2-Minute Multiplier: Passive

June 25, 2020

I was taught early on that good writing should not be passive as this sentence obviously is. Things that have stuff done to them should be discarded for things that are able to do stuff.

(The rule embedded in me so deeply that writing the two preceding sentences almost exploded my head.)

Passive evokes images of weak-willed players who sit back and let life happen. As opposed to take charge and make life happen.

Passive paints pictures of milk toast people in the middle of the herd and back of the plane and constantly being walked over and through. As opposed to out front iron backbone and granite chin types who pilot the plane and stand up for themselves.

Passive is not type A. It’s type Z.

Yet passive occupies the center seat in the message of Jesus.

He was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. He was whipped and ridiculed and crucified so that we would not be. He was raised from the dead so that we would be.

Moments of His life demonstrated His divine authority. Raising Lazarus. Walking on water. Healing sick children and lame men and hurting women. Multiplying five loaves and two fish into lunch for 8,000+.

But the success of His life revolved around passive. Letting weak-willed people crucify Him. Letting His iron backbone Father raise Him.

His true identity and purpose revealed most in His passivity.

Our true identity and purpose follow suit.

In baptism we are tied to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The total history of Jesus given to us because of something done to us.

In the Lord’s supper we receive the body and blood of Jesus passively hidden in the bread and wine. The communion of saints becoming our communion because of something done for us.

Even the faith that grabs hold of the life of Jesus is itself given to us by our Father in heaven. He wants it understood that our relationship with Him is all His doing. We were born into the family, remember? Not our will or choosing.

Pay attention to the passive verbs in the Bible. Celebrate the verses where we just sit back and let God do His thing to us, in us, and through us.

If passive is so important in the divine scheme of things maybe it’s also important in the human scheme of things? Maybe having stuff done to us isn’t all bad.

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