Double Inheritance

Matthew 27:25
And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”

bloody thorns

How do you resemble your parents? Do you have her nose or his hair? Her artistic ability or his gifting for math? Her quick temper or his greed?

What do you hope to inherit one day? Her jewelry or his classic car? 

Matthew 27:25 is an incredibly ironic verse. This verse comes right after Jesus’ illegal trial where the people were asked if they’d rather free Jesus or Barabbas. Of course they chose Barabbas. But still Pilate couldn’t rationalize sentencing Jesus to death, so he “washed his hands” and told to riotous crowds to do as they pleased. And they said these unbelievable words “His blood be on us and on our children.”

And here is the irony. In one sentence they declared the essence of the Gospel.

On the one hand they all, and we all, are guilty of His bloodshed. Like inheriting your dad’s bad habits, we have inherited the guilt and penalty of sin. We are just as fully responsible for the death of Jesus if we were the ones to literally nail his hands to the cross. So the GUILT of his blood is truly on us and our children.

But on the other hand, we are also offered the HOPE of his blood. The very act that brought Guilt also brings Life; what they intended for evil, God intended for God, and the salvation for all who believe.

And this is my prayer for myself and my children…and for you too. That we would admit our guilt in his blood while also receiving the forgiveness that his blood offers. You can’t have one without the other.

Out of Darkness

RICOH IMAGING

So my parents just got back from Alaska to see the Northern Lights. Apparently God decided to put on a wild show. Just before they got there the sun threw out some wild solar flares, hitting our atmosphere just in time. This picture seems surreal and other-worldly. But it isn’t actually my favorite one.

 

This is:

RICOH IMAGING

Impressed aren’t you. It would seem that my dad forgot to take off the lens cap. But actually this picture captures something extraordinary.

 

 

 

This:

RICOH IMAGINGJust highlighting the behind-the-scenes in photoshop (no other doctoring at all!) reveals what couldn’t be seen: brilliant show with the North Star leading the way.

 

 

And this is Good Friday, leading up to Easter. As Jesus hung there bloody and dying, every reasonable person was either cheering or crying because Jesus and his mission was snuffed out. But he wasn’t. It was the darkest of times that turned into the brightest. The exact same moment was the worst time in history and the best. The death of Jesus was brutal, and freeing; horrible and glorious; infuriating and loving.

So my heart needs to visually be reminded that God works in paradoxes. He turns evil into good, and he does it for, in and through me because he did it foremost to and through his Son so that my worst can be turned into best.

And so Jesus could say with confidence: “It Is Finished” (Jn 19:30). Because his death has brought me life. And now as I wait for Sunday when we celebrate the resurrection, I can also wait expectantly for my resurrection when all things will be made new. But even now in the in-between time, I can live with hope, knowing that God’s hidden paradox is at work right now in my life.

Speed Gracer

speed gracerWay back in the late 70’s my big brother and I were at my mom’s softball game. She was quite the athlete and holding down left field like a champ. The problem was that my brother was painfully holding me down like a champ with our parental referee at a safe distance. Somehow in the struggle I was able to break free and fled to the only safety I knew: my mom in left field. To the naked eye it looked like I was running out to congratulate my mom on a game well played (though apparently this is usually frowned upon in the middle of the inning). But actually I was just tired of getting beat up and I wanted my mommy, even if it was bad timing and publicly embarrassing.

And this is exactly what Jesus wants for and from me. In my regular life I get hammered by lots of bullies. I work in a church which is, by definition, filled with those who need lots of grace. And sometimes we really aren’t nice to each other. Sometimes I get bullied in my own family or among my friends (as well bully them back). But to be honest I think that most of the bullying that I endure comes from inside of me…that nasty bully called sin that leaves me bloody far more often than I care to admit. In any case…and I mean ANY case…Jesus wants us to immediately come running to him. Even if the timing is awkward and we look silly. We have no other safe place. We have no other hope. We have no other power. Jesus himself came down and was bullied like none other. Even though he was infinitely perfect, he allowed himself to be beat, ripped apart, spat upon, belittled, illegally tried and brutally murdered….so that not only would he understand and empathize with us when we are going through the trenches (though that’s nice), but so that he can HEAL us and give us HOPE in the trenches, even carrying us back home. He has run down to us. Now he carries us back with him. Stop carrying this load alone (stop carrying it all). What Jesus wants is for us to be Speed Gracers.