Jesus Has Risen
1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.
3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.5The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.
6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."8So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.10Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."
Last week, during communion I had a realization which I want to share. The cross is about His love. I have spent so much time trying to walk in Jesus’ shoes when it comes to the cross, trying to envision what it was like to die in that way. I do this since He died for me and it was because of me personally, I want to know what I did to him. Not just the sin itself, but the pain and agony He endured so as to put it into terms I can understand. When I think of the event, each and every part of the day is worse than the next. To be hated by and have all of society calling for His death, or the beating, after having eaten so little and walked so much, to carrying the heavy wooden cross... each thing is worse than the next! Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ’s toned down (undoubtedly, real Roman beatings were even worse), of the physical scourging He endured without a word, is incomprehensible! Some say he carried the whole cross and some say just the crossbeam. If it was the entire cross, it was 300 pounds! But if it was a crossbeam, it was “only” 125 pounds. The walk he endured carrying 125-300 pounds was almost one half a mile. I couldn’t even make it three steps with that kind of encumbrance. Then, I try to understand the actual hanging on the cross-where pain and constricted breathing are unbearable. None of this even touches on the burden of the sins of all of mankind He felt personally; because of murders, rapists, abusers, even just merely unkind words and thoughts. All of the sin of mankind, for all of eternity and He had to feel what it was like to be cut off from God while this happened (that one alone floors me). I go through this exercise every time I share in communion.
I want myself to truly, deeply know how much he suffered because of me. It fully humbles me. I have been missing the most important point of all. He loves me that much. What a simple truth! I should have known I was complicating God's message. His love is deeper than all of it and that humbles me more than any of the stuff that goes along with the cross. Wider than anything that happened. His love is all consuming and transforming.
To truly know and value that He loves me so much to do what He did, puts the entire event into the right perspective. By having focused on the horrific events, I had my eyes turned on me. To realize His love, turns my heart and mind to Him, which is all He ever really wanted. That is the tangible value that comes from the cross.