Born into poverty. This shows us that God wanted His life and circumstances to relate to ordinary people. Just like the disciples were chosen as characters showing the tremendous transformative power of God's Holy Spirit. All of them selected carefully to show us how He can change us. All with backgrounds of all sorts including criminal activities, they each turned away from that and to Him giving up their families and homes to follow Him. Giving up money too.
Christ's life is a testament of absolute courage and tenacity. Not for Him home comforts or even a wife. He applied His mind to learning the craft of carpentry but all the while observing people and storing up insight, knowledge, understanding that He was to teach when His public ministry began at the age of 30. He died age 33.
What strength that must have taken to put down his tools and start to tell people, beginning in his home town, that He was the Son of God Himself. He walked and walked. He went through hunger, fatigue, often sleeping outside. He would be hunted out of some towns; even His life threatened. His life was mainly solitary, maintained by His devoted prayer life often withdrawing to receive strength and instruction from His Father.
He had to begin teaching before the full power of the Holy Spirit was given to Him. He had to completely believe what His Father was telling Him and overcome so much in His own mind and others' minds to do this. People would have been questioning Him, doubting Him, mocking Him. Remember, He had no teaching qualification or credentials to which He could justify what He had started to say.
This week, all those years ago as He continued to teach to the people who would shout for His death, it is nothing short of divine dignity and courage. He would be picturing in His mind's eye His trial and treatment to come. Matthew tells us 'the governor's (Pontius Pilate) soldiers stripped Him, flogged Him, put a scarlet robe on Him and made a crown of thorns for Him pushing it into His scalp. They put a staff in His right hand and knelt in front of Him and mocked Him and spat at Him then struck His head and face again and again. He would also be picturing these same soldiers standing over Him as He had to lie down on the cross first on the ground. He would see their mocking faces with hammer and nails in their hands looking down on Him.
And yet, even with all of this and 'the many false witnesses who testified against Him' He continued. This was the divine man on earth who gave everything of Himself and took nothing.
What brought Him to Pilate's charges? It was the Sanhedrin - the Chief Priests. Why? Because they did not agree that He should heal the sick and cast out demons. They were profiting in God's churches from trading and had turned the house of prayer into a den of iniquity. It was the leaders of the church who actively pursued His capture, arrest and death. They pleaded for it.
Pictures of Christ portray Him as He was and is - gentle, kind and humanitarian. But, in a rare display of anger at His Father's House and the people in charge exploiting and taking money from others in there (even to get into the churches), He showed His strength and courage by physically upturning their tables with their goods, animals and coins spilling onto the floor. The Chief Priest's did not like or want change, so they betrayed the Messiah. This man who taught of heaven, who made miracles, showed signs and remained throughout His life nothing short of absolute integrity. He had to, He was representing God on earth.
In prison awaiting His trial, He would have been grievously injured in His body, head and face. No friend, no lawyer, His disciples had ran when He was arrested. He was on His own. What kept Him going? His Father and His own strength of character. Did He lash out verbally or physically at this treatment? No. His strength gave restraint.
His challenges included wanting to bring radical change in the church and on the streets. How difficult it must have been for Him.
Christ came to bring change; THE DIVINE EXCHANGE. NO CHANGE OR MONEY INVOLVED. BLESSINGS CAN'T BE BOUGHT. SALVATION IS FREE. SALVATION BRINGS FREEDOM.
From those days to now, there is nothing new under the sun. But, nothing goes unnoticed by His Son. People are very wrongly STILL exploiting others to this day. Even their own. Taking their land, food,through violence, taking rights away, profiteering through greed. Abusing and harming others. Christ said 'Whatever you do for the LEAST of ONE of my brothers (mankind), you do also for me'. Matthew 25;45. How do YOU interpret that?
Christ IS coming back to this earth:
! Like it or not
! Believe it or not
! Want it or not
! Anticipation or dread
...is up to each of us.
He rules and reigns over the heavens, the realms, space and this whole earth. How are we treating other people and this earth He gave us? What will we say as we stand before Him at the judgement? Do we think we can pull the wool over His eyes?
Lord, thank You for this week of mixed emotions. The cross and resurrection are still with us, strongly, to this day. Convict and change those who still harm, abuse, exploit and intimidate others. Those whose hearts and minds are taken over by the love of money. Disturb them, challenge them and help them TAKE this opportunity to change their ways before it is too late for them. On death or Christ's return(whichever is first) there is no crossover. It is too late then to repent. Bless those, Father affected by such people around Your world.Thank You, Lord Jesus Christ for Your strength and courage hard won that You still, to this day, share with us for our need. Our daily bread. Amen.