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The Shadows

Knee Jerk Devotional: Luke 22:63-71

Passage:

The men in charge of Jesus began poking fun at him, slapping him around. They put a blindfold on him and taunted, “Who hit you that time?” They were having a grand time with him.

When it was morning, the religious leaders of the people and the high priests and scholars all got together and brought him before their High Council. They said, “Are you the Messiah?”

He answered, “If I said yes, you wouldn’t believe me. If I asked what you meant by your question, you wouldn’t answer me. So here’s what I have to say: From here on the Son of Man takes his place at God’s right hand, the place of power.”

They all said, “So you admit your claim to be the Son of God?”

“You’re the ones who keep saying it,” he said.

But they had made up their minds, “Why do we need any more evidence? We’ve all heard him as good as say it himself.”

When I read the narratives of the scriptures one of the questions that I ask myself is, “Where do I find myself in the story?”

The easy thing is to always try and identify with Jesus. So, what I intentionally have done is to say that’s off limits. He is the unique God-man and so identifying with him in the story is not plausible. My next default is to identify with the disciples and sometimes that’s true. What I have to often make the hard decision to do is to place myself as one of those in opposition to Jesus in the story.

So, for instance, in the story of the Good Samaritan I desperately want to identify with the Samaritan. When in reality, I am more like the priest or the Levite. Perhaps it’s the story of the prodigal son. Don’t we all see ourselves as the prodigal? But, in reality, I am much more like the older brother. When Jesus interacts with the religious elite of his day I have to make the conscious decision to remember that is literally who I am today. I am among the religious elite. That sounds weird to say. But, I am a full-time churchman. I make a living from serving as a pastor to a community of people and I have advanced training and education in religion.

More and more I am forcing myself to see myself in the story as who I really am.

That is hard.

Particularly when I read this story.

I don’t see myself as the guards who mock and beat Jesus. I am not a representative of the state or a wielder of the sword. But, I am far worse. I would find myself among the religious leaders. Those whose sin here is that of not wanting to lose power.

You see, if Jesus is the Son of God, then he was the authority and not them. The people would no longer need to follow their lead or obey them. If Jesus had that kind of authority then the religious leaders would lose their stature and their authority.

Let me let you in on a secret. Religious leaders of any day and age don’t like losing authority or power.

This is why so many isolate and surround themselves with “yes” people. Far too many are fragile and weak.

By placing myself in the role of religious leader here, I am able to glimpse my shadow self. It provides me a check for the ways that I try to hold on to authority and power. It also opens my eyes to see why I need to be around people who are not going to simply tell me what I want to hear.

I am so grateful that what I have in my life are people who care enough about me to pursue me in authentic relationship. This means that we disagree about things. It means that we work through those disagreements. It means that all of us are able to be real. The best part is that when I move towards my shadow self they are there to shine light on it and help draw me back.

My prayer for you is that you will be surrounded by a community that helps you live authentically and helps you grow and change. A community that shows you your shadows and walks you back into the light.

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