“So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Behold, the man!’
When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, ‘Crucify him, crucify him!’”
“Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him.”
The chief priests and Pharisees refused to believe Jesus was their Messiah. He broke their rules, appearing to disregard the Law. He accused them of blindness and wrongdoing. He surrounded Himself with the poor, the sick, the lame, those whose lives were entrenched with sin, seeming to elevate them above the Jewish authorities who prided themselves on strictly obeying the Law.
And so, in spite of His miracles, His clear fulfilling of many prophecies, and His astounding insight into their Scriptures, they rejected Him absolutely as the Christ and the Son of God.
It’s appalling to see the extent of their hatred for Him, the lengths to which they would go to stop Him.
But this morning, my heart is seeing something of a parallel. When God does not work the way I wanted, when my life or my circumstances have taken a different path than I wished, do I reject Him? Perhaps not entirely…but my heart begins to question His choices, His wisdom, His love. In the midst of “Why did this happen,” “Why have you denied me this,” and “How could this fit into Your plan,” faith is lost and rebellion enters in.
It seems clear to us, in the contextual light of the gospel, that Jesus’ focus—which did not align with the authorities’ expectations—revealed the heart of the Father: a heart filled with love and grace, with the power to transform lives for His glory, for their joy, for their abundant life. Jesus revealed the Father as One who heals and redeems, One who cleanses the unclean, and One who loves individuals enough to personally reach into the mire and draw them out into a life filled with His light and glory.
The challenge of our faith is that we don’t have the whole context here, in the middle of our days. That’s what makes it faith. Trusting God with what we don’t see.
I suppose, when we find ourselves torn between faith and discouragement or even despair, our focus will determine where we go from here. Fixing our eyes on what we don’t understand, clinging to our disappointments and questions, we will be driven further from God, far away from peace, hope, and joy. But fixing our eyes on the heart of the Father, on Jesus, who is the exact imprint of His nature, faith will begin to settle those questions.
Because our focus will no longer be on what we wish, but on who our God is. And that was the root of the issue anyway, wasn’t it? Wondering how God, if He truly loves us, if He truly has good in store, could make this part of His plan?
And our Father’s gentle, powerful response is this:
You are greatly loved. I withhold nothing from you that is truly good. I wove you together with my own hands and have set you apart to show the world my glory, my power, my faithfulness, and my grace. I have written each of your days, filling them with my plans for you—plans that are from my heart, giving you hope and a future. I am making you beautiful and have created you to be a joy and a light in this dark world. Trust me, delight in me, for I am the hope you will never lose, the God who is for you and will never let you down.