An angel, we’ll call him Clarence because that’s what you’re supposed to name angels, descends from heaven and lets you know that in your future you will be crushed to death. But you are being given an option as to how you’d like to be crushed.
Option A: You will be crushed in a way similar to how the Beatles were crushed by a mob of adoring and rather delusional fans. You are meeting a need in them and they cannot contain their excitement and you end up squashed.
Option B: You will be crushed because people hate you and think that you are a fraud. They will dream up an excruciating means of a slow and torturous death, beat you to an inch of your life and then use this brutal instrument to squeeze your body to the point of death.
Which one do you pick?
If I’m going to be crushed, then I’d rather be crushed because people love me. I don’t think I’d pick option B. That sounds horrendous.
Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him…
he was crushed for our iniquities…
And how would Jesus, the Suffering Servant, be crushed? It would be through the brutality of a bloody cross. But there was a point when he could have been crushed by popularity.
And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him… (Mark 3:9)
Crushed, but not that way. Jesus will not pick the path of celebrity. He will avoid this type of crushing death. It does not please the LORD for his son to be crushed by popularity, and so he makes plans to avoid this dangerous devotion of fickle followers. Instead he will be crucified as a criminal.
There is a lesson for us in this path which Jesus chose. There is a type of celebratory martyrdom. Popularity can be crushing even in our day. And those of us who know that the path of Jesus is marked by suffering can be tempted to pick this type of suffering as if this is somehow what it means to die to self.
It’s not just any kind of cruciform life which Christ calls us to embrace. We aren’t called to be crushed by our own adoring platforms but rather our blood to be quietly spilled outside the city gates, among the vulnerable and for even our enemies.
Crushed, but not that way.
This article originally appeared here and is used by permission.