What would I do with Jesus?
I'll tell you what almost did with Him. Nothing.
He was my older brother. When we were children I looked up to Him. He could climb trees higher than anyone else I knew. And when I fought with the older boys in the village, He always came to my rescue. He never fought--somehow He never had to--but I knew we'd won.
After our father died, Jesus quietly stepped into the role of protector and provider. I was grateful at first...it made life easier for the rest of us.
But, gradually, my attitude towards Him changed. At the time when He should have bargained for a wife who would have added to our family's comfort, He became ingrown and thoughtful. He seldom spoke. And, often, I caught Him gazing into the skies so intently I knew He could see something I couldn't. And that's when I began to believe He was mad...not violently mad, but as Festus accused Paul, mad from "much learning."
I tried to warn mother, but she simply chose not to see it. All she would say was, "Be patient, James. Some day you'll understand." And, of course, the day came when even she misunderstood.
One day Jesus closed the carpenter shop, kissed mother, and walked away. With not a word to any of us.
I was angry. Not only angry, but scared and felt helpless. Suddenly, I was the head of the house--and I wasn't prepared. Bitterness and resentment began to replace the pity and vague discomfort I'd previously felt.
For those 3 years before His death, I stayed away from Him as much as possible. In fact, He was such an embarrassment to me and the rest of the family, we disclaimed any knowledge of Him or His activities. I lived in dread that the Jewish or Roman leaders would threaten or imprison us to put pressure on Him.
It was impossible to avoid hearing about some of His actions. I was convinced He was insane when they told me how He cleared the temple. I knew then He was doomed. The temple guard and Jewish leaders were furious.
I went with Mother to that last Passover. She never said, but I'm sure she knew it would be her time to feel the "sword pierce her soul." She was ashen and weak.
When the time came, I accompanied her to the crucifixion. I chose to blend in with the crowd, while she pressed as close to the cross as they would allow. But I watched--and I listened.
I was stunned. Not only was He convinced of His mission BEFORE the crucifixion, He did not change His belief while under the most extreme torture.
When He forgave, I wept.
When He gave John to Mother and Mother to John, I bowed my head in shame.
When He died, I felt myself being swallowed by darkness.
A few days later, I heard He had risen. I didn't know what to believe about this rumor. The people who seemed most convinced were also the ones who had been closest to Him in His mission. I was tempted to pass it off as a delusion or mass hysteria.
Then He came to me. And with Him came light for my soul. Knowing what my heart needed most, He forgave me. He smiled in the old understanding way He had, just like my older brother --not like God, although I was aware by then that He was, in fact, my Lord.
God's plan--all the pieces that never quite fit together--suddenly became clear to me. He gave me a choice--although I've never really seen that there WAS a choice; to my heart the only choice is to serve Him.
He served me in my family--and in that greater Family of Man.
So, what will I do with Jesus? I will always do what He has called me to do. As He was willing to spend and be spent, so I, too, give my life in service to Him and His children.
2nd of 6 Lenten monologues, written in 1985.
James had quite a lot of afterthought. Visit Peter Pollock's Blog Carnival.