I had read the story of Christ's crucifixion several times both growing up and as an adult. Intellectually I understood the suffering of Jesus as he went through trial, torture, and ultimately the nailing to the cross. I had read "The Case for Christ" and also read a medical synopsis of His torture and death, so I grasped internally the concept that His was the worst historical account of the worst form of execution ever performed on any living person.
But... there was something about seeing it played out in front of me that really hit home.
I wasn't there. I wasn't in the crowds of scoffers hurling rocks at Christ calling Him the "King of the Jews". I wasn't among His disciples who betrayed Him or stood there silently as he was beaten mercilessly.
Yet there I was in the sanctuary at our church with 10 or so students watching a portrayal of Christ's death that critics have called pretty close to actual events... crying my eyes out, keeping Kleenex in business.
I cried because I AM among the scoffers some days.
I cried because there are days I DO betray Him.
I cried because there are days I stand by and LET him be beaten for my transgressions.
I cried because I don't love anyone enough - ANYONE - enough - to sacrifice my life for them.
I cried because I don't love anyone - ANYONE - enough to sacrifice the life of my son for them.
I cried because no human being loves ME enough to sacrifice themselves for me either.
"Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart... His wounds have paid my ransom."
There is Jesus. Taking whip lashes, stones thrown at Him, clubbings, bleeding and broken dragging Himself to the top of the hill with the Cross on His back. Choosing the nails, being laid on the cross, nailed down... and dying a miserable, horrible, atrocious death.
"It is finished..." (John 19:30)
He is sinless. He did not die for His own sins.
He died for mine.
Seeing this unfold on the screen in front of me took my breath away like nothing else my life had. God spoke to my heart that night - "Don't you see? Don't you see how much I love you? How much I love each person in this room? You are all broken... I did this for YOU..."
Today (Good Friday) we mourn the death of Jesus.
Sunday (Easter) we will praise Him for being risen from the dead.
We are broken. We are weak.
God loves us anyway. He loves us more than anyone ever can or will. We do not deserve His unconditional love and grace... but yet, He pursues us. He sacrificed His only Son that we may have a relationship with Him.
Spend time with Him. Let Him love you, let Him guide your life, let Jesus be your Savior.
Have a blessed Easter.
"For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ." (2 Corinthians 5:21)