How strange! Jesus never knew Monday morning blues. He never said TGIF (unless it was with the true gratitude he had for every day of the week). He never had an ego trip. He was never stuck in a rut. He was never bored. He was never lost in confusion. He never complained about his ‘employer’ or about tasks he was assigned. He was never burdened by what others thought of him. He never thought of his life being for him. He never chose the easy way out. He never reneged on a promise. He never felt sorry for himself. He never gave in to one-upmanship. He never used anger to intimidate an opponent. He never caved to griping. He never forgot the main thing.
It may have been this accumulation of Jesus’ ‘nevers’ that opened the way for the glory of the Father to shine through his humanity. It isn’t that all these temptations didn’t try to gain entrance into his inner narrative because Scripture tells us: “… he understands our humanity, for as a Man, our magnificent King-Priest was tempted in every way just as we are, and conquered sin.” (Heb. 4:14) That, alone, is enough to make our heads spin, but the following verses ramp our shock up to a whole new level! The writer of this important New Testament letter continues by saying Jesus’ refusal to fall into sin’s multiple, ever-present, all-too-human traps, opens Heaven’s love-drenched Throne Room to offer us free and welcome entrance “to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness.” (v. 16). Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat! Is anyone reading this far into my note not aware of times of personal weakness when mercy’s kiss and a fresh discovery of urgently needed grace would be just the ticket? The sweetest answer? Better than winning the lottery? Dare I suggest this verse is on a par with the Kingdom majesty of John 3:16?
It may also have been this accumulation of Jesus’ ‘nevers’ that opened the way for his Transfiguration, his miracles, his healings, his obediences, his Love Mission completed in Crucifixion and Resurrection. So many of his Divine aspects went understated in the moment, seen and appreciated only in the rearview mirror. Maybe we would do well to apply more effort looking in that mirror for a fuller understanding of this life we are now living. Maybe John the Apostle did just that and pictured Jesus as more, more as he presented himself on the Isle of Patmos (Revelation chapter 1) and was taken aback mostly at the timing and circumstances of his appearance. Maybe our ‘looking back’ could better prepare us for when Jesus chooses to show himself to us as he more fully is. Maybe this is the year, by his mercy and grace, we’ll never be the same again. PD