Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Waiting, Just Like Me

I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! Luke 12:50

Have you ever thought of Jesus as being forced to wait? The notion may seem strange, but this verse is a quote from His own lips. Our Lord was clearly struggling and longing for some future event to be finished. And, as He waits He is “distressed” about the situation.

This shouldn’t surprise us because Jesus came to earth to live as we live and feel what we feel. He was God, but also fully human and as a human He was forced to wait.

It is commonly thought that Jesus was crucified and resurrected at age thirty-three, but did you ever wonder how scholars know that? The Bible only mentions His age once and that was at twelve years. The next time we see Him, He is an adult launching a preaching career with no mention of how many years stretched between those two events. To find that out, we turn to Jewish tradition and history.

Jesus taught as a rabbi [1] and by Jewish law He could not take that position until past His thirtieth birthday. Assuming He started preaching then and counting the yearly feast recorded until His death, the result is thirty-three years.

Between age twelve and thirty the Bible is silent. We assume Joseph died for he is never mentioned again in scripture although Mary is. If so, that meant Jesus, as firstborn son, would have become responsible for supporting a large family at a very young age. If at twelve He felt the urgency to be about God’s business [2], what must it have been like to wait eighteen more years before He could officially take steps that direction?

By the time Luke 12:50 is recorded, Jesus has been ministering slightly less than three years and the “baptism” He refers to is a metaphor for His fast approaching crucifixion. Step by step Jesus has followed the path His Father laid before Him, but now He can see the end of the journey and is distressed as He waits for the trial to be past.

In the Greek, our Lord described His feelings as “sunecho.” That means to be pressed down, constrained, kept in or compelled. While Jesus waited the emotions He faced were very similar to what we might feel and this is why the writer of Hebrews could say, “We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. [3]

Are you being forced to wait today? Do you feel the days crawling by one at a time and wonder if you have been forgotten by God? Lift up your head! God is not asleep. Jesus knows exactly what you feel and how hard it is. After all, He waited, too.

[1] John 20:16
[2] Luke 2:49
[3] Hebrews 4:15

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