Fire in the Hole
They say that the male brain does not fully develop until well after a man’s teenage years. In fact, recent studies have suggested that perhaps this development even extends into a man’s late 40’s…looks like I might still be in the process of “growing up.”
The prefrontal cortex is known to be the personality control center of the brain. This is the area of the brain that helps individuals decide on what the possible effects of certain actions may be. An example of a young man without a fully developed prefrontal cortex could be that of a young college student, who intentionally slams the front bumper of his 1980 Plymouth Grand Fury into the huge, slushy, wet snow bank. If his prefrontal cortex had been developed further, he may have taken the time to observe that the temperature was forecasted to plummet from 40 degrees to -60 degrees overnight. Since his brain had not yet developed, he did not become aware of his error in judgment until it was time for him to head to work the next day, where he found his car is literally frozen into the snow bank becoming its own rusty ice sculpture. Perhaps, this young college student thought, “Woo Hoo! I don’t have to go to work! I get the night off, now I can take my girlfriend out on a date.” What he had not yet realized is that his car was still frozen into a snow bank…and…he had no way of getting money for the desired night on the town.
For many males, this think-less pattern continues until they get married, at which time, (If they happen to get lucky and choose a good wife), their newly acquired spouse will beat this undeveloped brain into development. Those who choose poorly will find themselves living in a perpetual circle of brainless in-activities.
Even if that previous example hadn’t been about me…I would still be a victim of an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex. One college afternoon, following a nice lunch of 2 pounds of bacon and a slice of pie, I studiously sat in the classroom of Christian Counseling 301 waiting for the humble professor to arrive. Just as the respectable, Mrs. Dirks, walked through the door, I, along with a friend to my left and to my right, (also both males), grabbed the edge of the table and overturned it while screaming, “Fire in the Hole! Take Cover.”
The respectable Mrs. Dirks calmly replied, “Mr. Olson, could I see you in my office after class.” I obliged, only to have her calmly diagnose me with ADHD. Hmm…I wonder where she came up with that.
Looking back on my life and decisions, I find myself stupefied by my choices. If I were ever to come came face to face with the respectable Professor Dirks I am certain that I would blush from shame and humiliation at my actions. Those actions were indeed shameful.
How much more am I overwhelmed with the shame of my sin. When I consider coming face to face with God Almighty, I am convinced that I will be able to do nothing but slam my face to the ground in shame…even face planted in the dirt is too respectable of a position for me.
Incredibly, Jesus, who had never performed a single shameful act…was shamed and mocked, beaten and crucified. He was abused for shameful sins that he NEVER committed. In fact, I have come to see that Jesus even willingly walked into shameful humility at his own baptism. In Matthew 3:1-17 we find John the Baptist was calling for people to repent…to admit their sin and turn from it. John was challenging people to publicly declare that they are shameful people. It is at this time that Jesus approached John and asked to be baptized. John’s jaw probably hit the water and he said, “No way! I am the one who should be baptized by you!”
Jesus replies that it needs to be this way. Why?
I have become convinced that Jesus sets for us an example. He exemplifies that we too should be baptized. He shows us that we too should be humble. But even more so, I think Jesus wants for us to know…that he is offering grace…he is taking our shame. He wants us to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that though He had no sin…he was willing to become sin…for our sakes, because he loved us and gave his life for us. We certainly see this in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, but I think that we also see it in his baptism.
If I have ever had a reason to believe, repent and be baptized…this is it.