Covid19 has us stuck at home preparing for Easter… but we can mark each day with devotion. Click here if you missed a past day’s reading.
“He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself!”
The way of Jesus is still hard to understand. After 2000 years we still prefer strength. Even violence. Rather than sacrifice. Like the Jews we often prefer Barabbas (see yesterday’s post). But the very key to success was that Jesus would not save himself.
And this is the key for us. The key to following Jesus. The key to saving our neighbor. That like Jesus, like Simon1, we would take up the cross. The invitation of Jesus is to follow.
NT Wright puts it this way, “the story of Israel’s God becoming King, as Jesus told it, turned into a play in search of a cast. Jesus’ hearers, whether they like it or not, could not remain spectators. They were on the stage. The only question was: which parts would they choose to play?” (Jesus and the Victory of God, 243)
What part will you choose?
Take a moment to also give thanks for the part Jesus chose to play. For we know he could have easily saved himself. And left us…
1 What a glorious position, albeit terrifying in the moment, to help Jesus when everyone else abandoned. Made more wonderful because Mark knows Simon’s name and his son’s names! Mark skips names of characters left and right. So when he mentions a name commentators assume it is because they were know by the Christian community. What Simon saw propelled him to faith.
Deeper: Garments of Jesus: a touch of the hem could heal (5:28, 6:56), they glowed during the transfiguration (9:3)… now they are stripped and raffled away.
King of the Jews: The charge brought by Jewish leaders (15:2), the chat of mocking soliders (15:18), became the penalty that brought death (15:26). From Pilate to the Jews no one believed the words. And Jesus was the culmination of all of Israel. The prophecies, the hopes, the mission. And he would set them free… if only they would believe.