If I were following Jesus in his days, I’d rather dismiss myself from the table before he washed the disciples’ feet and join them again for some fish following his resurrection. I’d want to skip everything in between.
To allow Jesus to wash my feet would have been difficult enough (Two lessons learned from dirty feet). I think I would have resisted like Peter did. It’s hard to imagine sitting still to permit the Messiah splash water up over my dirty feet. It’s the wrong order of things. The student should wash the feet of the teacher. The follower should serve the leader.
For the same reason, it’s hard for us to imagine Jesus on the cross, especially when we consider that he did it for us. It’s the wrong order of things. He is God. We are sinners. Yet he takes our place on the cross.
We’re okay with switching up the order of things when we presumptuously attempt to take his place as God. Mankind has been trying to take God’s place since Eve ate the fruit in the garden, and I know that I’m no different.
But letting him take our place on the cross, that’s not okay. We don’t like to think about it too much because –
- it makes us acknowledge the gravity of our sin. It forces us to look in the mirror and accept that our offenses merit God’s son to die on the cross.
- it reminds us that Jesus paid a great debt that we owed. In our self-sufficient culture, we just are not accustomed to someone else paying our debt. It feels too irresponsible to let God be responsible for our actions. It’s embarrassing to think that while our prideful self is busy trying to take his place, God already took our place.
It’s that same prideful self that makes it so hard for us to accept the cross. Some of us deal with it by working hard to pay off our “indebtedness”. Others of us just look the other way, or we make the cross a minor part of the story. That way we don’t have to see ourselves in the mirror nor humble ourselves to accept the gift.
Humility. Without it Jesus would not have gone to the cross. Without humility we cannot look at the cross. No wonder we don’t like to look at.
May we have the humility to look at the cross this Easter
and the joy to celebrate his resurrection.