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Beautiful Jesus

by davesandel on April 3rd, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesday of Holy Week

John 13:21-38

         Jesus said while he was eating with his disciples in the Upper Room, “One of you will betray me.”  Peter asked, “Master, who is it?”…

         After Judas had left Jesus said, “Now is the Son of God glorified, and God is glorified in him.”  … Peter, wanting to follow Jesus, said, “I will lay down my life for you.”

         Jesus said, “Will you lay down your life for me, Peter?  I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times.”

         Jesus is about to be glorified.  The Greek word doxa includes, in its lexicon of English meanings, the idea of beauty.  Try this out: “Now is the Son of God made beautiful, and God is made beautiful in him.”

Somehow Jesus understands that all of what is about to happen will make God beautiful.  This is the point of it all.  But the way is not easy; he tells his disciples over and over that he will not be here much longer, and that they cannot follow him.  Their moment to follow will come, but not now.

How could they know Jesus is talking about death?  That this death-and-resurrection (John talks of both all in a piece, as essentially one event) will make it possible for us all to die-and-be-resurrected.  What springs forth from the cross, from a heavy-laden tomb, from the ashes of men’s hopes and dreams … that is a glory that makes God beautiful.

Not just Judas and Simon Peter; all of us betray Jesus.  Our guilt can be a killing thing.  But even as I die, God’s beauty rises up to replace my not-so-everlasting-it-turns-out ego.  Judas did not discover his place in this story before his own death.  But Peter did.

Judas was crushed by the weight of his sin.  Peter’s remorse might have been just as deep, but he felt responsible to his fellow disciples and then, beautifully, to Jesus on the shore after his resurrection.  And look what God made out of that!

There is always beauty and creativity in our times with God.  His invitation to create with him is a standing one, one that transcends any suffering, any guilt, and any death that we might fear. 

I will sing of your salvation; you are my hope, O Lord.  I will sing of your salvation; you are my trust, O God.  I will sing of your salvation; on you I depend from birth.  You are my strength from my mother’s womb, and I will sing of your salvation.  (Psalm 71)

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