For as long as I can remember I’ve known who Jesus is. I believe he was who he said he was. And I believe in the resurrection that we celebrate this week.
But that’s not why I love him. Or why I follow him.
Earlier this week I read a verse in the gospel of John – the account that Jesus’ closest friend is supposed to have written about his life – that I’d never really noticed before. It said that from the very beginning Jesus knew which of his disciples believed in him, and he knew who would betray him.
It would have been impossible for me to just have dinner with Judas that night. But to know all along, and pick him anyway?
I can’t fathom that. Any more than I can fathom what he did with Peter. Here’s one of your closest friends – the one you’ve invested so much in, the one who claims he’ll stick with you no matter what – and then when all hell breaks loose, he swears up and down he doesn’t even know you. But the minute Jesus sees Peter again, it’s as though it never happened. He hands him the keys and asks him to drive the car.
I just don’t get that. Because it’s hard for me to even give him a ride. But to have willfully chosen someone to be one of your closest companions for three years – someone you spend night and day with, work with, hand the cash – knowing all the time that he’ll be the one to do you in? That’s amazing to me.
Because I know the sting of friends walking away.
And I’ve also been that friend.
By no means am I minimizing my belief in the hope and power of the resurrection. But the way Jesus responded to people who hurt him – to willfully choose to love and forgive in the midst of that pain – well, that’s incredible. That alone is enough to bring me to my knees.
But there’s so much more to this life of Love I have chosen to follow.
A Love that forgives, a Love who doesn’t remember wrongs, a Love who invites us all to the table. Even the one who will sell us out.
This is the Love we celebrate this week, my friends. Happy Easter.