Hello there! It’s been a few weeks since my last blog post. I was very upset with myself when I missed the first week and then by the second week of missing a post I realized something… this is just life. Plans change, priorities are made, and we have to be flexible.
Over these last few weeks I've had many moments that have taught me something or planted a seed in my mind of something I want to research deeper. Most of these “seeds” will take time for me to process and form my thoughts before I can share them with you, though. I had planned to share one of them with you this week, but instead I feel led to take you on a life changing journey.
Let’s set the scene… you are in your thirties. You have lived a life doing no wrong. You cared only to do good for people, to teach them, and give them a way to have a better life. You have many people that have received this gift from you and would follow you always. They love you. Of those people, you have twelve that are close and that you trust. You are burdened because even though you do good for all people, there are so many that still do not accept what you are able to do for them. Instead, they are trying to discredit you and all that you have done. In fact, they would wish to see you dead because they don’t like the hope that you are giving to the people.
One night, after much has happened and you are feeling a heavy burden, you have dinner with the twelve friends. You show them how they can love and serve others by washing their feet. You are teaching them to be humble. After dinner, you go spend some time in the garden to reflect. You know there are hard choices to make...life changing choices. While you are in the garden, one of your twelve reveals your location to the ones who wish you harm. You are not surprised by this because you know that people are weak and fear can direct their choices.
That very night soldiers came to arrest you right where your friend sent them. The next morning you were taken to a judge to be convicted of actions they deemed as crimes. They tried to get you to condemn yourself by questioning you. You never did. The judge couldn't find you guilty of any crimes. He knew that the angry crowd would not support him if he let you go, though. The judge's own wife begged him to release you but he feared what might happen if he did. There was another prisoner there with you. He was thought to be a murderer or criminal of some sort. Instead of releasing you, the judge let the crowd decide which one of you should be set free, you or the other prisoner. You were innocent and yet the crowd chose to let the other prisoner go free. They wished to see you fail more than they wished to see justice be served.
The crowd wanted you dead, nothing else would do. The judge didn't want to make that decision, so he washed his hands of you and handed you over to the crowd knowing that the crowd would make that decision for him. Before handing you over, the judge had you scourged, beat with a whip that has pieces of bone and metal in it. You were then taken by soldiers and beaten, spit on, and mocked. They made a crown of thorns and pushed it down on your head. They continued to beat you. Things looked bleak. You wondered how much longer before you were dead. You knew the time was close.
After the soldiers had their fun with you, they knew it was time to give you your sentence that the crowd was demanding. They wanted to see you hanging on a cross to die. The location where they hung prisoners, in Golgotha, was quite a distance away. You were so weak from being beaten that you could not carry your heavy cross. The soldiers picked someone from the crowd to carry it for you. As you all traveled to Golgotha, the crowds spit at you and mocked you. Once you reached your destination, you had large nails nailed through your hands and feet as you were attached to the cross. The soldiers hoisted you and the cross up and stood the cross in a hole where all could see you. You had a prisoner on each side of you hanging on their own crosses. Hanging on the cross was excruciatingly painful. The crowd stood around mocking you and enjoying themselves as you were barely hanging onto life. In the moments before you died, you took the time to provide peace and comfort to one of the criminals hanging beside you. How hard it must have been to even speak. Moments later, you gave forgiveness for the crowd's actions and then you died. It was a very sad, painful, and undeserving death.
This is where your story would end...if this was really your story, but it's not. It's Jesus' story. Did you feel His pain and struggles as you took this journey with me? Did you feel the ultimate betrayal of a friend, the conviction of crimes not committed, the rejection of those you only wanted to help, the bone and metal filled whip as it pulled across your skin, the many beatings, the cruel words, the thorns cutting into your head, the large nails piercing your skin, or the pain from your body hanging from those nails?? It breaks me to know that He did that for me! He did it for you, too!
But, that’s not the end of His story! His body was placed in a tomb and the entrance covered with a massive stone. They assigned two Roman soldiers to guard it because they expected some kind of trouble. You see, Jesus had claimed that He would rise from the dead after three days. The soldiers didn't want Jesus’ followers to steal His body and claim that He had risen. But amazingly, on that third day… even the heavy stone and the Roman soldiers could not contain Him! He did what He said… He arose from the dead!!! That day is what we celebrate as Easter. We serve a mighty God, who is bigger than anything we might ever face! I am so thankful that the price of my sin and yours has been paid, but don’t ever forget the suffering that took place for us to receive that gift of eternal life.
My account of Jesus’ final days on Earth is lacking. I left out many details, but I wanted you to get a feel for what He went through during that time. I encourage you to go read the entire account of His death and resurrection. You can find it in all four gospels(Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), or if you only want to read one, then read Luke chapters 23 and 24. I hope that you have found encouragement in this post to draw closer to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, as we go into this Easter weekend.
If you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior and would like to know more, please reach out to us. We would love to talk with you or at least pray for you.
I hope you all have a wonderful Easter weekend!