By Anthony Casperson
“No, I’m okay. I like it here actually,” the person said to their would-be savior. Captured and restrained by the villainous archenemy of their favorite superhero, this person awaits the heroics of the one who has repeatedly saved them in the past. They don’t need this common individual to save them when they believe that their hero will come to save the day. It’s better to stay here in trouble than go with this nobody, they think. My hero will come soon. I know it.
But little do they realize that the offer of rescue came from their oft-times savior. It just happened that the offer of freedom came when the hero stood in their everyday guise. Costume left elsewhere, the hero sought to save, but was rebuffed. The person in need of rescue didn’t know that they were saying no to the very one who has always rescued them. Their hero didn’t look like what they expected, so they rejected the very rescue they sought. And they were left in their dire circumstances because of it.
This image came to mind while I was looking at John 19 for my morning bible reading. In the chapter, Jesus stands before Pilate. The governor did his very best to maneuver the crowd to lessen the desired punishment for Jesus. He tried to get away with just whipping Jesus, but the Pharisees and their cohorts wouldn’t accept it.
Pilate was even threatened by the crowd to have a bad report of his leadership sent to Caesar if he didn’t crucify Jesus. And in the end, he succumbed to their threats. Pilate cried out to the Jewish crowd, “Behold your King.” And at this they cried out, “We have no king but Caesar.”
The common hope of the nation at the time was that God would send one to rescue them from the oppression of the Roman Government. They sought for their prayers to be answered like the Israelites prayers during the times of the judges. Oppressors came and conquered. The people repented. God sent a savior. And they dwelt free for a time.
This is what the Judean people awaited. This is what they wanted. But little did they realize that this one who stood beaten, broken, and bruised before them was the Savior he had sent. This one whom they cried out to crucify didn’t look like the hero they expected, so they rejected the very rescue they sought.
Not only that. In claiming that they had no king but Caesar, the crowd (led by the Pharisees) claimed that it would be better to stay in their oppression than to accept the salvation of God.
But as easy as it is for us to laugh at a person who doesn’t realize their hero just wasn’t in costume and for us to roll our eyes at the Pharisees who rejected the one who had come to save them, we do this very thing quite often.
How many times have we cried out to God to get us out of a messy situation, only to gravitate back towards the very actions that left us in that terrible situation to begin with? How many times have we asked for guidance and wisdom, only to reject the answer because it doesn’t look like what we wanted?
We want things that make us happy. Our heart follows what allows us to do as we desire. But as soon as God reveals to us that what he calls us to is difficult, or will take more time than we’re ready to give, then we go looking for whatever answers will give us what we want.
And in that moment we reject because it doesn’t look like what we expect. Let’s come to realize that oftentimes the rescue we desire won’t look how we think it should.