Jesus died believing that his death would change the world. That he was raised on the third day and ascended to the sit at the right hand of the Father should be evidence enough that he meant it.
Calvary-like love. This is a term that I encountered this week in my readings. The term is used by Greg Boyd, a pastor of a church in St. Paul, MN, and well known Christian author. He uses biblical images to give us clear and precise examples of the Calvary-like love of Jesus. One image is Jesus, who knows that he has been given all power and authority by the Father, puts a towel around his waist then stoops to wash the dirty, stinking feet of those who will within a few hours betray and desert him (John 13:3-5).
The other image of Calvary-like love comes from Luke 23:34. Jesus who is able to call legions of angels to his assistance choses instead to allow his enemies to brutally murder him on the Roman cross. And then in defiance of their hate and murderous intent he prayed for the Father’s forgiveness for them with his last breath.
As disciples are we not called to follow Jesus with our cross into the same Calvary-like love? In our world, both locally and globally we have many enemies. The world is full of violence and hatred. Hourly someone is killed in hate, whether it be in battle, or because their skin color is different, or the person is of a different sex, or because they are of a different faith, or because they are just different than us. And this violence is not only physical harm including beatings and rape. It is also verbal, which is just as sharp as any hard-edge-razor-thin sword.
Yet we are not called to live out Calvary-like love? We are called to live it out towards those who commit the violence, as well as those who suffer the violence. It happens on the streets and roads of Winchester and Frederick County. It happens in far away places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. There is the threat of it in Korea and Far East. It is in our work place, it is even sometimes in our churches.
So I ask you which of us are going to live and act in Calvary-like love this week and beyond? Who will bend down to wash the feet of their enemy as well as the feet of their friend? Who will pray to the Father for forgiveness of those who perpetuate the violence and those who suffer the violence?
If it will not be us the body of Christ who practices Calvary-like love, is there any hope that we can offer the world? Shouldn’t we as Christians live believing that the death of Jesus changed the world? Shouldn’t we go forth and in word and deed, live with Calvary-like love because it does change the world? Is this the discipleship to which you are called?