We are over celebrating the Christ child and well into the new year. Now it is time to look for Jesus at His worst. It seems so easy to celebrate the birth of child who comes into the world naked to be wrapped in swaddling clothes. But to celebrate the death of a man stripped naked and nailed to a cross feels disgusting and unnatural. Why should we prepare to celebrate death, just a few months after celebrating birth?
The crucifixion is the purpose of Christ’s arrival. It is not wrong to celebrate His birth, but He did not come for that purpose. His miraculous birth was a setup for His marvelous death. It was the cross where He was hanged and demonstrated that at His worst, He was at His best. He proclaimed: “Father forgive them…”.
His words speak today to my own selfish and corrupt nature. I ignore His command to put others before myself, to turn the other cheek, to forebear, forgive and forget.
If Jesus could suffer for doing what is good, right, honorable and holy in His Father’s eyes, then what about me? He was betrayed and left alone by His disciples who had still not grasped His teachings. He was treated as a criminal for telling the truth, healing the sick, raising the dead and feeding the hungry. He did nothing that His Father saw as worthy of death, but here He hangs and He is at His worst.
He is hungry, tired, in pain and embarrassed to be displayed naked and bruised. In this moment of grief, when He is at His worst as depicted in the Bible, Jesus is at His very best. He demonstrates that best by saying: “Father forgive them”
I need to be at my best when I am at my worst. When I feel let down, misunderstood and not appreciated, that is the time I need the Holy Spirit to dwell in me to help me be at my best. I need to forebear, forgive and forget. I need to be at my best when I feel I am at my worst. The Holy Spirit can accomplish that, if I am willing to ask His intervention.
Luke 23:34-45 King James Version (KJV)
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.