Ok, I have literally started and re-started this post 3 times now. Each time knowing there is something I want to say but not knowing how or what exactly :-).
So, bare with me and we will see what we get!
Last week I started an Easter post. I fully intended to proceed with the continuation of Mark 14. Though today, my heart is feeling different
Easter has always been a holiday to me. A day that you wake up to what the Easter Bunny has brought for the kiddos. You go to church, eat a meal with family, go home, go to bed and start a new week. Churches are FULL! Typically, in a lot of cases, maxing out capacity.
If we were to take a count of all the attendees, in all the churches, across our country, we would probably find that the totals are huge! This is Great! I will never say that people attending a worship service is negative. But why this Sunday? Why not every Sunday? Why is Easter Sunday or Christmas important Sundays to hear about and celebrate God, but we can dismiss him the rest of the Sundays?
To start this off right, I want to fully disclose:
- I am so imperfect!
- I struggle daily!
- I struggle with my faith and my obedience to God!
- I have and still do struggle with attending Church every Sunday!
I am not in any way trying to point fingers or say anyone is better than anyone else. I am simply discussing this out of curiosity.
We all know the significance of Easter Sunday. Jesus rose from the grave and saved us all from eternal damnation! That’s a pretty big deal! People should celebrate that, right?
Let’s back up a bit, a little before the cross. Lets look at simply one week of Jesus life here on earth.
He rides into Jerusalem on a small donkey. He was wearing no jewelry or crowns. He was being hailed as the Messiah, the one who would give the Jews their power and freedom back. People loved him and adored him.
He had disciples that followed him whole heartedly. They loved him and vowed to never leave him. They would be there ’til death, by his side, never leaving!
Jesus knew that all of this was true in the eyes of the people and the disciples. He also knew that they were all wrong and that he would go from loved to hated over night.
Jesus prayed before he was arrested that God would free him from this mission. He knew that it would be horrible, and the pain intolerable. I can’t help but think his heart likely broke knowing how many would betray him and turn on him.
Jesus finished his prayer with offering to God to complete his will as he sees fit. He knew he had to carry out this part of the prophecy.
Jesus was arrested, betrayed by his disciples, betrayed by the “justice” system and ultimately betrayed by You and Me! I know what you are probably thinking, You and Me? How? I wasn’t there. The catch is though…You were and I was!
Jesus was beaten, so severely he should have died simply from the beatings that led to the cross. He was spit on and whipped with a whip that contained sharp pieces like glass. Every strike would hook into him and tear a gaping wound into his body! He was presented with a crown, a crown of thorns. This was placed onto his head and the pushed down as far as it would go. He was kicked and pushed, laughed at and mocked. Every second of this, You and I were there!
He was given a cross and told to carry it. He was beaten almost to death and then told to carry this huge, heavy cross. Broken bones, gaping wounds, blood dripping into his eyes and all the while…You and I were there.
When he made it to the site of the crucifixion, he was put onto the cross.
Now, take a second for me and look at your hand. Look at your feet. Imagine a huge, long, thick nail being beaten into them. Allow yourself to imagine the pain of all of the bones that would be broken and the tendons and the muscles that would shoot tremendous pain throughout your body as they were severed.
I know this sounds morbid, but it happened, it happened to him. It is hard for us to think about and imagine, but it happened.
Now imagine being hoisted up into an upright position being held onto the cross by nothing but that nails in your hands and feet. The way you are being hoisted up is by ropes, pulled by men. This means that as they pull and grab for more rope, you are being jolted each time, thrusting you into the cross and pulling more on your nailed hands and feet.
Finally, you are all the way up. Now, you are hanging by only the nails in your hands and your feet. The blood is pouring in your eyes, and mouth mixed with sweat. Every drip would feel like salt in a wound. As you hang there, you look out at the crowd of the people. Every person that is out there, mocking you, spitting at you and cheering on your death, is actually the person that you are going through this for!
This is where You and I were. Jesus saw You! Jesus saw Me! He knew your name, knew your story, knew your heart…You and I are the reason he did this!
Here I will let scripture describe the Death of Jesus:
45At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 46At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
47Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. 48One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. 49But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.”l
50Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. 51At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, 52and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. 53They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.
54The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”
You may question, why would God leave Jesus, turn from him? At that moment all of the sin of humanity, your sins my sins, ALL of them were taken on by Christ. This was it, he was literally taking on all of our sins, our mess ups, our mistakes and dying for them. All so that we wouldn’t have to. God, was not able to look upon Christ during this time because of the sin.
I will follow with the scriptures good news that Christ Has Risen; Easter!
Matthew 28: 1-20
1Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.
2Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. 3His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. 4The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.
5Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. 7And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”
8The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. 9And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”
11As the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and told the leading priests what had happened. 12A meeting with the elders was called, and they decided to give the soldiers a large bribe. 13They told the soldiers, “You must say, ‘Jesus’ disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body.’ 14If the governor hears about it, we’ll stand up for you so you won’t get in trouble.” 15So the guards accepted the bribe and said what they were told to say. Their story spread widely among the Jews, and they still tell it today.
16Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!
18Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
He is Risen, He is Risen indeed!
So, Easter Sunday is a great day to celebrate Christ rising from the dead. Verse 20 says: Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
We are his new disciples! You and I! This is a huge job, one that requires a LOT more than a visit to church once or twice a year.
Jesus saw your face as he was dying, taking on your sins! He KNOWS you are human and you will fail. He still LOVES you, so much that he did all of this for YOU! We are the nail in his hand, the thorns on his brow and the whip that tore him apart. We are these things because it is because of our sins that they were done. Our humanness caused this!
God is not a hateful god…quite the opposite. Should you or I endure this, or God forbid, one of our loved ones…we would seek revenge! We would be consumed with hate! But Jesus did this for us! The ultimate display of love!
If you have not come to know Christ as your savior, I ask that you just allow yourself to be open to him. You don’t have to know what to do or what to say…he is there and he has his arms open wide. There is NOTHING you could have done or could do that would make him not want you! NOTHING!
Just say Jesus! He will respond and he will love you! Even if you have denied him and tried to convince yourself he is just a concept…open your heart and he will prove to you the opposite!
If you agree or if you are feeling Jesus tug at your heart comment below with an Amen!
Thank you Jesus!