Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, (Matthew 27:27, 28 ESV)
One thing that has been speaking to me lately as I’ve taken time to dig deeper at the work of the cross, is Christ’s complete vulnerability. This is the Creator of the universe in flesh now stripped bare before mockers and people of governmental esteem. Jesus the King of all creation, naked before scoffers and soldiers who take him to be executed.
This says a couple of things that become quite evident to me:
1) there is no amount of shame that Jesus is unfamiliar with and because he has experienced ultimate shame and pain, he can not only identify with us, but suffering fatally in his perfection on our behalf, he bears the shame for us at the cross.
2) there is a vulnerability required of us, an openness that requires to walk in transparency within a community that God puts us in. We are his Body according to 1 Corinthians 12, and if we are to represent Him well, we too must be vulnerable, open to correction like one who looks at a mirror before heading out in the day. Christ places us in community to enable us to grow and serve one another to His glory and credit.
About three weeks ago my family and few of my close friends from EN Central, the church that I pastor, were out on a boat on a lake in upstate NY near Syracuse. It was picturesque, and although it was rather cold with a slight breeze on the fresh water lakes surface, we endeavoured to find a spot to take a dip.
Anyways long story short, I decided to take a dip, not realising we had hit an area as to where there was a slight undercurrent. It was bad enough that the life jacket I had on was super small on me. The more I tried to paddle, the further our boat seemed to have drifted away. I was at a point of complete vulnerability and I didn’t like it.
I tried swimming harder but found that the life jacket inhibited my movement. I tried to unbuckle the jacket but couldn’t reach behind me far enough to loosen the jacket to remove it. Now for a brief moment, I thought, “these are my friends yes, but I am their pastor, and pastors are supposed to know how to make it through everything right?” Not that day.
I didn’t care what stereotypes that have been put on pastors before, I am definitely one pastor who far from has it all together, and I gargled out with what little voice I could muster up in my mini lifevest strangled voice, the words that I rarely heard any pastor say, let alone any manly man…
Needless to say I was rescued by my friends. All of whom I count as wonderful God given gifts to me. I’m so blessed I get to do life in all of its quirkiness with such awesome friends – not just the ones on the lake that say, but to all my wonderful friends literally across this globe whom Jesus has given me the pleasure of building deep relationships where God-ordained vulnerability is just a given.
reflection/application question: who are your friends that God has given you, that you can be vulnerable with in your growth together as Gods sons and daughters?
For a short video I recorded after the episode on the lake, check this link out