What are we to make of it all?
Are we so familiar with the events of Easter that it has become just another Bible story to us? Do we have any grasp of the great price that was paid? Any realization of our utter depravity – that we were hopelessly drowning in our sins, and completely unworthy of this extravagant act of grace?
He loved us anyway, dear one.
Fully. Lavishly. Perfectly.
Do you believe it?
I’ve been participating in a Kyle Idleman DVD study entitled, The Easter Experience. The videos dramatically portray the passion and resurrection of Jesus in a moving and powerful way. The scene of Jesus being scourged, spat upon, and ridiculed moved me to tears. We were challenged to consider why the death of Jesus had to be so brutal. Surely the penalty for sin could have been satisfied through a less torturous method of execution.
Idleman gently reminds us that because the journey to the cross was marked by betrayal, abuse, humiliation, loneliness and agonizing pain, Jesus truly understands any type of suffering we may face. He was betrayed by his closest friends, and forsaken by his Father. He understands emotional suffering, and can empathize with us in times of heartache and brokenness.
He understands spiritual oppression. Hebrews 2:18 tells us, “Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted” (NIV).
And Jesus suffered the most horrible death. We use the word excruciating to describe pain that is unbearable. The word is derived from the practice of crucifixion, and literally means ‘out of the cross’. Jesus understands what it is to suffer physical pain. Although horrible to think about the suffering of our precious Jesus, how wonderful to know that He understands us in our suffering.
I am reminded of the lyrics of Jeremy Camp’s song, He Knows…
All the bitter weary ways
Endless striving day by day
You barely have the strength to pray
In the valley low
And how hard your fight has been
How deep the pain within
Wounds that no one else has seen
Hurts too much to show
All the doubt you’re standing in between
And all the weight that brings you to your knees
Every hurt and every sting
He has walked the suffering
Let your burdens come undone
Lift your eyes up to the one
We may faint and we may sink
Feel the pain and near the brink
But the dark begins to shrink
When you find the one who knows
The chains of doubt that held you in between
one by one are starting to break free
Every time you feel forsaken
Every time that you feel alone
He is near to the brokenhearted
How comforting to know that He truly understands! He understands everything I have ever gone through in the past, and anything that may happen to me in the future. Not only does He know, but He is deeply moved with compassion for us. It breaks His heart when He sees us hurting. Not one moment of our sorrow escapes His notice.
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
He has collected your tears, dear one, and recorded each moment of your sorrow in His book. Whenever you are hurting, He is there. He notices, and He cares deeply. He loves you so much that when you are suffering, it hurts Him too – like a mother whose heart breaks for the sadness or pain of her child, but infinitely more so. We are so very precious to Him.
I love how Stasi Eldredge speaks of the wonder of Christ’s sacrificial love for us…
“Your Jesus is the One who rode into the depths of the darkest, most dangerous dungeon to rescue his True Love. He is the One who will ride again on a white steed with fire in his eyes and a flaming sword in his hand. He has inscribed you into the palm of his nail-pierced hand. He knows your every thought, numbers your every hair, and cherishes your every tear. Jesus weeps for you and with you, longs for you, hopes for you, dreams of you, and rejoices over you with singing. He is the one who has battled all the forces of hell to free you…”
Becoming Myself ~ Stasi Eldredge
Easter overflows with glorious hope, dear one. Just when mankind was at their lowest, men having crucified the very Son of God, the miracle of Easter burst forth with a radiance that the world had not yet known. We were no longer under the curse of sin and death, but under the new covenant of beautiful grace. How glorious this gift; this breaking of the power of darkness by the rising of God’s precious Son, our Savior and Friend, our Jesus!
May God richly bless each of you, this Easter, with a fresh understanding of His great love for you,
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