Thursday, April 10, 2014

Before the Rooster Crows . . . or the Cell Phone Rings

As we approach Easter, there are so many things to think about. I mean, who doesn’t love chocolate eggs and rabbits, right? But those aren’t the things I’m talking about. I’m talking implications…consequences…results. I’m talking about the life and death of the one we as Christians call our Lord and Savior. I’m talking about Jesus Christ. 

As this season of Lent (the weeks preceding Easter) continues, most of us will start reading a story. A story of one sent by God to rescue all of humanity… a story of betrayal and a horrifying and humiliating death on a Roman cross. This story, called the Passion of Christ, or the Passion Narrative, is the account of the final days of Jesus’ life, leading up to his crucifixion for our sins. But within this story, there are several other stories. These stories are those of Jesus’ disciples, and those surrounding Jesus, and that is what I want to focus on. 

Before I go too far, I want to ask a couple of questions…do you really believe in Jesus? Does your life reflect your love for your Savior? Do you really believe who Jesus is? I ask these questions because within the story of Jesus’ final days, we see several people torn away from one they claimed to love because there was something else tugging at their heart. For those who know the story, my guess is a guy by the name of Judas comes to mind? A disciple of Jesus who ends up betraying him and delivering him over to the authorities for 30 pieces of silver. For Judas it was money…greed.  

But there may be a couple others that might not come to mind so easily. How about the apostle Peter? Another disciple of Jesus, full of passion and zeal for God. However, Jesus says in the gospel of Matthew 26:34-35 that Peter will deny him 3 times by the time the rooster crows. Peter rebukes Jesus and says that he’d follow him even if he must lose his life, but after Jesus’ arrest, Peter denies even knowing him. For Peter it was fear. 

And one more that might not readily come to mind. There was a Jewish tradition of crucifying one criminal and releasing one criminal prior to Passover. So the governor, Pilate put the vote between Jesus, and a murderer known as Barabbas. The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees coerced the people to beg for the release of Barabbas, and send Jesus to the cross. The same people that just a couple days earlier had shouted “Hosanna!” (which means “save us”), as Jesus rode into Jerusalem, now chanted “Crucify him!” For the people, it was culture…influence…bribery. 

So what is it for you? We live in a culture that is continually telling us that we aren’t enough, that we don’t have what it takes, and that we need this product or that product to truly be happy. Is Jesus enough for you? This isn’t a guilt trip…even those who spent years with Jesus were so easily pulled away by temptations and fears. As you celebrate this Easter, the glorious resurrection of our Lord, let Jesus be enough for you, and know that you are enough in him. Happy Easter.
-Jake Houf

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