How we humans aspire to greatness so easily – if not outwardly, there is an inward thrust to experience some sort of greatness or recognition. Well known people have often had greatness thrust on them and when they are famous sometimes they can become out of balance and think they are above the law and their families or exempt from taxes or have the need to live in luxury.
Jesus was and is a King and yet he didn’t show His title off. He could have arrived on planet Earth as a superstar from space or He could have become a despot ruler or He could have shown off His power and might ostentatiously. Instead, He did the opposite.
He was born, in a manger where animals feed, to ordinary people after his mother had had an amazing experience via an angel when the Holy Spirit came upon her to start off the life of a baby that God planned for her to carry. Jesus waited a long time to show the world who He really was and then had a daily plan of action that was shown to him on a daily basis from His Heavenly Father.
Jesus promoted the poor, the weak, the folk that society couldn’t be bothered with, like the blind, the deaf and the leper. He had time for children and even spoke of them as being examples of how to come to God. His talks to those who wanted to listen to him were so unexpected, e.g. the Sermon on the Mount that speaks of being happy when one mourns for then one would receive comfort; those who show mercy being happy as they will receive mercy; those who are persecuted being happy for they shall have their reward in Heaven; those who are peacemakers being happy for they will be called sons of God; those who are poor in spirit being happy for they will gain the kingdom of God; those who are meek being happy for they shall inherit the earth; and those who are pure in heart being happy as they shall see God.
His life was all mapped out and His final destination on the Earth carefully timed and really very awful. Jesus, the only Son of God, was to die a cruel death which He did not in any way deserve. He had lived an exemplary life, loving His Father and loving the people God put before and with Him. His greatness was seen in His everyday life so why did He have to die?
Children can be quite puzzled about the day we consider Jesus died on. It’s called Good Friday but as we look at the events of that day, it was far from good, looking at it from a human perspective. Jesus was made to look guilty of crimes and the crowds gathered in Jerusalem on that day were incited by jealous priests who themselves thought they were great and doing the right thing. Deceived, we humans called for Jesus death and in the process Jesus didn’t protest His innocence but behaved like a lamb ready to be slaughtered. Isaiah 53 mentions this.
So why Good Friday? This was the day, chosen by God, when Jesus would be punished for the sins of every person ever born on planet Earth. Instead of us being punished for the things we do wrong, Jesus took it all and forgave the human race in the process, individually granting their and our reprieve. His greatness can be seen by him humbling himself to let this happen to him. He had agonised beforehand in the Garden of Gethsemane about the process He would have to endure but He wanted to do God’s will above all else so He willingly allowed Himself to be put on a rough Roman cross and to die a dreadful death. If we didn’t know that Easter Day was soon to follow Good Friday, then all would have been lost but Great is one of Jesus’ many names as the first Easter Day has shown us – not with eggs and rabbits but with Power and Might the world has never seen before or since! Let’s encourage our children to explore the real meaning of Easter this year and see the Greatness of God in it all.