Suggested Reading: John 19-20
Stilled by a bout with sickness, I sat on the sidelines as folks prepared fancy Easter outfits and meals, stuffed colorful baskets with gifts and goodies, and planned fun activities for children.
Spring suits and dresses.
Egg hunts and family photos.
This year, all of our traditions remained packed in totes.
The scenery on Easter Sunday didn’t look the same in Wisconsin.
I missed the sunny weather and the fragrant flowers decorating our California back yard.
I missed the laughter as our sons searched for candy and cash stashed in plastic eggs ruthlessly hidden in the nooks and crannies of our two-story home.
Sadness tugged on my heart and nudged me into a full-blown pity-party. I nursed my cold and waved as my husband headed to church.
I wanted to go with him. I wanted to spend Easter with our sons. I wanted to have more energy, less pain, more laughter, less grief, more blessings, less trials.
Discontent didn’t make a cute Easter outfit, so I repented.
As I settled in to watch the live-stream video of the service, the Lord tugged my focus to a different place, a quiet place, a sobering place . . . at the foot of the cross.
Betrayed and abandoned, mocked and rejected, Jesus stood silently before His raging accusers, and endured torture (John 19:1-17). As He hung on the cross, Jesus provided for His mother (John 19:25-27).
I am a face in the crowd along with Jesus’s mother, covered by a cloak of Christ’s unending compassion.
As God in the Flesh experienced excruciating physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual pain, He thought of those He loved before the beginning of time.
He thought of . . . me.
But how often do I think of Him?
Do I ever stop “wanting something else” long enough to consider the weight of the cross on Jesus’s wounded back?
Do I think of the pain caused when the soldiers struck Jesus across the face, when they flogged Him with barbed and splintered weapons?
The punishment I deserve was heaped onto Jesus, the only one who can ever claim innocence.
God in the Flesh allowed the soldiers to ridicule and abuse Him, tearing into His flesh and His heart as they beat Him . . . instead of me.
Do I live like I know the value of each moment the Messiah stood silently, bleeding as mockers spit in His face, accepting the cruel sentence meant for me?
Do I stand in awe of Christ’s holiness as He restrained His limitless power and willingly accepted each blow so that the God-breathed words of Scripture would be fulfilled . . . simply because He loved . . . loves me?
The blood-stained cross, of Christ’s nail-pierced wounds and heart-wrenching cries to the Father, came at a great cost . . . yet, I pay nothing.
Do I “look on the one they have pierced” (John 19:37) with iron nails as the jagged splinters of the cross pressed against the deep-wounds stinging His flesh?
Do I consider the price Jesus paid when chose to take on my sins and be separated from the Father, accepting death and being left in a dark tomb that was truly meant for me?
Do I truly rejoice in the gift of the empty tomb as I proclaim Christ as the Risen King (John 20) who lives to give life-transforming love to the rejected, the forgotten, the marginalized, the doubters, and the worst of sinners . . . like me?
As I read through the gospel of John, do I remember that each word is written that we “may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God,” and that by believing we may have “life in His name” (John 20:30-31)?
Today, I didn’t feel well. I struggled with pain and fatigue. I became frustrated with the symptoms of my cold and discouraged because I can’t take medication for cold symptoms. But by God’s incredible grace, I celebrated Easter with my heart focused on the foot of the cross.
As we consider the cost of Jesus’s personal sacrifice, we can learn to appreciate the value of the blood He shed and embrace the sobering reality that comes with believing that Jesus died and rose and lives for us.
Oh, what a gift it is to be loved so much . . . by God!
When Jesus made His way to the cross . . . He thought of us.
When Jesus died on that cross . . . He thought of us.
When Jesus rose after three days in that tomb . . . He thought of us.
Jesus thought of us when He promised to send us the Wise Counselor, His Spirit who would reveal His truth to us and empower us to live for Him and share Him with others (John 20:19-22).
God in the Flesh, the Second Person in the Trinity, Jesus thought of us . . . Jesus thinks of us.
No matter what we’re facing in life, we can rise up in victory, walk in power, move forward in hope, and breathe faith-filled prayers with confidence, because . . . Jesus lives . . . for us.
Lord Jesus, we love You and praise You and thank You for the unchanging truth that changes us and gives us an eternal perspective through which we can view the situations we face each day. Oh, how easily we can brush aside Your priceless love when we get consumed with our busyness, when we get overwhelmed by our selfishness, when we get lost in the mess of our fleshly discontent that tempts us to desire something more or something else. Thank You for coming to save us, for dying for us, for living for us. Please help us to receive Your intimate love, to be forever transformed and empowered by Your constant presence as we live in the shadow of the Good News . . . forever freed and victorious in You. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
How does your perspective on trials and triumphs change when you know that Jesus thought of you when He died for you and rose for you, that Jesus thinks of you every moment of every day?
To pre-order your copy of Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace today, please visit my Amazon Author Page. We’ll be going through the daily devotions on this blog after the book releases on August 7, 2019. I look forward to growing with you!