Crown of thorns on a cross.

Day 74: Act like You Believe It

Read: John 19:1-16

It can be really easy to be upset with God. Things happen that just don’t make sense to us. I easily feel cheated by life circumstances, disturbed by the condition of the world around me, and anxious about my future. If I’m being honest, I’d really like God to just take my problems away—pay my debts, keep me healthy, protect my family, give me a reasonable degree of happiness, etc. But realistically, life doesn’t naturally give me the kind of security I want—the world I see is complicated and uncomfortable. My idea of God being all-powerful and ‘in control’ can feel like an insult to Him when I consider the harsh realities of the world. My view of the world is complicated and painful, so my view of a good God naturally corrects this by making Him simple and comfortable—but that’s not what I see when I see Jesus, the visible manifestation of the invisible God (Col 1:15).

Looking at today’s passage, we see Jesus, the King and creator of the world being sentenced to death. Reading this passage, I noticed how Pilate kept calling Jesus “the King of the Jews.” Pilate knew deep down that he was in the presence of someone significant—he just couldn’t see the whole picture. He recognized Jesus as a king, a king allowing Himself to be judged and condemned to an unimaginable death—why? I’m sure I would have been just as confused as the disciples at this time, because they also had a view of God which told them this kind of thing was impossible. They wanted the Messiah—God in the flesh—to bust through the ceiling like Captain America and deal some heavenly justice! But that’s not what they saw. They saw Jesus, willfully giving up His life. Jesus gave up His authority, He knew full well what was going on, and knew He could stop it at any time. The God I imagine would stop suffering in every case, especially His own, but why didn’t He? The God I want is not always the God I see in Jesus—and that makes me wonder, does that reflect badly on Him, or on me?   

It’s not enough to know that God has authority over all the kingdoms or governments of the world, what matters is what kind of Kingdom Jesus offers. It is not enough to extend my hands to the Heavens and shout praises to God, if my idea of God is closer to the American dream than Jesus. It is not enough to repeat, “Jesus is King. God is in control. I shouldn’t be afraid”, but not be willing to carry my own cross and obey Him (Matthew 16:24). I don’t want to hesitate like Pilate. When I look at Jesus’ life and willing sacrifice, do I see a life well lived? Or do I feel like my life would be wasted if I lived like that? I want to walk fearlessly to wherever life God takes me, but that takes a transformed vision of what a good life looks like. The best life is the life lived in the power of the Kingdom of God, where God’s will is being done through me. 

It’s understandable if we don’t believe this right now, it’s insane to our worldly minds (1 Cor. 1:18)! But that doesn’t make it less true. I encourage you today to pray that God will heal your vision of what a good life looks like, and that He will give you a strong desire to chase after the Kingdom of God. Pray that God will show you the next step—and when you don’t see the ground below, remember who has authority over the whole world. If you’re scared, go anyways. Put your life into His trust-worthy hands and let Him lead you.

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