On Good Friday, we remembered how deep the depravity of man runs, that we could put to death someone who used his power and influence to heal the sick, rescue captives from demons, free people from poisonous religion, and announce that the kingdom of God was available for any and all who want it.
We put that Man to death.
He did nothing wrong. He did everything right. We couldn’t stand for it and wanted Him gone.
At the Resurrection, God whispered back, “Not so fast.”
This morning, we worship a God who surrendered Himself to death and returned from the grave to save what He loves–all of us.
Tonight is Maundy Thursday and tomorrow is Good Friday. There are always a good number of us who might confess the creeds but aren’t sure how well we agree with them. And then there’s always someone who suspects that Jesus may actually be serious and not just a figment of people’s imagination, but they’re not ready to make the leap to whatever it means to have “faith in Jesus.”
I say all this because if Jesus has shown us anything, it’s that you don’t need to have everything lined up and figured out in order to be with him. Jesus didn’t go to the cross with his chest puffed out, talking trash to his enemies. He went weeping. He begged God for another way. He even knew that angels would save him from his enemies, if he asked them to. Jesus was a wreck in the moments before his arrest and execution.
He was the Son of God who was obeying the will of his Father for the sake of the world–and he was falling apart and didn’t have it together at all.
Pay attention to that, because Jesus’ actions and words in Gethsemane teach us something crucial: you don’t have to have everything figured out and together in order to start following Christ. You don’t have to have every question answered. Maybe you feel like you do, but if that’s the case, then you should know that you may be requiring a greater degree of theological certainty than even God Himself requires.
You don’t have to have your doctrinal ducks perfectly lined up in a row before you can actually trust God.
You don’t have to like everything in the Bible before you start to trust the Jesus it talks about. (A bit of advice: following Jesus for years doesn’t guarantee you’re ever going to be fully comfortable with the Bible.)
If Jesus didn’t need to have everything together to do what God wanted him to do, then why would our Lord require anything different from you? Why would He place upon you a burden greater than the one shouldered by Jesus?
Don’t feel like you need to make yourself ready to follow Jesus. Don’t try to clean yourself up. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to understand absolutely everything right now before you learn to trust Him.
If Jesus didn’t have to have it all together, then neither do you.
So take off your shoes, you doubters. You’re standing on holy ground.
“… where sin increased, grace increased all the more …” (Romans 5:20)
For those of us who are struggling with the same evil deeds over and over, let’s not lose heart.
God has already planed the areas in which we sin with the seeds of grace. Someday, those areas are going to bear witness to what Jesus has done for us and what was once a cause for repentance will instead lead to praise.
Because where sin exists, grace always abounds.