Knock, knock … who’s there?   Jesus. Jesus who?

Knock, knockwho’s there?

Jesus

Jesus who?
That’s the question isn’t it. Who is Jesus? or as Mark put it, 

Who do people say Jesus is?
The disciples go for the standards: John the Baptist, the prophet Elijah, or some other prophet–all dead guys. As if Jesus were just a remake–a sequel.
But, who really is this guy Jesus?
Are you all up for a bit of exercise this morning? I want to go through a list of names/titles/descriptions. If it’s one you like, or use, or means something to you, you like it stand up as you are able, if popping up and down isn’t your thing, you can raise your hand. I am going to go through this list pretty quickly, so you might be doing a bit of up and down.
Knock, knock

who’s there?

Jesus, 

Jesus who?

savior Jesus
Knock, knock

who’s there?

Jesus

Jesus who?

healer Jesus
knock, knock

who’s there?

Jesus

Jesus who?

Judge Jesus

Knock knock

who’s there?

Jesus, 

Jesus who?

friend Jesus
knock, knock

who’s there?

Jesus

Jesus who?

King Jesus
knock, knock

who’s there?

Jesus

Jesus who

teacher Jesus
knock, knock

who’s there?

Jesus

Jesus who

victim Jesus
That’s a hard one isn’t it. (go ahead and take your seats if you haven’t) Who wants a victim Jesus? Victim, it’s like it’s a bad word. Victims are weak and wounded. Peter didn’t want a victim Jesus. Peter wanted a Messiah–an anointed savior. To be fair, he’s like any modern day American, he’d rather follow a hero than a victim. We are uncomfortable with that. But that’s what he heard when Jesus starts talking about rejection, suffering, and death. Powerless that’s what a victim Jesus is. And who wants that?
How many of us or

Don’t we want that guardian angel Jesus to intervene and save us from accidents and tragedies?

Don’t we want that miracle worker Jesus to cure our illnesses?

Don’t we want that liberator Jesus to overturn the government, the economic, political systems, racism, homophobia, to right the wrongs, to bring justice, peace, and love?
I do. I would stand–I would follow that Jesus any day.
But that’s not who we get today. Today we get the cross bearing Jesus. Today we get the Jesus who invites, no actually I think it’s stronger than that, demands–if any of you or me, want to become followers, let us deny ourselves, take up the cross and follow.
This is the— we must lose our lives to live with Jesus stuff, and this doesn’t sit well with me. You see I’ve been the victim. I’ve been told, not just once, but over and over again to give in, do as I’m told, to not tell anyone, that no one would believe me, and that my life is somehow not really worth that much, that I have no real power in this world and in this life.
So Knock, knock

Who’s there

nobody

nobody who?

nobody, who really matters
That’s the intention, that’s the purpose of the cross–to strip, to shame, to wound, to victimize. That’s cross talk. That’s the cross.
The thing is, that’s Jesus. He is the one who was stripped and whipped. Jesus knows the fear of all that. He knows it because he experiences it. It’s not just theoretical. He feels what it is to be the victim of forces way beyond our control. He feels what it is to have your job, your dream taken away, to be emptied of power, to be a nameless nobody, one of way too many left by our world at the side of the road. This is real death and evil stuff. And that is the Jesus of the cross.
So all of our victim stuff, all our pains, our wounds, you know what it means for all that stuff, it means we don’t have to ignore it and hope it will go away. W e don’t have to disown and cover that stuff up–It’s who I am; it’s who we are. What we do with it now that’s our choice. Jesus says follow him, take up all that stuff and instead of getting even, instead of getting back, instead of keeping quiet, instead of letting it keep you down, own it and rise again.
To rise again with Jesus is not eternal and perpetual victimization but to resurrection. This isn’t some self/help self/actualization stuff. To rise again with Jesus is so completely different this world doesn’t even know what to do with it, with us. New life that is lived full of power, full of potential, full of love for others, speaking and acting love and justice–that is what it is to rise again with Jesus.  
To rise again is what Jackie does every day. Jackie’s life is like too many, she was abused as a child, kicked out of her home when as a young teen she got pregnant. On her own, she was desperate and found “love” with a man, a man who used her, who gave her drugs, who beat her and sold her. A victim, after being stuffed beaten, bloodied, almost naked, stuffed in the trunk of a car–that night something just switched, and she remembered Jesus. She felt Jesus with her. She knew Jesus. But Jackie couldn’t save herself, she asked for help. She is still asking for help each day, and now helps others. As she tells other women and men her story, she speaks about Jesus being with her, helping her each day as she struggles to out of one life to a new one, as she rises up. 
So — knock, knock

Who’s there?

Jesus

Jesus who?

Rise up, follow, and you’ll see. Amen.

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