A stolen Jesus
Mercilessly nailed under the malevolent will of brothers and the spineless rule of Rome, this living metaphor witnessed innocence to the world and blessed the ignorant. All this happened while He was being robbed of life.
To those who would wish to understand, He had demonstrated the soul awakening call in the upper room only hours previously.
'Do for others, as I have done for you' ...
This was the upper room imperative to all who would have their feet washed from Heaven. The mettle of Calvary and example of the upper room, to this day, continues to test those who would claim allegiance to the only risen God.
Christ's undeniable appeal is for a most robust devotion. Such devotion will 'out-bully' my own bullying self-will. It will be uneasy with compromise and unsettled by indulgence.
My self-will still strives to steal Jesus from me. No one has ever lived who has not faced a very aggressive self-will. It punches at righteousness and pleads against devotion. It crowds out heavenly desires and knocks selflessness to the canvas. His Holy Spirit is the only referee to keep it in check. His Holy Spirit is the guardian of my Jesus alone, in me.
The flimsy echo of a Christian conviction is pummelled into a death inviting submission - 'Ignore Calvary and attend to self alone', it commands! Yet the hand-forged nails that penetrated both flesh and bone, mock and confront a thin belief that is satisfied by casual ritual and irregular exercises of a meager personal devotion.
An iron splintered, red stained vertical piece of lumber ...
a mother in terror at the death of her son ...
and a forlorn, slight messiah ...
all cry loudly that living faith is no 'easy-believism' tailored to suit my more important theology and my mediocre spare time.
Captured for all time from Calvary is an all conquering plea. It is a conquest of the mind, body and spirit that correctly claims ...
'You no longer belong to yourself - you belong to ME, for you were bought at a price!'
In such debt, we all must humbly fall at the feet of an ancient, near-eastern tool of gross torture.
This debt is far beyond repayment, it is secured in eternity and still costs the same today. Across two millennia it has suffered no deflation, inflation or recovery from recession. This cost is still my all for His all. It is not cheap. It wasn't for Jesus, nor is it for me. But, it does completely release me from the bullying of my own self-will. To understand my debt, is protection from the theft of Jesus out of my life.
How unknowably deep is Jesus' devotion to me - how indelibly deep is my debt! Surely awareness of my sin can only draw me closer to the throne of grace! My debt is always far deeper than the knowledge of my sin.
Prior to the Passion, a truthful and understanding Messiah reflected upon salvation to a rich and sad young ruler. This crestfallen youth clearly understood the cost of the saviour's demands, but now was still more important to him than forever. Temporal pennies were considered of greater loss than eternal punishment. (Mt 19:16-22)
In the faith that masquerades as devotion, is Christ still pained by the tips that slip from our purse and the 'tips' that slip from our time?
When the nails of Calvary have disappeared to me, then the seven cries from the cross are found hollow.
When pierced palms are no longer visible to me, then the example of the upper room is simply left in my shadow.
When a crowned head of thorns raises no emotions in me, then in this contemporary belief system that seeks happiness above righteousness and is lukewarm to self-correction, surely Jesus has been stolen afresh!