which Jesus do you follow?

It’s Good Friday… the day that changed eternity. Thankful for it… thankful doesn’t seem like a good enough word.  It’s overwhelming to think about it. 

I have been reading the crucifixion account in each of the Gospels.  I LOVE Luke’s perspective.  He likes detail. He is like my hubby. Jacob. When Jacob tells a story, he includes every detail he can possibly remember. If he is talking about a trip we took, he will include what the weather was like on the way there, the car we drove, who was sitting where, the name of the hotel, what the hotel smelled like, the daily itinerary… in detail, and everything in between.  Hilarious! I guess I like detailed stories now… but I love Luke’s story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. 

I have been thinking a lot this week about the boxes we put Jesus in…. about the Jesus we actually follow.  That “Jesus” may not be the Biblical, all-powerful Jesus He really is.  Maybe it’s the Jesus that’s portrayed by the masses – a Jesus who LOVES no matter what (true to an extent) and doesn’t care what your life actually looks like… just wants you to go to church.  Maybe it’s the Jesus that Hollywood portrays – a weak, corny, flowy-haired Jesus… a crutch, someone you pray to when you are sick or want something. Maybe it’s a genie that you see Jesus as – you pray… He should answer EXACTLY how you expect. Maybe He’s just a get out of jail free card… Yay for not going to hell but where’s the overflowing thankfulness in our lives? Or maybe it’s the REAL JESUS… the holy, righteous, just, humble, radiant, king, compassionate, hope, ruler, lover of sinners, hater of evil, restorer, radical… 

Which Jesus do you follow?

As I read the accounts of the cross… I started thinking about the boxes that the characters could have put Jesus in.  The “Jesus” that the characters may have followed. Now… I’m no scholar or anything… I just like thinking about the perspectives of the people involved.  They weren’t perfect and I want to learn from them.  Just amuse me… let me know what you think, too.

Who was Jesus to JUDAS?
Jesus was a means to an end, a cheap exchange, worth giving up.  He traded Him for MONEY. How often does that happen to us? We trade Jesus everyday (in a way) for something that may SEEM temporarily better, bigger, more glamorous, more comfortable, more success… Luke says that Satan entered Judas and led him to betray Jesus. How I want my heart totally consumed with Jesus so Satan has no where to enter… no area to sneak in.  Yes, Judas definitely felt remorse for betraying Jesus… so much so that he hung himself… how awful to be known as the disciple to give Jesus up?  I pray we aren’t known as the generation that traded Jesus in….

Who was Jesus to PETER?
I LOVE PETER!!! He is one of my favorite Bible characters. Why? Because I’m much like him. He LOVES Jesus… he really does. Peter has a lot of foot-in-mouth experiences with Jesus and others… I do too. Peter has a lot of ideas… some good, some not so good (like the sword to the policeman’s ear)! People have told me that I do too. But Peter denied Jesus. I think Peter might have doubted… not completely sure Jesus was who He said He was. He didn’t know the whole story like we do… so He may have been uncertain when Jesus was carried away in the darkness if He was really the King of kings. He was terrified. He allowed His relationship with Jesus… the one that was typically focused on Jesus become self-centered, fearful, and weak. How often do we do that?  Oh… I do. 
I know Jesus loved Peter, too. He probably loved his quirky personality, his passion, his ambition, and his heart. In Luke 22, before Jesus tells Peter he will deny Him, He tells Peter this:
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. 32 But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
I love that Jesus pleads for Peter. That is my Jesus’ heart… praying for those He loves and those who love Him. Like Peter, when we become focused on self, we must repent, turn to Him again, and STRENGTHEN EACH OTHER. 

Who was Jesus to PILATE?
I think Pilate knew who Jesus was. He knew the TRUTH as it’s called in John 18. He hated that the desire of the people was to crucify Jesus. He wanted nothing to do with it.  Could he have done more? I’m sure he could have. Did he give in? Yes. Did he conform to what the masses were shouting? Yes. Was he afraid to follow TRUTH? Yes. But, I love this, from John 20:

 19 And Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth,[d] the King of the Jews.” 20 The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people could read it.

21 Then the leading priests objected and said to Pilate, “Change it from ‘The King of the Jews’ to ‘He said, I am King of the Jews.’”
22 Pilate replied, “No, what I have written, I have written.”

He knew! Whatever happened, he believed. A governor… a leader and expected holder of justice, truth, righteousness, and royalty, saw this in the man of Jesus Christ. That’s the Jesus I serve. 

There are other characters we could analyze and a lot that could be said… but what Jesus do you follow? Although not always apparent or true, I LONG to follow the Jesus, the King, the Redeemer, the Mighty One, the One without limits, the One who gives love and joy and peace and holiness.  I want Him to have complete reign… no holding back. no doubting. no weak passion. no fear. 

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