The Christian world is celebrating Easter today. Believing folks who haven’t been to church since last Easter make this day the second-most attended Christian holiday. There will be prayers, sermons, pageantry and music across the world – as it should be.
With much less pageantry, there is a much smaller group of people whose lives have been altered, changed and purified because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and they will bow their heads and worship He whose triumph over death and over sin is the cause of their rejoicing.
They will think back on those moments in Gethsemane, and feel deep sorrow – somewhat like watching a video of the violent and prolonged torture of a beloved brother or parent. They will view in their hearts the moment when evil men drove crude nails into his hands, wrists and feet, then taunted and ridiculed Him. All of these thoughts will strike them with cold reality, causing their hearts to be weighted by the awful reality of these unthinkably cruel tortures. We will think upon His willingness to “descend below all things” so that He might become the light of the world, and the source of everything true, and good and holy; the voice of truth in our minds, the giver of love, light and joy; our only hope and unfailing friend. These joyful truths will eclipse the pain of watching Him suffer, of knowing He shed blood for me.
No person who has come to love Jesus Christ, who has heard His voice, felt His amazing love, or felt His arms around them, can look upon these long-ago moments with any sense of triumph. These were awful, horrifying times that took someone we adore, and reduced Him to a state of suffering beyond the threshold of human endurance and death.
Tears will slide down the cheeks of those who love Him, and a sense of relief, not tragedy, will accompany the moment of His death. His suffering has ended. He is free.
The empty tomb, the annunciation to Mary, then to his disciples and later over 500 people are a glorious testimony that Jesus Christ does live, and that His mission in our behalf continues. But they sound a tiny witness compared to the thousands of times we have heard His voice, felt His love, and seen visions, miracles and angels who came in His name. This is the testimony of thunder that sounds in our souls this day; That He lives, which truth we KNOW because He is within us, and around us and before our spiritual eyes. We are His witnesses, and we remember His sacrifice and triumph this day with tender hearts filled with reverence, unending gratitude and awe.
© April 2011, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.