Scandalous Life

Lent began this week: a period of time when we remember the events of Jesus life leading up to his horrible death and the glorious day that he defeated death by returning to life. Jesus will be the focus of my blogs all through the Lenten season.

something that is shocking, upsetting, or unacceptable

Jesus began his life with scandal—a young girl impregnated by the Holy Spirit.
Who’s going to ever believe that crazy story?

Not Joseph, the man she was betrothed to.
Not her parents.
Not her friends.
Not the village elders.
Not the gossips or the person who picked up the first stone…

The penalty for this scandal was
at the least—ostracism,
at the harshest—death at the hands of everyone she knew.

Then Joseph had a dream—he said an angel told him that Mary was telling the truth.
What kind of a power play is he trying to make?
He’s just an unskilled worker who never made it through school.
Next thing you know he’ll want us to call him “Rabbi.”

Who’s going to ever believe that crazy story?

He married Mary, but didn’t “know” her until the baby was born.
The penalty for this scandal was
at the least—social suicide,
at the most—the responsibility to mentor God’s son.

Jesus followed this pattern of scandal throughout his life:
He never did anything wrong—not once.
He hung out with women, even prostitutes—but not for society’s acceptable reasons:
He taught them. Listened to them. Valued them. Respected them. Loved them.
He turned his back on “children should be seen and not heard.” Instead
He played with them. Held them on his lap. Paid attention. Called them important.
He loved people—all people—
and gave no preference for wealth, social standing, political power, or good looks.
His followers were rabble
the unwashed, the unclean, the money grubbers, the uneducated, the sinners.
He didn’t follow the rules set down by those in religious authority,
but said rules must be based in love, in love like that of his heavenly Father.

His heavenly father?
Who’s ever going to believe that crazy story

He let people kill him in a most horrible way.
He died willingly to pay for my sins—all that pain, all that blood, and a stay in hell.
But he defeated death.
He came back to life here on earth.
and now he’s alive in heaven.
And he has room prepared there for all of his followers for eternity.

Who’s ever going to believe that crazy story?

I do.
I’m one of his followers.
So I must be scandalous, too.
I wonder what that looks like.


I first published this in December 2013.

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