Young Man, Your Arms Are Too Short
“Young man, young man, your arms are too short to box with God.”
So begins the famous sermon by James Weldon Johnson. In a couple of words, Dr. Johnson summed up humanity’s problem with God.
We’re mad He’s bigger than we are. We’re mad He’s stronger than we are. We want to cut Him down to size—make Him equal with us.
This battle has been going on for a long time. Looks like we’d learn—we never win.
Adam and Eve challenged God. Jacob wrestled with God. Now, the religious leaders circle Jesus in Jerusalem, hyenas looking for a moment of weakness, a second of inattention to attack and destroy Him.
They pepper Him with questions:
“By what authority do you do the things you do?”
“What is the greatest commandment?”
“Should we pay taxes to Caesar?”
These weren’t questions. They were traps. They weren’t asked seeking knowledge or wisdom. They were carefully laid to trap Jesus.
What about this, Jesus? What about that, Jesus? And each time, He sidestepped the trap. No, He blew through the trap with the TRUTH.
The religious leaders had been playing a game of ontological chess with Jesus. They were trying to twist His answers into inconsistent responses so both He and His message could be discarded.
They were trying to force Him into moves where His own words would checkmate Him. Each time, however, Jesus countered and left the religious leaders without any moves.
Check mate. Game over. They couldn’t win. They couldn’t defeat the Truth Jesus spoke.
And if Jesus was right, then everybody else and everything else was wrong. Everything they believed was wrong. And everything we’ve trusted is wrong.
The religious leaders were left with a choice: do they trust Jesus and change everything? Or do they destroy Jesus and protect the status quo?
This is what Easter does to us. It forces a decision. Either we trust Jesus and change everything or we reject Jesus. We either believe Jesus or we kill Him.
That’s the choice they had. It’s the choice we have.