Sunday, I worked with this phrase in the sermon. The point was not as much the phrase itself as an entry way into the importance of developing a Scriptural Imagination in order to understand the failures of both Pilate and the Chief Priests in John 19.
Sometimes you push an angle in preaching too far. After the service, someone came up to me and challenged the phrase. He said that he can imagine a lot of things that he wants to avoid. He also said that he does think the corollary is true—you can’t desire what you have not imagined.
I kept thinking about the exchange as the church day wound down. In the sermon, I mentioned my initial hesitation with my friend’s Instagram comment. Sometimes people are able to remind you after a sermon that you over-stated something and I am convinced that was the case on Sunday.
So, perhaps you can modify my sermon illustration from Sunday to this. You cannot desire the Christian option without first developing a Christian Imagination. Pilate and the Chief Priests had not come to desire Jesus’ Kingdom, Kingship, and power because they failed to see, understand, or imagine what that kind of King Jesus really was. Jesus was and is the King of the Jews, and it is much easier for us to see that retrospectively. So many times, the way that is really God’s way comes to us as we look back, because Jesus is constantly inviting us to a reality that requires transformation of imagination.
So, friends, You cannot Desire the Christian option without first developing a Christian Imagination. May we all seek and accept a formation that leads to Christian Imagination.