I grew up in a home where faith in God didn’t play much of a role. Neither of my parents claimed any sort of a religious preference. I’d say at best, we were a CEO-family: that’s code for Christmas and Easter Only churchgoers. We’d show up in church for the really big events. Like good CEO’s, we attended different churches around town just to cover our bases.
We might pick a Presbyterian church for Christmas and select a Baptist variety for Easter. The next year we’d make our way to a Methodist church for Christmas with an appearance at a Catholic church when Easter came around. I can’t say we ever went to the same church twice. Here’s the downside to that approach. As a young person, I really didn’t get a real handle on the significance of Christmas and Easter.
Christmas had Santa. Easter had the Bunny.
When I asked God into my heart as a teenager, I developed a hunger to get to know this Jesus who was central to Christmas and Easter. Now, as an adult, I never grow tired of reflecting on the unconditional love He showed me – first by humbling Himself, the Creator of all things, by entering this world as a fragile, helpless baby.
And secondly, through the mind-boggling suffering and human betrayal He endured at the hands of His very own creation.
Take a minute to reflect with me on the powerful human emotions and physical pain He must have felt during the events leading up to the cross including . . .
The last meal shared with His closest friends.
The washing of His disciples feet.
The disciples sleeping while He wept, alone.
The betrayal by Judas under the cover of night.
The kangaroo court with its perversion of justice.
The denial of Peter . . . and the rooster.
The worshiping crowd so quick to change its tune.
The crown of thorns piercing His flesh.
The lashes by soldiers who enjoyed every minute.
The streams of tears shed by His mother.
The spikes penetrating His hands and feet.
The public shame of nakedness.
The mockery of a thief on the adjacent cross.
The confession of the other thief.
The weight of sin upon His shoulders, yours and mine.
The moment in time when God turned His back on His Son.
Even as I reflect I want to cry out, “Why, Jesus? Why did You choose to suffer and die for me?” The fact that Jesus laid down His life for me would be meaningful on several levels – if that’s as far as it went. And yet, the story doesn’t end at the cross – or even in the tomb.
Three days later, the world was rocked when the stone was rolled away revealing an empty tomb. Which is why this former CEO-churchgoer-turned-true believer is compelled to say, “Hallelujah, He is risen indeed!”