Jesus’ familiarity with suffering was deeply married to His foreignness to sin. When He who was Love incarnate stood amidst the crowds of His day, He was without sin and thus without the root system of pride and arrogance. When the woman beside Him scoffed a mocking statement, He did not look at her and assume the privilege that pride assumes by writing her off or inwardly disdaining her. Rather, His heart responded in the only way that Love and humility ever respond, by bearing the degradation fully so as to receive entirely this bitter woman—without restraint. When the ones who had walked with Him for a time now turned to leave Him at His controversial statements, Jesus’ eyes did not follow them with even the smallest smugness in their gaze. For again, He did not even have such self-centeredness to draw from. Love thinks no evil and is not provoked. And thus, He loved each one fully in their desertion without even the smallest division of affection which pride so quickly exhibits.
The human heart that you and I know so well has never fared rejection well. Few things do we disdain more than the feeling of being unwanted. And thus we do much to avoid it, even creating whole systems by our personalities, our giftings, our finances—all to ensure that the old feeling of being undesired never confronts us. When we do feel that familiar sting of rejection looming in the atmosphere of our relationships, we instantly press our security-alarm button and go to work at ensuring our own preservation, our own protection, if even at the expense—and sometimes purposefully so—of another’s dignity or honor. Our instant and innate fallen response in the wake of dishonor is to press another down while forcing ourselves upward. But far from this is the response of Love. Living on the complete opposite end of the spectrum dwells the meek heart of Humility Himself.
Jesus took upon Himself the stigma of each rejection offered Him by all those around Him. He bore within His heart the sorrows of every single disgrace. Despising the shame, He endured every rejection with longsuffering and endured every degradation without escape. And always, with each of these responses, He was God revealing God to the human race—beckoning all of the generations to see and hear His every word and action and know forever that this is the God to whom we pray, to whom we seek, in whom we love.
Intimate Not Indifferent
Jesus, God in the flesh, hears our every word, takes into His heart our every action, holds no indifference over a single second of our lives. The law of pride leaves tremendous room for detachment and disinterest from another. Yet the law of love and compassion leaves not even an inch of such distance. Lack of concern is a foreigner in the land of Love. For whether the human heart reaches to Him in desperate need or scorns Him in bitterness, to turn on that heart with arrogant rejection remains inconceivable to the nature of God. Even to the proud in heart, He refuses to counter pride with pride, arrogance with arrogance. And though He wars against the pride of man vehemently, His weapons are not conceit and haughtiness but humility, truth and righteousness (Ps. 45:4). He pursues the hardness of every heart, seeking to soften the arrogance by the tenderness of His meekness. He waits patiently in longsuffering, pleading for mankind to receive what He so freely gives to the willing heart—love undeserved.
And to those that are His, saved by His grace, of His own Body, flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone, how deeply does this truth apply! So intimate is He with every thought that fills my mind that not only is He waiting for me to receive His love, but each day He Himself actively seeks to extinguish every residue of resistance, every pocket of unbelief in my mind and heart. Not only is He so vulnerably touched by that which I think and speak and believe, He actively moves on my behalf to convert my soul to the truths of who He is. My days are designed with precision to entrap my false ideas of His heart, to snare any resistors that lie in my mind, my emotions, my deeply rooted beliefs. My heart and life could not be more personal to Him.
Every day Immanuel—God my Brother—chases after me, with heavy feet and heaving heart. He will not be denied where He finds the faintest “yes.” He will not be resisted wherever He obtains the slightest reception. He is anything but distant…anything but indifferent. He chases me down and seeks me out with unfailing pursuit so that in the end, love might reign supreme over the whole of my heart and life. When the accusations fly and claim that His heart remains at a safe distance, that His eyes do not behold every movement of my heart and life with profound care and attention, the truth of His own nature arises in objection. The God of love listens and takes to heart my every cry, beholds mindfully my every movement, and takes into His heart each one of my actions from day to day.