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Thursday, February 23, 2012

I Was Nothing But An Outsider

It was my sin that held him there, until it was accomplished...

...but it was my adoration that placed him there.

It was two days before Passover, two days before the feast and festival of Unleavened Bread, Jesus was in Bethany--right outside of Jerusalem.  His death was certainly coming.  He knew it.  Those who wanted him dead knew it.  Jesus was a dead man walking.

Mark shares with us that the chief priests were set on arresting him, but not until after that Passover; he never made it that long.  The plan fell together quickly from this time two days before, actions were set in motion.  Judas would betray...

...but why?

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Lent is a season traditionally used to prepare the Christian for Holy Week (Good Friday and especially Easter).  It is typically a time of self-reflection, a time to remember who you were before you were in Christ.  It is time for repentance and self-denial.

All good things.

Whether you and your church participate in Lent or not, I would like to propose something to you.  Lent, like the rest of Christianity is more about discovering Jesus than examining yourself.

When you examine yourself...you know what you are going to find.

You know the sins, the shortcomings, and the inconsistencies in your life.

When you look at Jesus, however, you discover something much more important:

Identity.  Who I was without, and who I am with, the Son of God.

Lent reveals us as who we really were:  Outsiders.  We were no better or worse than the religious leaders, but we were not part of the "in crowd."  In fact, most of you reading this were Gentiles.  We were the sick, the sinful, the ceremonially unclean.

Our sin may have been removed on the cross, but it wasn't only our sin that put Christ on the cross.  It was our adoration.  It was his acceptance of outsiders like us that led to his betrayal and arrest.  It was his willingness to include us that led to the nails and death.

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In Bethany, Jesus went to eat at the house of Simon the Leper.

The Leper

Outsider.

While there a woman (outsider by gender) and poured an expensive jar of perfume upon Jesus head.  THis woman, the other gospels will tell us was a prostitute, an adulterer, a sinner.

An outsider.

They complained that the perfume was not sold for the benefit of the poor.  Jesus rebukes them, favoring her  desperate plea for love.  Jesus rebukes them telling them "you can help them (the poor) any time you want."  They rebuked her for something they did not do themselves.

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus.

Judas went when he could stand it no longer.  Jesus love of the outsiders, his inclusion of those that should be excluded, was too much for him to bear.

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Jesus includes.  It was his inclusion of sinners and unclean and ungood that sent him to the cross.  Looking at Jesus, as we walk closer toward the cross and Easter once more, we realize that we are not the in, but the outsiders.

Jesus brought us in.

Who are we leaving out?

2 comments:

  1. wow, i love this: how lent reveals how we are truly outsiders. brilliant.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Emily! Your encouragement is a blessing!

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