Tuesday, April 19, 2011
What if you knew
This year, we're trying to read through the Easter story nightly, as we lead up to Sunday. We started last night. On Bible Gateway, I signed up to receive emailed devotionals, which contain basically just the passages, to read this week.
We gather around our Easter Garden and light a new candle each night along the path to the tomb. Tonight was night two. In both the readings, and visually in our garden, we anticipate the cross.
After tucking my kids into bed, I wondered what it was like for Jesus on Monday night. He was fully man and fully God and knew, on a night much like tonight, He had only three days to live.
What if you knew you were going to die on Friday?
What would you do for the next three days?
Ya know, the typical answer to that question is the "live like no one's watching" philosophy. Go all out. Do all the things you've never gotten to do. In a word, indulge.
I thought about it. My answers were not much different. The first thought I had was that I'd eat whatever I wanted. Which is pretty funny, since I eat most of what I want anyway. I guess I'd just eat more expensively.
But Jesus turned his meal into a lesson.
I'd want to say goodbye to everyone I knew. I'd probably send out a mass email and do a long, emotional Facebook status update to reach those I couldn't take the time to call.
Jesus spent his time with his closest friends, those He knew would honor his memory best and longest. He made sure they knew what He was all about.
I'd want to make sure all my stuff was in order, like who gets what, especially for the sake of my children. I'd also leave a note with all my passwords. (I'm not kidding. These are the thoughts I had when I was really honest with myself.)
Jesus knew none of the stuff mattered at all! The Bible doesn't mention a single possession that he took time to manage, particularly in his last days.
I'd hug my family and not want to let go. I'd soak in my relationships with my husband and children and parents and brother.
Jesus kept pouring out truth, teaching, washing feet, healing, ministering to the lost, taking only brief account of his family. He assigned the care of His mother to His friend John. Otherwise, He taught and led and served. Oh, how He served until his last breath.
Probably the last thing I'd do would be pray and read my Bible. Because I'd be seeing God face to face in three days, right? I'd think that conversation could wait.
Jesus prayed. And prayed. And prayed.
The truth is, I don't know how many days I have left on this earth. I'm not guaranteed a tomorrow. It's startling to notice how I spend my days compared with Jesus. Of course, I can't be Him. I'm not called to be the Savior of the world. But I can certainly inventory my priorities. I can reflect on whether they align with His, in my own life's version.
Selflessness. Service. Discipleship. Prayer.
This verse rings in my ears these days.
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price.
I Corinthians 6:19-20
It's only true if we have asked Jesus to live in us. If we accept his gift of grace and salvation, it is as if we are bought, with His blood sealing the deal. Does that sound a little weird? I think it would to me, if I didn't know the Lord better. If I wasn't keenly aware of his crazy love for me that meets me in my darkest hour, I would not want to be bought by anyone. I'd want to be a free agent. Being bought means you are a slave, right?
Well, here's the thing. It just depends on what you want to be bound to.
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin."
Yep, so that's me. And everyone else in the world. We are or were all slaves of sin until Jesus severed our chains.
Still on the horizon this week, the one thing that rescues me from my slavery to sin is His blood.
That is a high price, one for which I'm so thankful God paid.
And so, if I belong to Him, if my life is not really my own, then I must ask:
"What, on earth, am I doing?"