Your Mess is Mine
“. . . the Son of Man must suffer many things . . . and be killed, . . .” Mark 8:31
Life is a mess, failed plans, disappointed relationships, political despair, accidents, sickness and loss. The messes we wade through every day, are the same messes Jesus stepped into, only He didn’t avoid it. He embraced it. He plunged Himself into our messes. This involved an enormous amount of suffering, followed by an excruciating death. The life of Jesus is not a feel good story, it’s not a success story. It is a salvation story. From beginning to end, Jesus, with body and soul, gave evil a beat down.
Jesus’ death was not a last moment decision. It’s the final entry in a long history of suffering, embraced by prayer and scripture. God meets us in the ordinary occurrences that make up the stuff of our daily lives. It never occurred to Jesus to dodge, deny or just “get away from it all.” Instead, He made our mess His mess.
God has a way of using our messes as the stuff for working out His purposes of salvation in the world. God takes what looks like a hodgepodge of mayhem and monstrosity, and provides the plot and meaning to our otherwise cluttered and chaotic life. The way of Jesus is to live into the things we either cannot or will not bear. He suffers so we will not be seduced into all the usual detours of avoidance.
Jesus suffered and died. This fact confirms there is something deeply wrong in the world, something that we ourselves cannot fix. The pain in the world calls attention to our need for salvation and a savior. Jesus’ suffering is the centerpiece for learning how to deal with the messiness of life. Christ suffered, leaving for us an example that we would follow in His footsteps.
Paul summarizes the focus of our life like this, “Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Jesus chose the way of suffering and death. He did it with all our messes in plain view. He says, in effect to each of us, “your mess is mine.” Suffering and death, the worst life can hand to us, is the very stuff out of which salvation is fashioned. And that means if we want to live as Jesus lived, then we also have to follow Him into the messes of life.
We cannot settle for any other way of life. If we are content to live with small, safe hearts we turn our backs on the cross and place ourselves in a position to receive Jesus’ most serious rebuke, “get behind me Satan, you are setting your mind on human things rather than divine things.” Jesus will let nothing stand between Him and the cross – not even His friends.
What does it mean to know Jesus Christ and Him crucified?