What do Clayton Kershaw, Bruce Willis, and Adolf Eichmann have in common? One is a master of fastballs and off-speed "junk," one has mastered the art of persona, and one was the mastermind behind the Holocaust. One is in his prime, one is just past his prime, and one never had a reputable prime. One wears L.A. blue, one saved the L.A. Airport from certain destruction in the 1980s, and one probably never visited L.A. in his lifetime. So, again, what could these three men possibly have in common? Not much, except that they share the same birthday: March 19th.
No one would ever consider these three men in the same thought under normal circumstances. However, when one Googles "famous people born on March 19," their faces and names appear together on the screen. Eichmann probably wasn't a baseball fan and was dead long before Kershaw was born. And Bruce Willis . . . well, Die Hard was released when Kershaw was only 4 months old and 26 years after Eichmann was hung for his war crimes. These are three very different men from three very different sitz in leben ("situations/settings in life"). Yet they still have something in common!
All of this reminds me of Jesus. Our Lord was a very different person from the two criminals on the crosses beside him, and the criminals themselves were very different from one another. The only commonalities they shared were their humanity and the date of their eventual deaths. Nevertheless, these three men found themselves together on Calvary. They were face-to-face with one another, forced into a circumstance that at least two of them would have never predicted.
Even so, Jesus didn't let his differences from these men stop him from ministering to them. Although one resisted his grace and love, the other embraced it. And as we read in Scripture, this latter "thief" was given eternal life for his act of faith. Even at the point of his own death, Jesus never gave up on his fellow human beings; he never gave up on the work he had been sent to do.
How are we doing in this regard? We come into contact with disparate people every day. How do we treat them? Do we show grace, mercy, and love, or do we simply ignore them? And what if we come into contact with a "thief" or, worse yet, an Eichmann--how will we treat him? You see, God puts us in circumstances that are often unpredictable and uncomfortable. But we must never turn from these. We must always see them as opportunities to excel for Christ--opportunities to do the extraordinary work of grace!
I have a movie idea! Bruce Willis is the action hero, Clayton Kershaw a ball-wielding superhero sidekick, and Adolf Eichmann is the villain. The setting is the L.A. airport, and Eichmann is holding captive a planeload of stolen pets, which Willis and Kershaw have to save. Yea, I know, it's cheesy--a grade-A "B" movie. But the idea of grace is certainly not cheesy. In fact, it's the central plot line of the greatest story ever told. Let's not forget that story this Easter, and let's show a little grace to those whom God puts in our paths.