Easter could easily slip by as just another cutesy holiday- with colorfully designed Easter eggs, decorated baskets and fluffy bunnies. We could easily miss the most incredible event to ever happen. The most ludicrous lavish gift was given to us on a cross…where You planned for heaven and earth, God and man to intersect and be joined for all eternity…if we are simply willing to believe and accept the glorious treasure You have shared with us. To honor what You gave us in Your Son Jesus Christ, we have read the biblical accounts and watched several versions of movies of Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem which include His betrayal, condemnation, beatings, suffering and death on a simple wooden cross. It is more than I can handle or comprehend.
Yet I dare not turn away from it. I make myself listen to His tender announcement to His dearest followers to warn them of His upcoming death. I cry with Jesus as I think of the agony no one had ever endured before as He took on the sins of the world. Every horrible deed or thought ever committed before or since was placed on His innocent body. He was the only one worthy to carry it. I am baffled by the way He willingly held out His hands to be led away when He didn’t have to. I can’t believe He quietly let a well-known criminal be set free so He could die in His place. I cringe as they beat Him with glass and rocks woven in to the whips to tear away His flesh. I make myself watch as they pound the large nails into His precious hands and feet. I dare not turn my eyes as He tries to pull Himself up on the cross to breathe. Through tears, I watch His life-blood flow out. In the midst of all of it, He calls out to You- to forgive us…for He knows we don’t know what we are doing. Your very own Son experiences the eternal abandonment by You…so we can be forever united with You. I make myself watch as He takes His final breath and dies.
I believe it is critical to look at Jesus on the cross. How else can we even begin to comprehend all You gave us when You gave us Jesus Christ. It is painful and ugly…but I dare not look away. I will not stop watching because it is all part of the most amazing gift You’ve ever given. If I stopped watching at the cross, it might seem hopeless. But I keep watching! Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is critical to our whole gift. It is the greatest act of love ever. It was not the end, but the beginning. I will keep watching….I will not look away…because Sunday is coming! Jesus’ resurrection and victory are at hand! Keep watching!
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18
“Let us fix our gaze on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11
Glorious Father, help me to see what You want me to see on the cross…