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Lent is a time for Christians to fully examine their relationship with the Lord. Through prayer, sacrifice and service, we develop an understanding of what it means to "take up your cross and follow me." (Mark 8:34) As Christians, we are called to live Christ's life- not to study the life of Jesus and try to be like Him, but actually let Him live through us.

In my own journey this Lent, Our Lord is asking me to fully understand His love. Through several prayer experiences, I hear him calling me to this deeper understanding of His love- not just with my head, but with my heart. And the key to understanding that amazing love is to understand His suffering. My intellect understands that the Lord suffered, but I have never explored His suffering with my heart. His love is greater than His suffering, but how great was that suffering?

I am participating in an independent Threshold Bible Study called People of the Passion by Stephen J. Binz. In this study, I will explore the meaning of discipleship through the people who encounter Jesus during His passion. These people witness and are impacted by the suffering of Jesus. They saw the suffering of our Lord first hand. It is my hope that by going on this journey through their eyes, I will have a better understanding of His suffering and then of His love.

Please know that I am not a scholar. I have no formal education in theology, philosophy or church history. I'm just a regular person trying to make sense of what Jesus is asking me to do- to love like He loves.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day 19-Herod Mocks Jesus

Luke 23:6-15

On hearing this Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean; and upon learning that he was under Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod who was in Jerusalem at that time. Herod was very glad to see Jesus; he had been wanting to see him for a long time, for he had heard about him and had been hoping to see him perform some sign. He questioned him at length, but he gave him no answer. The chief priests and scribes, meanwhile, stood by accusing him harshly. (Even) Herod and his soldiers treated him contemptuously and mocked him, and after clothing him in resplendent garb, he sent him back to Pilate. Herod and Pilate became friends that very day, even though they had been enemies formerly. Pilate then summoned the chief priests, the rulers, and the people and said to them, "You brought this man to me and accused him of inciting the people to revolt. I have conducted my investigation in your presence and have not found this man guilty of the charges you have brought against him, nor did Herod, for he sent him back to us. So no capital crime has been committed by him.

Binz offers great commentary for this passage.  Pilate, in another attempt to not make a judgement concerning Jesus, sends Jesus to be judged by Herod who is the ruler of Jesus' home country, Galilee.  Jesus was born during the reign of Herod's father- the ruler who sought to kill Jesus as an infant.  The current Herod was the ruler who killed John Baptist and had his head brought on a platter to Herodias as a gift at her request.  He lead a decadent life and the expense of those in his kingdom.  And he wanted to meet Jesus- not because he was a great prophet or the Son of God.  He wanted to meet Him so he could see Jesus perform a miracle.  Jesus was a spectacle for Herod's entertainment.  When Jesus didn't respond to him, Herod made fun of him and found him not guilty and sent him back to Pilate.  Basically, Jesus was not of any use to Herod so he passed the buck back to Pilate.  It is interesting to note that Pilate and Herod were enemies until this day after which they became friends.  Somehow Jesus was able to pass an olive branch between the two men.  Even here, in His greatest suffering, He sows reconciliation.

Today, on Facebook, a link put out by the local news station caught my attention: 'Pray for Rain' to end Wildfires, Drought in West Texas.  It was a story about how the leaders in one west Texas county issued a proclamation asking its citizens to pray for rain.  The local diocese ran with it and is calling upon all its churches to include this request in the prayers during Mass this weekend.  When these links about religion come along on Facebook from this news station, I always read the comments and I usually make a positive comment to balance out all the religion haters chiming in with how Christians are a bunch of "ignorant idiots."  I am always amazed with how hateful people can be when it comes to religion.  Anyhow, in one such comment, the non-religious person said he was going to sit back and wait for this "miracle" and when the rain didn't come, he was going to laugh at all these "fools."  I imagine that is what Herod did.  He asked for a miracle and when Jesus did not come through, he laughed at Him.  He mocked Him and dismissed Him.  If Jesus wasn't going to preform for him, then he had no use for Him. 

There was a time in my life when I was a little like Herod.  I had my life all planned out.  I had all my ducks in a row.  And I expected that God would be on the same page as me.  But, it turned how that He wasn't.  And when life started making unexpected turns, I dismissed God from the board room.  If He wasn't going to follow my plan, then I had no use for Him.  Little did I know how miserable I would become.  Little did I know how lonely I would become.  Little did I know how un-purposeful my life would become.  Fortunately, God gave me the grace to realize that He was what I was missing.  He was who I needed.  He was my purpose. 

We can't use God to get what we want.  He isn't a puppet to make our lives go the way WE think they should go.  A friend in class last night said this:  "The faith walk is walking with God while not knowing what is coming along.  We walk blindly into the night and trust that the trials that cross are path are there to bring us closer to salvation."  Our prayers to God shouldn't just be a list of what we need and want, but our submission to His will and our willingness to walk blindly into the night and trust He is leading us to the path of holiness- the path of salvation.

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