So I have been noticing Jesus' posture lately as I read my Bible. Yes, I know that out of all of the theological concepts that I could focus on, this seems an odd one, but it all started when I was looking at Mark chapter 5. In this passage, Jesus is touched by the woman with the flow of blood and she receives healing and "he turns to face her." Did He need to turn to her? Did He need to acknowledge her? No, in fact, socially speaking, it was completely the wrong thing to do; but, He chose to do so. He chose to place upon her the dignity that, one made in God's image deserved, by acknowledging her when the rest of the world had refused to do so. When Jesus ends an evening meal with his friends, he takes the posture of a servant, and on his knees, washes their feet. Is this posture required of Him? Of course not, but in assuming this posture He teaches us about humility, service and love. When Jesus speaks to the Pharisees who have caught a woman in the act of adultery, He bends down and begins writing in the sand a message that we are not privy to. What does His posture demonstrate to us? To me it reminds me to not look so closely at the sins of another when I have plenty of my own. It reminds me of Jesus' compassion as He takes the focus off of the offender and on to something else, and in so doing, alleviates her humiliation for the moment. And what about his posture in the temple when He discovered it occupied by thieves and money changers? He was no shrinking violet when faced with the blasphemous acts of those in attendance. He was fiercely protective of His father's house and His posture shows this as He gathered whip in hand, to intimidate offenders into fleeing and turned tables of those selling sacrifices.
The posture that Christ took throughout His earthly ministry was revealing, but none as much as the one He took last. At the cross Christ opened His arms wide and both surrendered and embraced at the same time. He surrendered Himself to the plan of His father. After His very human prayer to have "this cup pass," Christ chose to not only pick up His cross and carry it, but to be nailed upon it with a viciousness that we will never know. What his enemies didn't realize is that they pinned Him into the perfect posture for receiving--His arms wide open. This was God's plan all along. With His arms wide open, he surrendered himself and embraced our sin, and in so doing, made it possible for us to enter into eternal relationship with Him.
As you may have noticed, the name of my speaking/counseling/coaching/writing ministry is Arms Wide Open Ministry. I hadn't thought about this final posture of Christ when I picked the name, but I do love what the posture reminds me: To live my life in such a way that I am in constant surrender to God's plans for me and to therefore receive all that he decides to lavishly pour into my life. When the time comes that I fulfill my purposes on this earth and Jesus invites me to join him in heaven, I imagine the heavenly gates opening and the obligatory clouds parting to reveal my Heavenly Father greeting me.... with arms wide open.
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