I Thought I Knew You
Sometimes my friends surprise me.
I will think I know them and suddenly they reveal something about themselves that will shock me because…I thought I knew them.
My friend who always wears high heels, shared a story while we were on a walk one day, about the time she rock climbed up the side of a mountain. It was a very treacherous climb. I was shocked considering she always wears heels, and her hair is curled just so, basically she looks like a model.
I have a quiet friend who can turn into the life of the party. I also have a very talkative friend who can suddenly act quite shy.
Or then there is that moment where a friend will “step up” in a way they never have before, or would be expected to, and it is a really incredible surprise.
I found myself thinking about this quite a bit this last week and since this is Holy week, I’ve been contemplating how I used to have some ideas about God and faith that are quite different now.
Last night was Good Friday. The story of Jesus crucifixion was read, songs were sung, and we partook in communion.
That’s basically how it used to affect me. I went, we did all the church stuff, we left. Sure sometimes, I would try harder to be good afterward, but that was about it.
Now, though, I don’t just go, I hear. And it remains an eye opening experience for me.
The Bible verse, “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but be saved,” is really portrayed in the crucifixion story.
When I hear the story and think of Jesus standing there receiving the abuse, when he had all the power in the world to stop it, but instead, he plowed through to accomplish the Fathers plan, it amazes me.
Just a few things…they spit in his face.
Uh disgusting!…how would you react if someone spit in your face? How would it make you feel?
At the time, Jesus was fully God in a flesh body. He felt everything we feel.
They slugged him in the face and ridiculed him.
He was sent to be flogged, which in the process rips chunks of skin out of your back.
When he was brought before the people that he came to give his life for, they rejected him and asked for a terrorist to be freed instead of him. Instead of the man who walked among them and healed their sick, freed them from demons and brought them the message of love and acceptance.
They took thorns and made a crown and shoved it on his head.
Can you take a moment and imagine the pain. I cannot! I cannot go there.
When we were in Disneyland last year, I banged the top of my head on a cart, it was so painful. I can’t even tell you how much it hurt.
The thought of someone shoving big thorns in my head…I can’t even go there.
Jesus suffered a tremendous amount of brutality, ridicule, then rejection.
After all of that torture they made him carry his cross to his own crucifixion. He was so weak he couldn’t do it and someone had to help him.
Then…this part makes me cringe…they hammered nails into his hands…have you ever had a big nail go through your hands? I haven’t but I have had it poked with a pin or a tack and it hurts. So imagine his suffering.
And then…they nail his feet to the cross.
Last year the oak ladder to my daughter’s old bunk bed fell on my foot. The pain was so intense I couldn’t even talk or move. I held onto my foot in agony.
For Jesus, there was no holding on to anything, his hands were nailed on to the cross and he just had to deal with the pain. Not only that, his back was ripped to shreds and it rubbed against the wood on the cross. His face was pummeled and the crown of thorns was still jabbing into his head. How many times do you think he moved wrong and made those thorns go deeper? He was unable to move the crown, his hands were nailed in place.
Imagine, just for a moment the intensity of what he went through physically. Just try to imagine it.
And then step out of your imagination and realize…He did that for you. There is no imagining there. It is reality.
That’s how important you are to God the Father. He allowed Jesus to be the sacrifice for you.
Every year it was the Jewish custom to eat the Passover meal. There was a sacrifice for their sins by the blood of the lamb.
Jesus took that lambs place.
There is no other price that can be paid for your sins. He paid it.
He died. And just before he died, in that agonizing position, he asked the Father to forgive them, because they didn’t know what they were doing.
Have you ever been hurt by someone? Has someone ever been mean to you?
It’s hard to forgive when you are still wounded from a person’s assault toward you.
Yet, after everything, Jesus wanted them to be forgiven.
This is an incredible thing.
You are so important that he went through the worse thing ever…and then died…for me, for you.
I am awed. I am amazed.
I saw a movie recently, and no matter what, the hero of the story, protects his girl. Awe! Just love it, so romantic, in the thick of all the action.
But it doesn’t compare to what Jesus did. He died for us, and took our punishment for our wrongs, and wants us to believe it.
There is an end to our story here on earth. And Jesus made sure our end here, leads us to the beginning in eternity with God in heaven.
Reflecting on His sacrifice, I hope you can know how much you are loved, and no matter what you are going through, no matter what you are feeling, you can believe He truly is there for you.
What greater price would you have Him pay, to show you, how much He loves you?