Summary: We are living unprecedented times. We ask ourselves what would Jesus do? This good question can be misleading. Rather we should ask, what did Jesus do? He was born into an era of injustice, violence and pain. He was the victim of abuse and injustice. What did He do?
Message by Gabi Faria
It is my understanding that you have been in a message series called a Reflection on the 12 stations of the cross. Just last week my sister preached (worship leader preaching, preacher can’t sing, my voice would disconnect our network with Jesus!) on the Via Sacra, that moment when Jesus is carrying the weight of our sins, where each painful step is a step towards the joy set before him, the joy of our salvation and redemption! Renee explained the beauty of service as she explored this improbable character, Simon of Cirene (heart of worship recap).
Golgotha- place of the skull
And in the sequence of the new testament gospels, today we arrive at Golgotha, the hill where Jesus was crucified. They call Golgotha the place of the skull because it was a skull shaped hill (don’t ask me what that looks like). But the hill where Jesus was executed was outside the city walls of Jerusalem. And after this unbearably long walk, they arrive at this place, the cross gets thrown on the ground and the soldiers proceed to piercing Jesus’ hands and feet onto it. Next thing they start elevating this cross until Jesus is there, hanging on it, gasping for air. Now I want you to put yourself in this moment. This is Jesus we are talking about. Jesus whom we love. Jesus whom we sing to, Jesus whom we worship, Jesus our best friend, Jesus our teacher, Jesus our leader, Jesus our king. Think of this moment.
Now I want to go back, kind of like they do in the movies. We have entered the story at its peak, and now I want to rewind to about three years before.
Flashback – sermon on the mount
It’s a beautiful sunny day. Jesus is standing on a hill, a different hill, we don’t know the exact location but it’s not important. The crowds that were there that day were watching with great expectation. What is Jesus about to say?! The disciples especially, were a mix of anxious and excited for Jesus to speak! Now I want to give you some context to this crowd. You see the Jews had been waiting for a Messiah. They had read the scriptures, they knew the prophecies, a king was coming to save them and set them free.
The Jews were tired. Tired of living of under the oppression of the Roman Empire. Tired of the pain, abuse and persecution. Slavery was a reality, violence was everywhere, human rights were not even a thing. The gap between the haves and the have nots was incredibly significant. Women were living in patriarchal, male dominated society where so often they were mistreated, disrespected and hurt. People were desperate for hope, people were desperate for a Saviour.
I’m sure you can understand them. We are living in a time where COVID-19 is unmercifully taking thousands of lives. Economies are breaking down leaving the vulnerable destitute, people have no income, no way to provide for themselves and their families. Protests and manifestations have broken out across the whole world, people are tired of injustice, of inequality, tired of suffering. Tired of living in a world where the colour of your skin still matters.
So the Jews were tired, they were longing for a Saviour. So as Jesus is standing there on that hill, they start thinking of the prophecies.
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. Isaiah 9:6-7
This is it, this is the king we have been waiting for! Jesus himself had confirmed it. The Bible says in Mark chapter 1, Matthew chapter 9, Luke chapter 4, that Jesus went around preaching the Good news of the Kingdom of God, that was here and now! So they’re looking up at Jesus, surely this moment will mark the beginning of the revolution we have anticipated!
Next thing, Jesus starts speaking and I can only imagine their utter confusion when Jesus starts saying things like, “blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7 Or “blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God!” Matthew 5:7
I can see his disciples being like, wait we were gonna start a revolution, about to make history, how does being peacemakers fit into that plan?
Or when he says things like “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” Matthew 5:44
You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[h] 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. Matthew 5:38-39