They looked at him weird. “You must hate your life.” Probably the worst pickup line ever. From an aspiring revolutionary no less. From an aspiring Megachurch pastor. From a rising politician. From Barnum and Bailey selling tickets to their circus.
Not a great line if you want to gain friends, followers, and customers.
But it probably made sense.
To the woman sneaking out in the middle of the day to get a glass of water.
To the leper watching his former family walk by ignoring him, and his unchosen friends fighting over a bowl of water.
To the young man who made his first million but still felt sick inside because he had to smile as the Roman guard made fun of his family, the same family who didn’t even acknowledge him when they came to pay their taxes at his office.
To those who hated their life, Jesus made a lot of sense. They didn’t have to intellectualize it. There was no illusion. They were at the end of the rope.
To the thief on the cross, Jesus was his last hope as life in this world amounted to death and the people, oh people, rejoiced in it. Remember me, Jesus. Everyone else would remember him as guilty and dead. Jesus remembered him differently. Jesus remembered him through the filter of the cross, complete mercy, and love. Jesus’ memory is the only one that matters, the only one that alters reality.
It’s hard to hear Jesus when you are healthy, or you think you are. It’s hard to hear Him when you love your life (right now) when you think you’re just fine, when everyone seems quite happy with you (what have you done for me lately).
Jesus seems to almost speak nonsense to the common fella. Where are the 7 steps to a good life now? Or even the practical advice to kicking drugs and grabbing the bull by the horns? Or at best, give me a book on how to carry a cross and win friends and influence people.
So Jesus keeps speaking. He speaks today through His people. He won’t stop talking about our impossible situation and His ridiculous grace. He shouts, He whispers, He sings, He cries. For some, it seems absolutely bizarre.
Until one day it doesn’t.