I had this as part of the message I was going to give for Easter at Veritas. Since that won’t be happening, I thought I would share it here. I hope it helps to reflect a bit on this day, before Easter. We cannot forget the sacrifice it took to celebrate Easter.
A boy starts his life in a most peculiar way. He is born to two parents, but only one is biological. He is born in a barn and laid in a feeding trough. He grew in favor with God and man. As a teenager he was already living His life sold out to His sole purpose, “to be about His Father’s business”.
As he grows into a man he loses his father. It is now His mom and him and his siblings.
His mom knows. She’s always known He was special. The angels told her so. She could never forget that He was sent here for a purpose, though she didn’t fully know or understand what that would be. She just kept waiting to see. But she always knew He was special. He was God’s Son, not hers.
Around age 30 He begins his formal ministry. He chooses his disciples, those who will learn His ways and spread His teachings. They are entrusted with the highest calling. They are charged with sharing His words and keeping them going after He is gone.
He doesn’t choose those ANYONE would expect. He didn’t choose those who were in formal training for this position. He didn’t choose the smartest, the best looking, the high class, the popular or well liked. He choose the regular, the working class, the despised, even women. He chose THE WILLING.
He spent the next 3 years turning our world upside. He taught of love vs. rules. Actions vs. words. Acceptance vs. rejection. He gave us hope. He forgave. He loved. He challenged. He embraced. He performed miracles.
He was without any sin. He never broke a single solitary rule. He never thought a wrong thought, uttered a wrong word, looked the wrong way. He was PERFECT.
He was obedient. He knew what was coming. He’d always known. He knew THIS was why He was here. He knew how it would happen. And he knew it would be horrible, agonizing, excruciating, lonely.
He begged His loving Father, please, if this can be done any other way, please do it another way. If I can avoid what is going to happen, please let it be. But, if this is the only way, then I willingly go. I will endure all of this for You. Whatever You ask of me, I will obey.
And then he was arrested in secret. His trial was in the dark. He was rejected, betrayed, beaten. His path included the most horrible and painful way to be executed. He was whipped until bone showed through His skin. He was mockingly crowned with huge thorns. He was nailed to a cross bleeding and naked on the road for all to see. To be made an example of.
And He was alone. Most who had spent three years learning from him, walking with him, hearing his revolutionary words fled out of fear. They left him in his darkest hour.
They left Him to hang, to bleed, to cry out for His Father.
And even as He hung there in the worst imaginable pain, he loved. He did not condemn those who mocked him, who hung him there, who left his side. He loved them. He was still looking for those who would believe in Him. Who would believe He was who He said He was. The criminal next to Him, hanging for sins he actually DID commit, was granted eternal life, even while Jesus struggled with every ounce of energy in his body for each breath.
And then, it was finished. Jesus died. The ground shook, the skies went black. The Son of God, the innocent, the revolutionary, was dead.
You and I know what is coming. WE know the end of the story. But we can’t jump there. We can’t skip the pain to get to the happy ending. We need to embrace this part. We need to remember what Jesus did for us. We need to remember how He suffered SO THAT we can have a relationship with Him. SO THAT we can talk with Him, hear from Him, SO THAT we can have hope!
But none of that comes without the pain and the sacrifice.