Come with me on a journey of the heart. As a child, I loved to pretend to be someone else, somewhere else, doing something else. And as an adult, I still love to imagine, but with a different goal. I find that imagining sometimes helps me understand and relate better. So come, take a little side trip with me. Let’s go back in time, and let’s see and hear Jesus. Let’s follow His footsteps and watch and hear Him.
If I had lived 2,000 years ago as a Jew, seeing Jesus, hearing Him speak, watching Him perform miracles, what would my reaction have been? I like to think I would have been among those who followed Him. Perhaps I was in with the group of the women who went where He went and ministered to His needs and the needs of the disciples. That’s a nice, sweet thought. Makes me feel warm inside, like drinking hot chocolate when it’s cold out. How must it have felt to be with Jesus, a silent listener just soaking it all in like a sponge? Being there as He visited and taught and hung out with the disciples. How wonderful would that have been?
But if I am honest, I must say that is wishful thinking. Could that have been me? Sure. But given my personality and my love for the routine and predictable, I don’t know.
I could also have easily have been among those Jews who whispered among themselves as He walked by. The ones who smiled at Him when He made eye contact, but then turned to whisper when He walked past. Whispers about how He must be a liar, He must be using the power of demons to perform miracles. He can’t be who He says He is. For that to be true defies all that I have ever heard and all that I have been taught. He is the extreme opposite of all the rules, traditions, and rituals of my culture. He wants us to abandon so much of the belief system we have always known and accept a completely new reality. He is not predictable, not routine, not structured. At all. He is here in this day and time just like I am, yet He is so not like me, not like anyone. He is so very different. And different must be wrong. Yes, I could have fit right in taking that side.
Of course here and now I know that He wasn’t wrong at all. He was so right, perfectly right. And He wasn’t demon possessed or crazy. He stood firm against the fierce and intense flow of insanity as the only sane one. The Anointed One, the real and true Messiah. The Savior of the world.
We have what those who lived then don’t have. We have the Bible that shares His life and death and resurrection. We know what happened to Him and we know why. We know the story. But if we aren’t careful, “we know the story” can become “we know the drill”. It becomes just another truth tucked away with things like “The sky is blue”. A fact. Head knowledge. Not even close to touching the heart because we have not respected it for the treasure it is.
Easter Sunday services. A celebration of what Jesus did for us. But if we aren’t proactive we can easily miss it – present physically, but not mentally or spiritually. We are busy with our busy lives. We can get lost in those Easter tradition details and forget the significance. We allow our minds to just keep going and going and going like the Energizer Bunny: Jesus-was-crucified-and-died-and-rose-again-I-hope-it-doesn’t-rain-during-the-Easter-egg-hunt-but-it-did-rain-yesterday-I-hope-it’s-not-muddy-will-everybody-be-on-time-this-year-for-our-family-get-together-will-Johnny’s-girlfriend-pick-a-fight-again-in-front-of-everyone… Our minds wander, and our hearts wander instead of focusing on what really matters.
This year, join me in making a choice. I choose to focus on Him. I choose to think through every single detail of His incredible suffering and death. I choose to experience afresh the true story of God’s elaborate plan to save me. I choose to ponder the fact that Jesus was left utterly alone in agony because God could not look upon the sin state of the world that Jesus was embracing, bearing, and pulling up from the depths of evil and depravity and despair.
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. Is 53:3-7
I choose humble and all encompassing gratitude to Him for my very life. I choose, because He chose.