Throughout Lent, we've been looking at the 24 hours before Jesus' death, and I'm finding that (despite my long history of church-going) I know very little about the details of that day in history. I imagine I'm partly to blame for this– typically avoiding scripture and images that aren't particularly uplifting. I wonder whether it is because in general I shy away from subjects that are upsetting, or if it's because in some way I feel responsible. Looking more deeply at Peter's denial of Christ and at the crowds who convict and condemn him yelling "Crucify him!," would I have done the same?
In our small group this past Sunday, the question arose whether or not we would recognize Jesus if he showed up in our presence today. How would we truly know THIS was the man to follow? How would we know this particular man was the one sent from God? If even those who claimed to be looking for Jesus sentenced him to death, how can we better recognize and receive the gifts God offers us?
It may begin with being open to experiences that are a little uncomfortable. It may mean opening ourselves to accept a new or different reality from what we know. In the next few weeks, as we near Easter, we'll be reading and exploring more deeply texts we normally like to glance over. Although we may think understanding the outcome is enough, perhaps this time around we'll learn something more from looking at the details. Maybe we'll find Jesus' offering and God's saving love to be even more incredible this time around because we sacrificed some of our own comfort to receive them.