Just finished reading through Luke’s Gospel. Its so hard to read the Jesus story with fresh eyes – everything is so familiar. But there is always something that catches me off guard. In Luke 23:28-31 Jesus turns to the women who are weeping and following him and says something so strange. He tells them not to weep for him as he goes to the cross, but to weep for themselves and their children because a dark time is coming. What a thing to say – not much comfort – you’re losing your Messiah, the one who you pinned your hopes on, but don’t be upset about that, be upset because its going to get worse – so bad that you will want the mountains to fall on you to hide you from it. Thanks Jesus, really helpful.
First of all, what Jesus says is really cryptic. Second, its depressing. But in the following chapter, after his death, there is resurrection and hope. Maybe Jesus is pointing to the fact that the resurrection isn’t about a magical instant fix, or a way of pretending bad things never happen, but is about the triumph of life over death, love over hatred (or indifference). Maybe Jesus is saying that even though his resurrection is the very thing that provides that new life and new hope, it isn’t something that just magically does away with pain, difficulty and struggle in this life. Its what sustains us, pulls us through, but it doesn’t protect us by putting a magic bubble around us.
Some pretty unfamiliar words for me, in perhaps the most familiar story of the Bible. God’s Word is full of surprises – they aren’t always easy to understand and this time I’m not sure I get it – but this is what I got.