Easier Said Than Done
04/18/19 05:00 AM Filed in: Hard Truth | Christian Living
Easier said than done. Jesus’ example is so easy to talk about and agree with verbally, but live it…that is another story.
This time of the year is always sobering as we reflect back on the sacrifice of our Savior through His death on the cross. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Hallelujah.
Having been raised in a Christian home, I have to admit, the price Jesus paid for my sins can so often become familiar that I don't cringe hearing about it, not grasping the horror.
Yet, what did Christ suffer as the Lamb of God?
Hatred. Scorn. Mockery. False accusations. Lies. Mistreatment. Torture. Injustice. Condemned though innocent. Death.
Sobering, isn’t it?
Yet, here is what has pierced my heart like a sword recently.
Who put Jesus on that cross? Who?
The very ones He had come to save.
Do I grasp that? The ones He came to save killed Him? What!?
Yet, the incredulousness of this event doesn’t end there.
He still loved the ones who were killing Him unto death.
From the cross Jesus cried out, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34a)
How does one do that? How does one love to the point that if the person you love puts you on a cross, you still forgive them and yes, love them too?
Allow me to paint the picture vividly with a story concept we are all familiar with. We are told in Scripture that the Church is the Bride of Christ. (Ephesians 5:23-27, Revelation 19:7-9)
So let us say Jesus is the knight in shining armor in this event of history. The fair maiden has been captured by the dragon and our knight, Jesus, shows us to rescue her.
Yet, the maiden works to hand the knight over to death to the very dragon that holds her captive.
Crazy plot twist, right? Yet, that is exactly what we did, what I did. My sin put Jesus on the cross. I was held captive by the dragon, yet when my Savior came, I cried out for Him to be put to death.
And yet, what does He do as He slowly dies upon the instrument of death I rejoiced to see Him put upon?
He forgives me, holding fast to His love for me to the end. The very end I created for Him with my sin. The end He didn’t have to submit Himself to. Yet, the end He chose because He loved me and desired to see me freed from the dragon, even if it cost Him His life. And it did.
Wow. What love! Truly, Jesus modeled the 1 Corinthians 13 love the apostle Paul later wrote about.
Praise God the Savior couldn’t be held down by death and rose again on the third day! He is alive and someday will come back to take His Church, His Bride, home.
Yet until then, Jesus has put forth a call that is something incredible. Incredible to the point it sounds insane to the human ears. For indeed, in my human reasoning it sounds insane.
Jesus commands that to be His disciple I must deny myself, take up my cross and follow Him. (Luke 9:23)
Whoah! Hold on here. What?
Jesus wants, nay commands me, to follow in His footsteps? To take up my cross and follow Him to…calvary? To love as He loves?
The people who drive daggers in my back, who trample me, mistreat me, lie about me, slander me, crush me and hate me…I am to cry out, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”?! Enemies, friends, acquaintances, strangers, and family, all are to have the same love and forgiveness extended to them?!
That’s crazy! How could Jesus ask that of me?
Listen, if you all knew what this person and that person and this group did to me, you would understand why I cannot forgive them, much less love them! Doesn’t Jesus understand the horrific pain of being stabbed, to bleed from the attacks of enemies…and friends?!?!
Yes, He does.
He understands more than I will ever know what that kind of betrayal and pain feels like. And yet, He extended His love and forgiveness.
Praise be to God. Because if my Savior hadn’t had a true and real love for me, I’d be sunk. I’d be destined for Hell today, instead of Heaven. He took that cross for me. Yes, for me, a former, filthy, wretched sinner with no hope. Now, I am a saint who is continually being sanctified by my Lord to be more like Him.
And yes, He still beckons me to follow Him to that blood-stained hill. To bleed for those who hate and abuse me the most.
Yes, it is gut-wrenching, painfully hard. I admit, I so often want to hold on to anger, vengeance and bitterness.
Yet, how can I give any less than what my Savior did for me? How could I tell Him I will only get so close to calvary and no farther?
No, I don’t WANT to go to calvary, yet neither did Jesus. You see, this is what love really is and does. True love doesn’t ask what is best for me, it asks what is best for the one loved. And then true love acts on that, even if it stretches one out on a cross.
So I’m following my Savior, trodding in His steps, carrying my cross…to calvary. May His love be on display through me. May I cry out “Father, forgive them” as my Savior did. May they see Him in me and may they turn to Him for salvation as His light shines through this earthen vessel being poured out for His glory.
So bring on calvary, for amen, resurrection comes after the horror of the cross. And the momentary pain of calvary has no comparison to the eternal weight of glory with Jesus my Savior, home at last.
So here goes, in His power and His power alone, to calvary.