This week is Passion Week. Many this week will follow Jesus in the scriptures, on his path to Golgotha. Feeling Judas’ betrayal. Hearing the screaming mob. Watching the judging, the beating, the scattered friends and disciples, the suicide of the betrayer. Witnessing the tears of the fearful friend. How shocking it was to those who loved him. And how devastating that it all led to the Place of the Skull.
After the gruesome events of what the church calls Good Friday, aren’t we always so thrilled to be able to celebrate on Easter Sunday that “He is Risen, indeed!”
Sometimes, occupied with pretty Easter dresses, cute bunnies, yummy chocolate and traditional family gatherings, we might not focus on just how much that means to us, to the world.
Millenia ago, there might have been a universal memory of life before the fall that made man know there must be a better way to live. Maybe there were stories, still passed down through generations, that told of a great fall. But maybe not. Maybe they had no idea that this way of life wasn’t the way things should be, because there was no identified standard, no law, that showed anything better. No written reminder.
Then, long before the Cross of Jesus, the children of Israel were chosen to be part of an unprecedented plan. They would be shown and become very conscious of their inborn iniquity (the condition of heart). The eventual coming of the Law would show them their state, like a school teacher bringing knowledge to children. Before the Law, man was broken, and didn’t know it. Far from creating the problem, the Law was the beginning of the way out.
The Law came and located man, identifying his inability to do anything about the mess he found himself in. Later, Jesus indicated that this Chronic Heart Condition and everything it brought with it were the result of mankind’s vital connection to their chosen father, the devil. But before Jesus, there was only one help. The Law identified the problem, but the remedy, at least for one year at a time, was the sacrifice of a perfect lamb.
That perfect little lamb, carefully chosen, and purposefully, maybe sadly, brought to be slaughtered for the people! This might sound strange to some, but in this lamb, as well as all the wonderful and disturbing stories throughout the Old Testament journey, I see God’s Grace.
We see God strategically maneuvering, step by step executing his plan to bring humankind back into relationship. Even though man had long ago chosen to reject his true God (and, therefore, unwittingly became connected to the source of Death, not Life), Love and Grace didn’t give up.
God started to build the road back by first developing relationships with individuals who would listen and obey. They didn’t do it perfectly, but Grace persevered. Love didn’t fail. And those relationships, with people like Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Deborah, Mary — Oh! So many more! — amaze and inspire us today. And it was all so that, in the fullness of time, Jesus would arrive on the scene.
Jesus came and showed the Father’s love to a people whose hearts and souls and bodies were struggling with the world’s brokenness. But he came to do even more than that. He came to repair the separation and bring wholeness. He came to take mankind’s sin and its inevitable consequence upon himself at the cross. Spirit, soul and body, were all affected by the Fall.
Jesus did something about all three.
Isaiah 53 tells us that our transgressions wounded him, our iniquities bruised him, our distress and judgment (chastisement) were carried by him, and our healing was bought by the stripes made when iron spikes at the end of a whip ripped his skin and muscles apart.
Every part of us — Spirit, Soul, and Body — were touched by his Cross. Jesus was and is the remedy for Every Broken Part of us.
But why do we still find ourselves, often, with FELT needs that belie the Victory won that day?
Don’t we feel the need for cleansing of our heart whenever we see how easy it is for us to wound, hate, and discard people whom Jesus loves? Those whom he loves today as much as He did when He hung on that cross.
And what about when we doubt his words, his very goodness, when we find ourselves in circumstances that contradict the abundant life he came to bring? Doesn’t our doubt then make us back away, just a bit, from the one whose love is constant and who never leaves us alone?
So we repent, or perhaps thank God for the blood which has cleansed us once and for all. And we carry on, and try to do better.
But maybe it’s time we look to our Divine Help for the restoring of our Soul, that centre of our mind, will, and emotion, housed in our wonderful God-designed brain. All of them carrying and responding to years of our Enemy’s arrows. Arrows like rejection, hurtful words, physical abuse, failures and disappointments — all of which, according to those who study the brain’s various centres and activities, affect our thoughts, choices, and even our bodies in ways we are rarely conscious of. And often resulting in our wounding, rejecting, and discarding others.
So what does this have to do with Easter? A great deal.
I’m not an introspective person at all, or haven’t much been, for sure. Recently, however, maybe because of age or battles fought, I have begun to recognize a couple of the “arrows” I have cherished through the years. I’ve seen where and when they made their mark, and how I have protected them by giving in to the lies they planted in my soul. I know they were lies, because what the Book tells me — what The Cross tells me — is that I am Beloved — and always have been; Wanted — by the One who sent my Rescuer; Capable — because he is my strength; Beautiful — because I am made in his beautiful image; and Protected — I have no need to protect myself because he is my High Tower, my Safe Place.
He is all. The precious and glorious Remedy for all.
This Easter, may everything that Jesus accomplished for us on The Cross be brought to Light to us and through us, and brought to Life in us.
Happy Easter, my Friends! Celebrate! Jesus lives!