What’s left? What is left of Jesus after all of this? We started this Lenten journey on the Mt. of Transfiguration. Jesus called his three best to the place where great people from history met God. There three apostles saw Jesus filled with divine light. Where he stopped and the rest of God began was blurred nearly beyond recognition. That Jesus was God was never so evident.
But the shine wore off quickly as he walked toward to Jerusalem. He was very much human as we walked with very human apostles, teaching and sometimes rebuking them.
But then it was showtime. Jesus was ready to enter the city of kings. He fulfilled the scriptures and entered the city. Finally, after hundreds of years, Israel would be great again. Where Jesus stopped and king David began, you could barely tell. That Jesus was the messiah of Israel was never so clear.
And that’s where the story should have ended. We should have stopped in the hallway. But we didn’t. We came in here and heard the rest of the story.
We heard about the person who was supposedly God, lose. He could have saved himself, if he wanted. He could have called fire down. But he didn’t. He kept going to the cross.
We heard about the person who was supposedly the savior of a nation. He could have raise an army and overthrown Rome. He could have commanded the armies of heaven. But he didn’t. He kept going to the cross.
The closer he gets, the less he looks like the shining one on the mountain, or the royal one on the donkey. The close he gets to the cross the more he looks like us.
Christ cannot minister to the fallen from atop a mountain or even a steed.
He meets us not at his biggest, but at our smallest.
This week we follow Jesus past the point of comfort. We are not going to a mountain top experience. We will have to leave our parade palms behind.
This week we follow Jesus to a royal palace. Not his but the one of earthly rulers.
This week we follow Jesus to a holy place. Not a serene setting in nature but to an instrument of death and terrorism.
This week we watch the pioneer of our faith will save the world but not before he sees the worst of what it has to offer.
Because Jesus has not come to see the best of our humanity, he has come to save the worst of it.
And with him, we will plumb the depths of humanity. We will see parts of ourselves we know only too well. We will see betrayal. Cowardice. Greed. Corruption.
We see parts of ourselves in these stories we would rather not. And yet, those who claim the high calling must follow Christ lower and lower.
What’s left of Jesus will be very little.
What’s left of Jesus will be, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
What’s left of Jesus will not be holy light nor a crown of gold.
It will be a child calling out to a parent.
And when he has finished this journey,
We will be able to the same.