In the last few days of Jesus life, you better believe it was hard. The most trying struggle for the leaders of faith. What does Jesus do when it’s hard? When faith seems overcome by a religious death threat and incoming sorrow. Intense persecution would hit the 12 like no other time known to these men. At the most difficult transition Christ still leads. He leads you in your life as well. He is the good Shepherd and He will be faithful to you even in the struggle. Even in the betrayal. Even in the suffering. Even in the chaos. Even in the face of death. Even in the aftermath.
Jesus leads well. Take a look at the first of four principles taken from the last days of Christ’s life before death.
- Look for the beautiful thing.
Matthew 26:6 Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. 8 And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9 For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me.
Jesus not only looked for the beautiful thing in his last days he declared it. And then he went further and made it a part of the message of the gospel. (13Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told din memory of her.”). When life is hard write the beautiful things down. The laughter of children, the stars in the sky on a summer night, fresh rain. One more day is another reason to thank God. Steal cut oats and the taste of summer strawberries. Chocolate covered cherries. The greeting of your dog when you come home. The word “hello” after goodbye. The hug full of unspoken words. The reaction from a parent when they see you after a long time apart. A beautiful dream. And exchange between strangers. What are the beautiful things in your life?
Here is a link to a recent beautiful thing in the aftermath of hate’s tragedy in our country. One woman’s account of her encounter with an officer in blue.
This last week I have been doing a grief book where you write a lament everyday. At first I thought it would be a bit much. However it has been such an appropriate response to the horrors committed in our country. Lament writing is good not only for personal loss but as a vent for the national terror and hate. The following is a link to a lament in song. Give it a listen. The words land hard.
And today to the one experiencing sorrow, there is hope.
Hope like a bright star on a dark night giving direction and comfort to the chaos and confusion. This Hope is the humble perfect love of Jesus Christ. He offers you peace and a brotherhood built upon compassion, mercy, and love. His hand outstretched is a “God With Us” reality. As much as God is with you, he is also with them. May we all be gripped by grace. Look for the evidence of grace. Look for the beautiful thing.