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Attending Jesus - Wednesday

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Isaiah 50:4-8
The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue,
      to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
      wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.
The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears,
      and I have not been rebellious;
           I have not drawn back.
I offered my back to those who beat me,
      my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;     
I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.
Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
      and I know I will not be put to shame.
He who vindicates me is near.

It is time to think about Jesus. Any day is a good day, but the next few are the best of all, as Jesus goes to his death and resurrection. His body will be exhausted, beaten and pierced. He'll be killed with little fanfare except a hand-painted scrap of wood sarcastically proclaiming him king of the Jews. His Jewishness, his "religion," something he valued only as it pointed him toward God, becomes the basis for his death sentence.

Tradition, self-righteousness and fear drive authorities in Jerusalem to capture Jesus and convict him. It takes just a few earth-hours. Jesus is taken from his disciples, jeered, whipped, and crucified. The palm branches laid at his feet a few days before are withered and dead. Soon, he will be too.

God gave Jesus an instructed tongue; he knows what to say to sustain Peter, his mother Mary, even perhaps Judas and Pilate. His ears are ever-open to his Father's voice, and he only does what he sees his Father doing. The men who beat him and spit on him do so only with his Father's permission, and Jesus feels no disgrace. He and the Father are one. Their emotions are one. They know and feel what they are doing is Right.

Jesus' face, his physical eyes and nose and mouth, are bloody and bruised. His eyes sparkle with tears of pain. His teeth might be broken, but nothing in his face reflects shame. His pain and exhaustion show through, and so does his sadness for the sin of those who hurt him. They Know Not What They Do. But as his body breaks and fails, he shows nothing of defeat.

He who vindicates Jesus is near.

I want to know you, Jesus, and learn from you, and discover again and again your sustaining words and sweet undying presence.

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