Friday, March 3, 2017

We Believe: The Cross

I really debated about which direction to take this week’s post. I wanted to provide something really touching and powerful for Easter, but what is more moving than the resurrection of our Savior after taking on our sins? What heights! What love!
The cross has always symbolized great love and freedom for me, but this year I've been reminded of what the cross meant for Jesus. The cross, for us, is an entirely different thing than it was for a 33-year-old man waiting to fulfill his calling in life and meet all of sin and God in one final breath. One final act of servant hood. One final moment in this world. Or at least that's what the Roman soldiers and the crowd and Pilate thought.
The lyrics to an old Leann Rimes song comes to my mind called, "Ten Thousand Angels Cried." The lyrics say: The angels stood ready to take Him from the tree. They waited for the words from His voice. And when He asked the father why has thou forsaken me, they watched the Savior die of his own choice. God turned his head away. He couldn't bear the sight. It must have looked like rain when ten thousand Angels cried.
I stop and ponder what it must have been like to be there that week and watch a gentle, loving man ride into town and be celebrated on Palm Sunday and then be hung on a cross just six days later. For Jesus, his whole life had led up to this week; to His moment in history that would forever change the world and love as we know it. Was He anxious? Did He second-guess the plan? Jesus was about to lay down his life knowing people would continue to mock Him, reject Him and walk away for centuries to come. But there was the hope that if one person could be saved—it was worth it. Like Chris Tomlin sings, "He sees the depths of our hearts and He loves us the same. (Indescribable) How great is our God!"
For us, Jesus suffered a criminal’s punishment at a time in history when punishment was the worst—The Cross.
If Jesus had come today, His death would be quicker and less painful, but Jesus endured the cross for long,  painstaking hours. The beatings and rituals done to criminals before they were hung were so extreme that many died before ever making it to the cross. Skin would be torn, bones would purposely be broken, blood would be spilled and exhaustion like no other would play huge role in the process. The shame and hardship of then carrying your own cross to having to rub your spinal cord up and down against the wood just to breathe would only add to the brutality. It's hard to hear all that Jesus went through, but He went through it for me. Jesus lived and He died for mankind to be free, to be saved and to live with hope every day.
My own hope for you this Easter weekend is simply that you reflect, honor and cherish what the cross truly means. Appreciate what a young man was born to do, what He sacrificed and what He went through for us. Don't just hear the story with your ears, but with your heart. Happy Easter!
"He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see..." -Matthew 28:6
"We believe in God the Father. We believe in Jesus Christ. We believe in the Holy Spirit. And He's given us new life. We believe in the crucifixion. We believe that He conquered death. We believe in the resurrection. And He's comin' back again, we believe!" ("We Believe", Newsboys)
-Only Hope

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