We had friends over tonight to kind of rehash our trip from the past weekend. They are about 85% supported and will soon enough be on their way to Madrid, Spain. (sidenote: I can give you their contact info if you or your church would be interested in supporting them overseas!) Anywho, we spent a good portion of the evening talking about this certain opportunity that's been placed in front of us and really just trying to discern what the "call" of God is all about and if that's where we are with this. We are very much seeking God's leading in all of this, but I find that even sometimes in our conversation we lose sight of that and it becomes all about us. Not "what might God do through John and Marissa" but rather "What can John and Marissa do in God's name." Maybe you don't see the distinction, but I think even in those two phrases there is a difference.
Anyway... our friends have this tradition of watching The Passion of the Christ each year on Good Friday. It's been roughly 10 years since I've last seen this film. I quickly remembered why. Watching a man be beaten mercilessly and spat on and mocked and jeered over is not a welcomed sight. This man whose skin was being torn in two with whips of glass and stone imbedded, only to come to the point where it seems he can bear no more, only to be unchained and scourged on his front side as well.
Why, Jesus? Why are you letting them do this to you?
I really don't get it. Humanly, I cannot fully grasp what He endured. In reading through the gospels this year, I hardly remember even reading those parts--HE WAS BROUGHT TO THE POINT WHERE HE WAS UNRECOGNIZABLE!
How do I just skim over this stuff?
I want to get past it. I want to get to the resurrection. The happy part. But before Christ can make all things new, He must suffer--not for what He's done, but for me...for you.
I don't think we need to stay at the crucifixion permanently, but we definitely need to park there for a while and let it soak in. Imagine the real blood dripping from the man who was guiltless.
It's not easy to think on these things. That's probably why we need days like Good Friday--time set aside to reflect and admire the work finished on the cross. And that's why we need communion--Christ's command to "do this in remembrance of Me". Without those reminders, I hate to admit that I'd probably never take a second look. Read it quickly just as words on a page, but not bring the scene to life in my mind.
2 Corinthians talks about how in this world we (Christians) suffer this "light, momentary affliction." I would scoff at this verse. Are you kidding me? I sat by my son's hospital bed day in and day out for almost SEVEN months watching him fight for his life day in and day out... LIGHT momentary affliction?
Yeah, in the face of what Christ suffered on the cross, my affliction is light. It is momentary. I trust my Savior when He tells me He will make ALL things new.
For now, I will endure...
For now, I will find strength in my refuge...
For now, I will rejoice in the day that the Lord has made... just as He did at the Last Supper, fully knowing what was about to take place.
Lord, Jesus. May this Easter be a turning point in my walk with you. I look at our world and I still see the mocking faces. People around me disgrace your name every day in their thoughts and their actions. Help me to love them, Lord. Help me to show them You. Help me to be willing to sacrifice for the sake of spreading Your precious gospel. Amen.