secret.
Joseph, assisted by Nicodemus, took Jesus’ body down from the cross, and wrapped it in linen cloths with fragrant spices according to burials customs for the Jews.
Now taking His body down, couldn’t have been an easy task. First, they probably had to lower the cross down. Second, He was nailed to a cross. So they would have had to remove the nails, so they could remove Him from the cross. And imagine this. These 2 men having to carry His weight, His bloodied, lifeless body. The lifeless body that was supposed to save His people.
But in truth, they were embracing the dead weight of the One who had just bore the weight of their sin, and ours.
The grievers become the joyful.
Joseph had rolled a stone in front of the tomb, but Pilate ordered that guards be placed in front of the tomb, and put a seal on it. He did not want the disciples coming to steal the body and “claim” He had risen as He said He would.
On Easter morning, Mary Magdalene and Mary, went to tomb to anoint Jesus body with spices they had prepared. As captured in Mark 16:2, they wondered how the stone would be removed from the entrance. The stone was too heavy to move themselves, and not sure if they were aware of this, but the guards were there. And the stone was sealed.
Even with the impossibilities in front of them, they went to the garden that the tomb was in.
When we trust God, we don’t have to wonder how the impossibilities will be made possible. God always makes the way. And we see it so beautifully here, as these women went anyway.
An angel of the Lord came down, and removed the sealed stone, leaving the guards so afraid they were like dead men. This angel sat on the stone that it had rolled away, and told the women they need not be afraid, because Jesus had risen, just as He said he He would. And instructed the women to quickly go and tell His disciples.
No longer in grief, they joyfully ran to tell the disciples.
The conditions of faith disappear….
The disciples didn’t hear the news from these women though, and when Jesus appeared to them Thomas wasn’t with them. Poor Thomas. He wouldn’t believe that Jesus was indeed alive unless “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side.”
I feel like I have so much of Thomas in me. I wonder if his hesitation to believe all the other disciples stemmed from him wanting to believe that Jesus was alive so badly, that if it wasn’t true, he would be more torn apart than he already was.
He didn’t want to be disappointed. Or put to shame. Jesus was the One who was supposed to rescue His people. There had been hope. And Thomas had believed it enough to follow Him. But Jesus had died.
I have been there. Wondering if His hope will disappoint, and I would be put to shame. Maybe you have too.
But when Thomas sees Jesus, his conditions of belief seem to immediately disappear as Jesus is standing Him in front of him saying Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.
No action, just a declaration. My Lord, My God. Hope didn’t disappoint, Thomas wasn’t put to shame. Jesus was exactly who He said He was, and did exactly as He had promised.
That is how much He loves us.
Do we embrace all that Jesus is, all that He promised, and all that He has done?
Do we embrace His brokenness? The brokenness that paid the ransom our freedom? Or do we just want to bask in the joy of the resurrection?
And do we bring Jesus everything we have? Even when what is in front of us seems impossible? Or only when we can see what is “possible”?
Do we doubt, and stay in disbelief because we are afraid that if Jesus isn’t who He claims to be, we will be disappointed, and left with our faith shattered?
Let us believe, even if we can’t see.. and as we do…
May the unexpected become to embracers. And the lost become the found.
The broken become chosen. And the grievers become the joyful.
May our conditions of faith disappear.
May the doubters become the declarers.
And may the hopeless, become the certain, because it knows our Risen King.