And yet… 6 letters arranged as bait so we look again and consider another perspective. An invitation to hope that there is more to the circumstance and it’s not what it seems.
This last week I found myself in a court room declaring ‘solemnly, sincerely and truly that I will faithfully try the defendant and give a true verdict according to the evidence.’ One event has been presented to us from many different angles and just when one point of view seems credible the ‘and yet…’ appears in my thinking. I’ve analysed body language, tones of voice, facts presented and I’ve people watched in an effort to picture and understand an event I was not a direct witness too. I’ve built up a mental picture of the surroundings and people present at the time, clothes worn, position and posture of certain characters and the hard task of trying to understand motivation or intentions, emotions and attitudes in the communication that happened. Interesting too is the communication skills used by the barristers to persuade everyone to their interpretation with insinuation or highlighting particular details. And yet… is all part of the process in the task ahead to draw out the pertinent facts outside of any emotion.
Aside from this I’ve been listening to a series on spirit, soul and body and having lots of great discussions on how the Holy Spirit speaks to our spirit. We have revelation in our spirit but our emotions and thinking (soul) is often in conflict – as is our body and its desires. To realise a life that is led by the Spirit needs a continual ‘and yet….’ mind-set. It may be that my emotions and opinions surface first as a reaction to the circumstance I find myself in and my body may well want to do, or not do, something it should. If I pause enough to ask ‘and yet… what does the Spirit say to my spirit? Show me more of who you are in this Father’ then I can respond and be led by the Spirit and I can practise living in the Spirit and bear more fruit of the I AM that resides in me. The reality of ‘it’s no longer I that lives but Christ in me’ has enormous potential of seeing the kingdom of God appear here on earth as it is in heaven and a continuation of the incarnation.
It is with this backdrop that I read Jesus’ journey to the cross afresh this year. Having celebrated a Passover meal with His disciples, Jesus prayed during the night and as we listen in as He talks to His Father the anguish of His soul is evident. He’s already experienced the betrayal by Judas ; the denial of Peter and now when He could do with some emotional support and prayer the disciples fall asleep. He was alone but for the Father. During that night we hear Jesus’ ‘and yet… ‘ In John 17 he prayers first from His emotions of take this cup from me but then gets strengthen and comfort from His inner being. He starts to pray connection and communion, not for Himself, but for you and me. He prays for our commissioning to be in the world but not of it. He prayed for us to be Sons of His Father just like He was. The morning breaks with His arrest and I imagine Him in chains before Herod and then Pilate. And yet… the evidence speaks and both say there was no wrong in Him. And yet…the crowd bayed for His blood egged on by the demagogic high priests. What emotions flooded Jesus as He heard the hatred and verdict- more anguish and fear? Were His shoulders down and eyes shut in resignation? And yet…..names were important to Jesus. It wouldn’t have been lost on Him that Barabbas meant ‘son of the father’ As He heard the name ring out louder and louder rather than be resentful of the injustice perhaps it was a moment to let Life flow from the truth in His spirit. Yes – this man was the son of an earthly father. Yes – he was a son of the biggest liar and murderer who exists ( John 8 v 44) but the whole point of the cross was to make even him a son of THE Father. Perhaps Jesus whispered a prayer then: “All this betrayal, violence, shame, and fear – I’m gathering up all the broken fragments of humanity and when they break my body in this death I’m bringing all your sons home Father’
The flogging followed quickly with a whip comprising of so many tail ends infused with bones designed to rip and tear flesh and muscle from the back. Those wounds killed many a man ever before stumbling with the weight of the cross to be crucified. It wasn’t tack nails that the mocking soldiers hammered- they were hunks of metal piercing His hands and feet fixing Him to the wood. And yet…. even then as the wooden stake must have acted like sand paper on His blood soaked back; as He struggled to breathe and pain screamed through His body He STILL thought of making sons. John 19 v26
We are all some one in this event. Maybe we are Herod not willing to engage with the issue of Jesus. Or Pilate who sees and agrees with who He is but still washes his hands clean of Jesus. Perhaps we are stubborn like the chief priest who enticed the people to retain power and control by saying,’ we will not let this man reign over us’ (Luke 19 v 14). Can you hear our voices in the crowd shouting, ‘Crucify Him- give us Barabbas!’ – that one’s harder isn’t it? But the truth is we’d rather choose someone like that who we can ring fence as having no influence over us than accept the challenge of a personal encounter that leads to a life changing relationship with Jesus. We are all Barabbas trying to rule our own world often violently murdering our truest identity. Sometimes we deny Jesus too when the going gets tough just like the disciples did. It’s takes a lot of awareness to recognise fear but let the courage in your spirit be stronger. We’d all like to think we would be like His mother, Mary, and the other women with John who knelt at the foot of the cross and witnessed in support, not gratification of the pain on that final Friday.
And yet… we all need to identify with Jesus as a Son living in the power of the Spirit enjoying a relationship with the Father. Not watching it but accepting the grace of forgiveness and enjoying the union with the Father He so richly paid for on our behalf to enjoy. I’m remembering the betrayal, fear and injustice Jesus went through along with the bodily suffering and yet… death isn’t the end LIFE was released, Love won and He included me. He includes you