My last posting was a bit of a John 6:66 moment for me.
I sense those who did try reading it may well have given up and walked away scratching their heads. I do have that effect on people sometimes. It’s no small consolation that Jesus also had perhaps as many John 6:60-66 days as he did John 4:39-42 days. Sometimes we lose ’em even faster than we can win ’em!
One place I may lose folks is my own particular referencing of this body-mind-soul imagery that likens us to our creator. To many this may seem to be discounting the body’s position in this trinity. As if to say that our human emotions and senses in relation to the outside world aren’t really all that important. Or to say that our human fears are to be minimized; perhaps denied, rejected, cast out. If so, let me correct that impression.
To minimize our fears and other bodily emotions that impact our human mind is to minimize Jesus. Nothing could be farther from my intent, for to minimize Jesus is to negate the very Gospel I’m trying my best to proclaim.
Jesus, to me, represents the human side of God and God’s ability to relate to our world or social environment. Jesus is all about the body, the senses, the emotions, that we share here as humans. And the reason I love Jesus is that he teaches me everything I need to know about my own feelings, my own desires and fears, likes and dislikes. He is my coach, my teacher, my role model. He is my example of how to be a child of God. And, for this reason, he is my Savior.
That is why I love Jesus.
In no way should our bodies or our emotions or our fears, for instance, be discounted. They represent our children and, as Jesus might say to us, “of such are the Kingdom of Heaven.” To deny our feelings is to forbid the children from coming. To ignore our fears is to silence our own children as if they have nothing important to say, or have nothing truthful to tell us. To refuse attention or care of our own bodies is to refuse Jesus himself.
As God’s body, or God’s inner-child as I view it, Jesus was not always in agreement with God’s mind (which I call Father). Nor with God’s soul (that I call Holy Spirit). When Jesus says in Matthew 26:41 that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, the context is his own impending crucifixion. He was in the Garden of Gethsemane with his disciples on the night before he was to be tortured to death. He was sweating profusely. He was beyond fearful.
God’s own mind knows what it’s like to be conflicted. To hear his own soul saying “yes” while his body is busy saying “no”………..or make that “hell no!!!”
There is nothing wrong with Jesus being afraid. It would be wrong for him not to have fear. It would be a gross denial of his own humanity and the ultimate rejection of his own body. To face the cross meant facing his fear. To face death, for Jesus and everyone else, means facing fear. Especially when that death comes about as slow physical torture lasting for hours!!
Here’s what I love so much about Jesus. When he finds himself on the wrong side of his own soul, he pleads with his mind as if to say, “please don’t make me drink this cup! Please!!” And then Jesus does what I should also do when my body feels scared to death. He trusts his mind, in consultation with his soul, to make the final decision after all. Even though he first makes it clear exactly how he, in all reality, feels!
For Jesus, it wasn’t a matter of telling his Father what to do, as if he knew better. It wasn’t a matter of telling his Father that the Holy Spirit was wrong about this whole “love your enemies” thing when it came crucifixion time. Rather, it was more a matter of Jesus saying, in effect, “I won’t like it, and in fact I’ll definitely hate it. But I’ll do it anyway, because I’m the child. You’re the Father, and the Holy Spirit, in whose love and grace I place my own child-like faith.”
That’s the Jesus I love so much!
That’s the side of God, indeed the child of God, I can identify with. The one who can best reconcile and at-one me with God.
The child of God who faces his fears and voices them openly. And who goes to the cross of Calvary not because he feels like it. But because he chooses to have faith in his own mind and soul to make the final decision together. A decision to drink the cup. A decision to love enemies. A decision to resurrect. A decision to save. And a decision to set the example for all of us to follow as children.
For to such belongs the Kingdom ..………. on earth as it is in Heaven.