Joy of the Gospel

What Jesus would do?

What would Jesus do?
Some years ago that text on a rubber band around the wrist was the craze. Everybody who was somebody wore it. Especially if you wanted to be in with young people.

What would you do to Jesus? Yes I know, it’s not as cool as WWJD. But it’s the question that came up as I prayed this text. Because everyone was against Jesus as he hung there helpless. The leaders of the people. The soldiers on duty. The fellow crucified. Ridicule all around, even by the desperate. It’s a lonely place to be. And Jesus is there, fully so. No one to support him who so supported the world and its friend. Except the fellow hanging on the other side. A criminal nevertheless, but one with thieves’ honour. He approached the whole thing a little more critically. Or honestly.

Luke’s gentlemanly way of storytelling, making the harsh a little bearable. Finding out-of-place beauty in the ugliest circumstances. A friendly criminal whose word about Jesus is just about the straightforwardest proclamation of the gospel in the whole of Luke ranking with the most beautiful of ancient texts from Isaiah about the innocent one slain on behalf of the guilty. And that one we read on Good Friday. But this one is the word of a condemned criminal. And what good is that? But it’s true: we are guilty, he says on behalf of all humanity, and Jesus is innocent.

What is better than a king, ours nonetheless, taking our guilt upon his innocent shoulders? Dying in our place. The new way of ruling. Not lording it over them. But serving them. To the bitter end.
Are we listening, Church?