If He had wanted to, He could have had a legion of angels as His outriders (Matthew 26:43). Instead He showed up for His most important appointment on a donkey (Matthew 21:1-11). What stunt was He pulling?
The book of Kingly etiquette was specific. Kings made their appearances on powerful war horses preceded and followed by their triumphant warrior legions. And taking up the back would be his conquered prisoners, in chains. What kind of King rode into town on a donkey?
No wonder the powers that be were threatened (Matthew 2:1-18). Here was a King who didn’t play by the rules.
I mean what King would wash the smelly feet of his followers (John 13:1-17)? That was a task reserved for the freshmen slaves. No wonder Peter was offended. Was the Master drunk or what?
Yet Jesus made it absolutely clear that if Peter did not allow Him to wash his feet, Peter could not be a part of the new reality He was birthing (John 13:8-9).
And what kind of God dies naked on a cross? What kind of God dies for His people? What school of divinity did Jesus go to anyway? Didn’t He know that followers were expected to die for their god and not the other way round?
And even if for some crazy reason He had to die, couldn’t He have done it with more dignity? Come on, naked? For heaven’s sake!
No wonder so many Jews in Jesus’s time couldn’t accept His Messiahship. Ditto our Muslim friends today. Can you blame them?
This was a madness that had to be stamped out. And Paul like many wanted to do just that.
Until that fateful day on the Damascus Road (Acts 9:1-19). Not only had the madness returned to life. He was alive forevermore. And ruling in the heavens.
Paul knew the score:
And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all others.
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a human being. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But in this order: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.” [1 Corinthians 15:14-24 TNIV]
God’s weakness was stronger than human strength. And apparently His madness is saner than human sanity.
Take a good look at the world. >From Enron to Iraq, and the madness of human sin that confronts us daily. And that includes the sin we see in the mirror. Human sanity doesn’t seem to have much going for it.
Therefore the insanity of the Cross. The insanity of divine love. Makes sense.
But what will you do with this divine insanity? Will you cling on to the sanity of this world? Or will you welcome the God on a donkey. Will you embrace the Cross? Will you embrace the death that gives life?
I embraced the insanity of the gospel 35 years ago. It has not made the events of Good Friday and Easter any easier to understand. I confront Holy Week each year with an increased sense of mystery.
Long ago I decided that Holy Week has more to do with my knees than my head. In the face of God’s insane love, I can only drop on my knees and say: My Lord and my God.
Your brother, Soo-Inn Tan, a servant of the divine insanity.