Monday, March 25, 2013

From rock thrower to forgiven to a bearer of a witness (Acts 3:15).

SCRIPTURE: Acts 3:15 (TM)
You no sooner killed the Author of Life than God raised him from the dead - and we're the witnesses.

One pastor tells of the time that he bought some small rubber rocks from DC Works and put them on the chairs before people came into the room. As he opened the message, he asked them if he said anything that was blasphemous if they would stone him. He told them not to be shy and to let him have it. He then introduced himself and told them he was God, he could raise the Dead and God is his witness to what he just claimed. Then they threw rocks at him. He told them he wanted them to feel what the Jewish leaders and audience felt when Jesus made these claims in chapter 5 of the Gospel According to John and to remind them of what Jesus is claiming here: He is one with God.

Let’s face reality, we too would have thrown the rocks … and we won’t have been shy about it either. And so we come into the last week of our Lenten journey. It is a humbling experience to place ourselves in the hosanna sing crowd on Sunday and then find ourselves in the “crucify him” shouting numbers near the end of the week. Why? Because his claims are just too unbelievable to be real and so we take rocks in hand to throw them.

Holy week is always an interesting turn of events … at least for me … full of drama and pageantry on the one hand and horribly humbling on the other. Oh, we would protest that surely we wouldn’t have turned with the crowd as they turned against the one they had just cheered into the city, but there we would be all the same. It’s the ouch-factor of Holy Week.

None of us want to go there – mentally, emotionally or spiritually, but there we must stand. Even today we remain silent when we should be sharing the Good News … allowing the lie to invade our existence that our witness is found in our lifestyle. We might as well call out “crucify him” with the others for all the good our “lifestyle” witness does to bring people to Christ.  

The ouch-factor is at work … and so we march ever onward towards the conclusion of this blessed week. Painfully observing the events in the garden. Standing in the shadows as the trial proceeds. Joining the march up to Calvary. Witnessing the nails being driven into flesh … and then silence. Life has been given and is no more … or is that the last chapter in his life? God has the last laugh in the face of death. Resurrection morning breaks forth and God stretches out with grace to forgive our foolishness in participating in causing Jesus’ judgment and death.

Tears come easily as the nail pierced Savior stands before us and we see the rocks, our rocks, our thrown rocks at his feet, his pierced feet. Love is shown and forgiveness is granted even before we ask for it.

And our journey continues … as our witness is made. 

Forgive us for participating, but thank you for your forgiving love in the face of our foolishness. 

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