What Makes Jesus Glad

Isaiah 53:10-12 (the message)
Still, it’s what God had in mind all along,
to crush him with pain.
The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin
so that he’d see life come from it–life, life, and more life.
And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him.

Out of that terrible travail of soul,
he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it.
Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant,
will make many “righteous ones,”
as he himself carries the burden of their sins.
Therefore I’ll reward him extravagantly–
the best of everything, the highest honors–
Because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch,
because he embraced the company of the lowest.
He took on his shoulders the sin of many,
he took up the cause of all the black sheep.

Yesterday my oldest daughter saw a clip from The Passion movie. I believe it startled her a bit, as it does everyone no matter how many times you’ve seen it. Rivers came home with a few questions and conversation. As we explained what the Bible says about Jesus being whipped, beaten and crucified I thought of Isaiah chapter 53, written some 600 years before Jesus was born. Penned by a man yet inspired by God.

Out of that terrible travail of soul,
he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it.

These are the words that stopped me..

He’s done all that could possibly be done now. Not so much to prove He’s God, but to prove He’s a God who loves us to extremes.

Honestly, I barely grasp it. Sigh. Even typing that annoys me because this is the way of it…Oh how God loves us and sent His Son to die and not a one of us can understand, so mostly we don’t really even try.

If we do it might turn us inside out.

It might shatter our prism.

Might disturb our property lines.

Because the truth is that a love so overboard, so raw as we read in Isaiah 53, cannot fit neatly into our pocket.

Are we afraid of what becomes of us abandoned to the crashing-in force of God’s love?

Deep inside we know there is more. More than church programs and committees and good intentions. Deep inside we know that the way we’ve attempted to manage this great love affair has left us secretly wanting.

Who will admit to it?

Who will be willing to even consider it?

It was Creator’s plan all along to give us a free will…there is no love without the choice to love…and then deal with our sin by crushing Jesus with its burden.

And Jesus says it was worth it. Jesus is glad he did it.

Last night my husband and I were discussing obedience with Rivers and Leah. We want them to understand that if they live completely convinced of our love for them, they will be able to trust us. Obey us. Even when it’s not what they think they want to hear, they can choose to obey because they know in their bones we make decisions for them out of love.

We are merely human parents. Imperfect and faltering and yet our heart and motives for our children are good. The sacrifices, the torment of facing down our own demons, is worth it when we look into their faces. No matter how hard, we are glad.

What if Jesus is glad because what He chose to endure gives us in-our-bones certainty of the depth and lengths of His love?

What if it’s worth it to Him because the blood he shed not only makes us clean but helps us trust?

We don’t have to fear Him. We don’t have to swallow this tradition of not grasping or understanding His love. We can be so honest as to say what I have known of Jesus is not enough. What I have experienced personally is not enough. Does not match up to what Jesus promised for His followers. Might we finally grow exhausted with our excessive doing and anemic being?

I used to be afraid to misrepresent God. Like I could never admit it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be because as a Christian I was supposed to convince others…I was doing God a favor not letting the cat out of the bag. Did I see it that way? No I just knew I was like a glass not quite full. More…more…my soul was crying. Interestingly enough, it was my Father who let the cat out. The “not enough” wasn’t about my effort or His power.

It was about His love. My willingness to accept and live in it completely. I simply wasn’t letting Him love me enough.

Because I didn’t think I was worthy.

I’m not. And that, my friends, is everything. Creator’s longing for us is beyond explanation. It won’t fit inside my religion pocket. Doesn’t stay tucked into my Bible.

It’s explosive.

Breaks every chain…
Exposes every lie…
Heals every wound…

I don’t wanna talk about His power but live the same.
I don’t wanna tell others of His love but not embrace it myself.
I don’t wanna pretend it’s more than what I’ve got.

I’m gonna have and be all of what makes it worth it to Him.
What makes Jesus  glad.

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