Not surprised or offended
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but Easter may be one of the most significant events in history and of the Christian calendar. Jesus had to be born before anything else could happen of course, but without his death and resurrection, humanity would be without hope and without a savior. As we prepare to commemorate his death and celebrate his victory over the grave, it might be helpful to think about the significance of his death.
Jesus told his disciples he didn’t come to earth to be served, like every human king before and after him (Matthew 10:28). He came to serve and the way he did that was to first empty himself and become one of us in every way. He gave himself away by healing and helping, comforting and encouraging, and even saving some from death (Lazarus; the woman caught in adultery). His ultimate act of laying down his life for us was the way he achieved our salvation and showed us what love really is.
We are also called on to empty ourselves, to die with him on his cross and express his love by laying our lives down for others. In Renovation of the Heart, Dallas Willard said dying to self means we shouldn’t be surprised or offended when we don’t get our own way. When Jesus faced those final hours of his life, he was neither surprised nor offended that his prayer in the garden wasn’t answered as he first asked – that the cup be taken away. He was also not surprised or offended at what happened next – the betrayal, the beating, the crucifixion. He didn’t come to save himself and he tells us in Matthew 16:25 we aren’t here to save ourselves either. Just as he didn’t try to hold on to life, we are also to hold life lightly, not grasping and clinging to it, rather we are to let go and put ourselves in his nail-pierced hands.
In this time leading up to Easter, let’s work on not being surprised or offended – or irritated – when things don’t go our way. It’s a good way to practice dying to self and learning to identify with Jesus in his death.
Study by Tammy Tkach
First published on 28 February 2023, at www.gemsofgodsgrace.wordpress.com
About the writer:
Tammy Tkach is the Assistant Pastor of the Eugene, Oregon, USA congregation. She is a speaker and writer, and publishes a blog at www.gemsofgodsgrace.wordpress.com
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