The accepted, expected role of a Jew born in Galilee was to accept the status quo.
The accepted, expected role of a teacher born in Galilee was to side with the establishment.
The accepted, expected role of a challenge to Roman authority at that time? To be crucified.
The accepted, expected role of someone crucifed was that everyone watched them die a horrible, painful, humiliating death. The victim was expected to stay dead. Not only was the leader eradicated: the spirits of his followers would be broken.
Jesus came and demonstrated the confounding of expectations. And he also preached them. Turn the other cheek, when the enemy expects us to strike back; pray for the enemy when he expects us to curse him; check the contents of our hearts, when we’re just expected to conform to external rules.
Jesus not only gave us object lessons in confounding expectations in the way he lived his life. He did more tha speak eloquently on the ways we can incarnate this in our lives.
We had this seperation from God that resulted from our sin. The expected, accepted result was eternal seperation from Him. Jesus turned this around, and blazed a trail back to God so that we might reunite with him.
For these last couple blog posts, I’ve been expressing a view about the way that the world is. There are these accepted, expected outcomes. Life lived on natural terms is one that consists of an endless series of repeated sufferings.
It would be pretty cool if there was some reward promised to us, that help alleviate the sufferings of this life; it would be pretty cool if after this life we got a vacation of sorts in the afterlife, where we can nurse our wounds, heal our pain, forget our past.
It would be far cooler if the afterlife was more than a recovery period. If we ended up with some experience that brought meaning to our suffering, it would be a whole ‘nother thing… and this whole ‘nother thing? I think it’s exactly what we can expect. I used to have this idea that I’d experience some understanding, when I die, of what my suffering is all about.
In truth I hope for this understanding. But maybe I’m not capeable of it. And in fact? It’s not really what’s needed to justify my suffering. Revelations (and other places) speak about how closely we will experience God in that life. And that experience, I think is what we will need. Knowing how deeply God loves us, I think, really experiencing his love and his power, it would have to convince us so deeply that our father would never have us suffer unnecesarily.
But in a way, I digress…
The idea I really want to get is the way that the supernatural entered into the natural; the infinite inserted Himself into the finite. The predetermined, accepted, expected outcome was suddenly just blown away. A whole series of new outcomes become living possibilities.
And this is what Easter is about: the idea that the end does not have to be like the beginning; God is a saving God, a rescuing God, a redeeming God who comes back for us, who brings us back to him, he changes the rules and he changes who we will become.