PICK A SIDE!
But Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” Romans 15:3
“Whose side are you on anyway?” I remember the pressure. I remember the question? Bullies in my 6th grade class picked on the underdog in my class. He had done nothing wrong. I felt the pain of the afflicted and stuck my neck out to say, “Stop hurting him.” With that, the bullies demanded that I pledge allegiance to one side or the other. I did and would have paid that day if it had not been for the end of recess and teachers standing in the gap.
In lieu of pleasure and ease, Jesus picked sides and stood with His Father. He paid for that choice with His life and He gave His disciples a heads up. “If they hated me, they will hate you.”
Is a broader picture painted of the bias against me if I align with Christ? It is. The ‘reproach’ quote from this verse in Romans comes from one of the great Messianic psalms of the Old Testament. Psalm 69. If I read it with Jesus in mind, this foretells His suffering in detail.
- He was slandered by his enemies. (Ps. 69:4)
- He was estranged from his own brothers. (Ps. 69:8)
- He was the subject of gossip and ridicule. (Ps. 69:11)
- He was criticized by rulers. (Ps. 69:12)
- He was the subject of obscene songs by drunkards. (Ps. 69:12)
If I am suffering any of the above, it could be because of association. By picking sides, I acquired instant enemies, spiritual and fleshly. I can forget that. When disliked and discriminated against, I often take it personally. Mostly likely, it is not. God’s enemies lash out to hurt God by hurting His kids!
I am not alive to please myself. I was born to pick sides, to speak as a sword and cooperate with God in the great meta-narrative of the Bible, the plotline of redemption. It is my privilege. It is my destiny. It is the pathway of glory and suffering. It is the way of the cross and the crown.
Today, I remember the way of Christ. I align my expectations accordingly.
I choose You. Again. Afresh. Amen