Tonight as my family sat in our church's Good Friday service, I listened to our pastor speak about the beatings and crucifixion of Jesus. Something he said struck me. It was something like "With every blow, He felt the weight of your sins." Immediately, I had a "daydream" sort of moment, where I had a very visual image that looked like this.
I could see Jesus's face, almost like you would in a movie. My focus was on His face, but I could hear the crowd screaming around us. I could hear blows to His body, hitting again and again. I could hear a whip snapping. With each crack, Jesus would contort His body and shudder in pain, then open His eyes for a moment & look directly into mine and whisper "for your lies" or "for your greed" or "for your lustful thoughts" or some other sin of mine.
Then they stood him up and marched him up the hill to His death. As they threw his body to the ground & lay his back on the cross and began to drive giant nails into his hand, He again made eye contact with me. As the hammer struck the end of the spike, He looked straight at me, and screamed "this is for you!" This scene played over in my mind with each step of the crucifixion, each blow, every slap, every kick, every time the thorns on His brow were driven into His head, He cried out to me, "for you!"
But here's the thing.
My heart wants to immediately jump to Sunday morning. I want celebrate the VICTORY of Christ's resurrection. I want to focus on the empty grave. I want to 'daydream' about the women going to visit the tomb and finding the stone moved. I want to picture their faces as they discover the cloth He was wrapped in lying there. I want to hear their shrieks of excitement & joy as they realize He is ALIVE as He promised. I want to see the people outside the tomb leaping and carrying on, just like you or I would if we went to the hospital to identify our dead child only to find out they are not dead, but very much alive! I want to listen to Dallas Holm's "Rise Again" and the Dolly Parton version of "He's Alive!". I'd really rather not think too much about the Cross.
I want to skip over the agony of Calvary. I want to close my eyes & turn my head and not face the ugliness of what MY SINS caused. But Sunday morning can't come, the resurrection can't happen, I can't celebrate Christ's victory over sin, death and the grave without Friday happening first. I can't shout for joy about my Savior without first facing the horrid, violent, awful death.
I have to hear the cries of Jesus as He screamed out in pain & agony. I have to see the drops falling to the ground under His bloody body. I have to remember the torture, the pain, the horror of seeing a human being beaten until his flesh hangs in sheets, wounds ooze with blood and bones poke through the open stripes on his arms and legs. I must envelope myself in the dark, ugly, dirty, heavy weight of death.
And the hardest part of it all? I must remember that He chose to do it.
3 years ago