Easter was two weeks ago, but I’m still thinking about Jesus, remembering all he has done for us. I can’t get over the fact that God made himself human, becoming completely vulnerable in order to willingly die on our behalf.
How like a lamb Jesus was, as one ‘led to the slaughter’. He didn’t speak up. He didn’t protest. He didn’t fight back, and he rebuked those who did. There were many opportunities for Jesus to defend himself, and he took not a single one of them. He suffered willingly. He went to the cross willingly. Just like a lamb.
Kinda puts my defense mechanisms to shame.
He went to the cross willingly. Just like a lamb.
Not only does this sacrifice demonstrate God’s love for us, it shows us his mercy. For Jesus forgave the sinner on the cross beside him, quickly and simply, welcoming him into his kingdom. No ‘sinner’s prayer’ needed. No lengthy confession required. That’s mercy.
(Sometimes I wonder if we forget how much God has forgiven us. We can get so judgemental, caught up in our own opinions. Have we so quickly forgotten his mercy? Have we lost sight of our own sin, our dire need for forgiveness?)
Furthermore, that ‘lamb’ took our disfigurements, our diseases, our pain upon himself. Isaiah 53:4-5 tells us so:
‘The fact is, it was our pains he carried—our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed.’ (MSG)
‘It was our pains he carried—our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.’
I do not know anyone who would take the worst of my sins and disfigurements (and I’ve got a few) upon themselves. But that’s what Jesus did for me. Jesus freed us from sin—something we could not do for ourselves—and then rose again, proving once and for all that it is not death that has the final word but Christ.
Yet this narrative can be difficult to believe, to accept that Jesus was in fact God, that he not only died for us but rose again. Sometimes we are cynical about such things, wary of the trickery and hypocrisy of religion.
Jesus’ disciples must have known how we feel. They were skeptical when the women rushed in and breathlessly told them their Messiah was risen. Can it be true? Has the impossible happened? Peter and John ran to find out; they saw for themselves the empty tomb and, later, the risen Lord himself.
At times we are cautious to believe.
At times we are cautious to believe. We have been let down before. We have been misled, fooled, betrayed. We dare not hope in a real-life, risen Saviour. ‘Don’t believe it,’ urges the voice of self-preservation. ‘Don’t get taken for a ride.’
But a tiny candle flickers in the darkest corner of our hearts, where we hope against hope that it is true, that everything we’ve ever heard about Jesus is true. We need it to be true, for if Jesus is not risen, all our hope and salvation is hollow fantasy.
May hope flicker in your heart today and flare into sunlight.
My friend, may hope flicker in your heart today and flare into sunlight. For he is risen. Just as he said. He’s alive. He’s really alive. He truly died for us, and now he’s alive.
Jesus, we are ever thankful for all you have done. We will not forget. Easter might be done, but we will never forget.