The last third of the calendar. Today, we have a J-Type Star Skiff, sometimes called a Naboo Star Skiff. A yacht starship, it was used by the royals of Naboo. While retaining some of the elegance in design and engineering of earlier Naboo vessels, it also reflected the turbulent times of the Clone War. It was adapted for the war, and shunned some of the previous royal trappings.
Jesus was the King and the High Priest. Yet he did not come in pomp and speak eloquent words that were devoid of purpose. He was born without any trappings, amongst the elements, nature and animals. The furthest thing from our perception of royalty, but Jesus was not going to be aloof from humanity. Throughout his life, Jesus used stories and points of connection for the “common man” so they could receive and respond to God’s love. He wasn’t about showing how smart he was, but rather sharing truth with others.
Is Jesus deserving of our best? Yes. Is Jesus deserving of a formal manner on our part? Of course, but Jesus doesn’t care about any of that if there’s nothing behind it.
In Matthew 23, Jesus eviscerates the Pharisees. While we love to amen when Jesus rebukes the Pharisees, we should be on guard we aren’t guilty as well.
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others.
–Matthew 23:1-5a (ESV)
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law:justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are likewhitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous.
–Matthew 23:23-28 (ESV)
The Pharisees thought they were the spiritually mature individuals, but they were quite the opposite. They neglected God’s people and mission for their own selfish ambitions, and God only knows the eternal consequences of their actions. But are we that different from them?
How often do we try and put on a display of having it together, when really we are messed up. How often do we neglect the world around us for our own wants?
Jesus can see through whatever act we put on, and wants us to come clean with him. Because then, he can restore us wholly. It’s no wonder he came and acted in a way that would generate true repentance. He didn’t come as people’s expectation of a king, where they would act in a way out of formality.
But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
–Matthew 9:12-13 (ESV)
“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
–John 4:23-24 (ESV)
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
–Isaiah 53:2-3 (ESV)
There has been a lot of attention given to the current Pope, Pope Francis. People are flocking to him with zeal because he tangibly addresses their hurts and needs. He shuns some of the riches of his office so he can identify and connect with those less fortunate in better and greater ways. He exudes a realness which has infected people with joy and hope. And who is his example? Jesus.
It is the example for all of us. It’s an example we need to follow so we can bless others around us in need. The trappings that come with success and blessings are not bad. But do we keep them solely for ourselves? Do we insulate and isolate ourselves from a world in need? Jesus lives in Heaven with all of its blessings, but he also left all of that for us. He is resurrected and glorified, and yet has the crucifixion scars. The scars are for us, so we may experience the blessings and majesty of the Kingdom.