Sunday, April 5, 2009
Today was a long, overdue day back to Church. He always knows exactly what I need to hear. Pastor Chris has been doing a series on the seven, last days of Jesus' life. Today was the final one about the cross. I knew of the torturous acts of violence Jesus endured. But each time I hear it, I weep as if hearing it for the first time. You know the whip, the "cat of nine tails" with the wet leather, and bits of broken bone, metal and glass embedded in each strip, for the purpose of not just whipping, but to embed in the victim's flesh and then, the soldier would pull down, to destroy the flesh. The whip was intended to separate the trap muscle from the neck. Thirteen lashes on each side of the neck, and 13 down the spine, however, most people died before the 39th. Besides the betrayal Jesus experienced from his follower Judas, the injustice of the illegal trials, He experienced the physical torture for us, so He could, (as pastor Chris says), qualify to be our best friend. He's experienced everything we have, betrayal, false accusations, humiliation, embarrassment, etc so He can say, "I've been there". The humiliation He endured after He survived the whip was experienced in the "locker room" of the soldiers. Where they stripped him naked, blindfolded him, and hit and kicked him as they said things like, "if you are the Christ, which one of us kicked you?" The crown of thorns was horrible in and of itself, as it was forced down on his head, not just causing cuts to bleed out, but also internal bleeding, which I couldn't imagine the type of migraine and pressure He endured. Then the nails, (most likely hammered through His wrist because had they been in his palms, the weight of his body would simply have caused them to rip through his hands), used to pierce his flesh-and for our transgressions. As he alternated positions, his weight bared on his lungs until he could breath no more, He had to slide up-the splintered wood on his open-flesh back- to simply take a breath before sinking back down. He was in this position, most likely for 6 hours. Why? Why go through all that? And not just Jesus, but as I listened to Pastor Chris go over this horrific day's events, I wept, not just for Jesus', but for His Father. To see my tiny Layah bleed, comfortably sedated, for 12 hours, knowing I was helpless to heal her, now thinking of God's heart as He watched His only Son go through this, knowing He could stop it, all of it, I was overwhelmed with grief for Him, God the Father. He could have stopped Jesus' pain, healed Him, struck down the soldiers torturing Him, but He didn't because this was the plan all along. This was why they chose this time in history of all, for capital punishment was the most horrendous, in hopes that this would show us just how much He loves us. What else could He have done? That He would allow His only Son to go through this, for us to become heirs of His. Wow. As our service ended, I went to the cross and thanked Him. I thanked Him for sparing Layah so much pain. I thanked Him for loving her more than we could imagine love. I thanked Him for the 6 days we shared with her. I asked Him to give us life for this new baby, and by His stripes, heal my womb. Make it safe for this child and any to come. I knew when I wrote the letter to Layah, I read at her funeral, He knew my grief. But today I realized, He didn't just know it, but He experienced it with me. As I wept for her, He wept at my pain and suffering in losing her, since I am His child, His heir. I praise Him for His victory over sin and death, and that as Jesus was resurrected, so will we all, and I'll see my precious baby girl again. I hope this Easter, all of us will not just go through the motions of remembering this holiday, but we'll truly experience it. Let it change us. Let us receive all the gifts it brings, Peace, Hope, Joy, Forgiveness, Healing, Life completely. I pray if you read this and are not in a personal relationship with Him, you will call His name, and tell Him how much you need Him, and acknowledge yourself a sinner as we all are, and how you want Him to live in you. You need His peace, His joy, His hope, His love, His forgiveness. I pray you will tell Him you know He sent His only Son, specifically for you, so that Jesus would pay a debt He didn't owe, for a debt we couldn't pay, and He was resurrected to overcome sin and death for you. There doesn't have to be a "King James" conversation, but one you'd have with a friend, your Father, someone close to you. All He wants is your heart. He takes care of the rest. The act is not religious or a ceremony, but just a passionate cry for Abba, Father, Daddy. He loves us no matter what we've done. He doesnt want us to just follow rules, and deprive us of the world's idea of "fun", but He just wants our love. If we love Him, truely love Him, like a committed husband to a wife, we follow the rules, not just out of obligation, but simply as an act of our love and devotion. He gives us Mercy we don't deserve, and Grace we don't either. He wants each of us to call on Him to find our purpose on this earth, and to fulfill it. I hope you are blessed by this message today, as He deserves all glory and honor. Thank you Jesus for saving me from myself. He LIVES!!!