Inevitably, every year when Holy Week graces the calendar, I feel so sad. I know, I know...I shouldn’t, but hear me out. I have this profound, bone-marrow deep love for Jesus. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced in my life, but the love is real and it’s what I live for. So, when I mentally process what Jesus went through during these days, I’m saddened. It’s one of those stories that you read and hope it’s going to end differently...but it never does.
On the other hand, I’m also incredibly humbled during these days. The King of the world was tortured and He died for me…for you…for all of us. On that end, my heart overflows with emotions of gratitude, joy, love, humility, and the need for everyone to know Christ.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed multiple times. Scripture says He was sorrowful and deeply distressed. “My soul is swallowed up in sorrow––to the point of death.” (Matthew26:38a) He fell down on His face and prayed, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39) Another time, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, Your will be done.” (Mt 26:42) He knew what was coming and He was overcome with grief.
The book of Isaiah elaborates upon the Gospel’s description of what Jesus suffered. “Just as many were appalled at You––His appearance was so disfigured that He did not look like a man and His form did not resemble a human being.” (Isaiah 52:14) I feel like the Easter story is so watered down that this verse isn’t fully understood. Think about the words…His appearance was disfigured to the point that He no longer looked like a man. Further, His form didn’t resemble a human being. What does that mean?
John 19:1 “Then Pilate took Jesus and had Him flogged.” Other translations use the word scoured. How did they scour people? “Under the Roman method the culprit was stripped, stretched with cords or thongs on a frame and beaten with rods. Another form of the scourge consisted of a handle with three lashes or thongs of leather or cord, sometimes with pieces of metal fastened to them.” According to Isaiah, this beating disfigured Him to the degree that He was no longer recognizable as Himself, nor did He look like a person. The metal pieces shredded and mangled His skin, causing heavy bleeding. The lashes left welts and bruises. This doesn’t include the crown of thorns they beat into His head, or the spitting in His face, or the punches to His face. (Matthew 27:27-31, Mark 15:16-20, Luke 22:63-65)
He’s then ordered to carry the cross-bar, which weighed anywhere from 165 to 300 pounds on His broken and mangled body, a mile to Golgotha. Remember the crowds that surrounded Him during His triumphal entry? Well, this time, the crowds were cheering in His misery. No doubt they mocked Him and hurled insults at Him the entire way up the hill.
The Passion of the Christ does an incredible job at portraying the torture, but I wonder if even that was enough according to the words of Isaiah. If this wasn’t bad enough, imagine the soul torture He experienced bearing the sin of every living soul on earth, which is currently more than seven billion. Because He became sin, He was separated from His Father, which had to be excruciatingly painful. For those moments, He was cut off from God for us.
Once He arrived at the top of the mountain, the soldiers used heavy-iron nails, seven to nine inches in length, and first took one of His wrists, hammering in the first of three nails. Ensuring there was room for flexion and movement, they took the other wrist and nailed it. With His knees slightly bent, the third nail had to go through both feet, which were turned outward, so the nail could be hammered inside the Achilles tendon.
After erecting the cross, He became a spectacle, hung between two criminals, yet He was completely innocent of anything. Jesus’ back was torn apart by the beatings, but He had to push up with His legs, scraping His back up and down the wooden cross for every breath. After many hours, He cried out and gave up His Spirit.
Not only did He endure the most horrific beating, He died a torturous death. All the in-depth description to get to this point: He died so we could live! He became our Intercessor! He sacrificed Himself so every person has the option to accept His grace, which we don’t deserve. Yes, we’ve heard this so many times the profoundness is lost, but don’t let it be.
Allow the gravity of His Sacrifice to wash over you like it’s the first time you’ve heard it.
Tell Him how much you appreciate what He did for you like you never have. Cry out. Shed tears. Feel the emotions! Don’t shortchange your gratitude. Go somewhere private, read the verses, and pour out your heart to Him. He deserves to receive a heartfelt, deep “Thank you!” Don’t water down His sufferings. Accept the gift He gave you. Feel it.
We have a tradition every year of watching Passion of the Christ and afterward, having some quiet time with Him. My Bible has yearly tear stains on the pages. Yes, I’m thankful everyday I open my eyes, and I tell Him so, but I don’t let this time escape me without a raw, emotional crying out to Jesus. He deserves so much more, but He loves me anyway.
Happy Resurrection Day! May you experience the day with humility and thanksgiving. You have a King who loves you and pursues you daily! Don’t miss out on experiencing His Love for you!
Posted on Fri, March 30, 2018
by Tiffany Gobble