Move to sunny California, they say. It’s dry and hardly ever rains, they say. We are in a drought, they say.
Just a few miles from us – in the Santa Cruz Mountains – our good friends dealt with over 7 inches of rain. In one day! To our east, my wife had trouble getting out of Tahoe due to blinding snowstorms. (Poor baby. Don’t you feel sorry for people stuck in Ski Heaven???)
We’ve got some amazing volunteers at our church, people to greet you with a smile and an offer to serve you. This most recent, very-rainy Sunday our greeters went above and beyond by splashing their way out to families driving onto the flooding parking lot. Armed with large umbrellas, our greeters walked people through the rain, from their parked car to the church.
Hold onto that mental picture – people huddled beneath umbrellas, dry and shielded from soaking rain.
In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he quotes Jesus’ last supper speech. One part in particular sounds theologically inaccurate. Some older translations, when conveying what Jesus meant by the breaking of the bread, read, “This is my body broken for you.”
But Jesus’ body was not broken.
Not a single bone in his body was broken. In John 19 we are told, “Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs… These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.”
That prophetic statement – “Not one of them will be broken” is found in Psalm 34:20. The idea of “no broken bones” was in accordance with the Old Testament Law regarding the sacrificial Passover lamb: “It must be eaten inside the house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones.” (Ex. 12:46)
So why do some Bible translations read, “This is my body broken for you”? A little research and an insightful word study reveal that this particular Greek word (huper) actually means, “in behalf of” and “beyond” and “over.”
Back to our rainy Sunday at church. Imagine the scene. Seated in your car, you mentally step-off the distance between you and the church. Rain. Pelting rain between you and the next dry spot.
How soaked will I get? Can I avoid this altogether? It would be so easy to turn back, returning to my dry garage.
But here comes a volunteer going above and beyond to greet you with an umbrella.
The umbrella is open in behalf of you. As you climb out of your car, and with every step you take, the umbrella remains over you.
Give your life to Jesus, they say. All your problems will disappear, they say. We are living the dream, they say.
Rains don’t slow. How bad will this get?
Storms don’t cease. Can I avoid this altogether?
You can’t outrun rain, can’t dodge drops. It would be so easy to turn back.
What problems threaten to douse your enthusiasm or dampen your zest for life?
Here comes The Umbrella, to meet you where you are. The holy, unblemished Umbrella. The unbroken umbrella sacrificed on behalf of you. The Umbrella who went above and beyond, the Umbrella over you.