On Friday, GOOD FRIDAY, I spent time reading from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to get their different perspectives on the crucifixion of Jesus. They each added their own detailed memories- a lot of it matched up but they each had a unique perspective. I have done this as a tradition with my family for probably 10 years…It’s always really neat to read and reflect on that.
This year, I did something a little different. I not only read it out of my Bible but I read it out of The Children’s Storybook Bible (which I highly recommend for ANYONE any age- even adults!). They put it in these words:
“They walked up a hill outside the city. Jesus carried the cross on his back. Jesus had never done anything wrong but they were going to kill him the way criminals were killed. They nailed Jesus to the cross. “Father, Forgive them” Jesus gasped “They dont understand what theyre doing.”
“You say you’ve come to rescue us!” people shouted, “but you cant even rescue yourself!”
But they were wrong. Jesus could have rescued himself. A legion of angels would have flown to his side if he’d called.
“If you were really the son of God, you could just climb down off that cross” they said.
And of course they were right. Jesus could have just climbed down. Actually, he could have said a word and made it all stop. Like when he healed that little girl, stilled the storm and fed 5,000 people.
But Jesus stayed on the cross.
You see, they didnt understand. It wasnt the nails that kept Jesus there.
It was LOVE.
-The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally-Lloyd Jones
It’s amazing to me that a man who did nothing wrong would take on the punishment for all of us sinners. He did this so that we might know him and pursue the happiest life possibly through his guidance and his truth. I struggle so many days with trusting his guidance and doing what’s right…but this Easter I really feel a pull to follow Him even more.
Yesterday I went to my church’s Easter service. They did a really neat setup where the pastor would talk for about 5 minutes, then a member of the congregation would share their testimony, then the band would play a song that spoke of things that the testimonial had been struggling with and/or searching for and then the pastor would come back up for another 5 min…etc.
What I really loved about the service was that they not only made it contemporary but they made it welcoming to people who had just come to church for the first time or came just because it’s Easter. The testimonials were amazing; one girl had been addicted to men, drugs and life of destruction. She had left home at a very young age (I think 15), married a drug dealer, became a drug addict and dealer herself, and her life spiraled down…She said that she knows now that she is completely forgiven and accepted because of the cross.
The second testimonial was of a girl whose mother had been murdered a few years back. She struggled with being angry with God and herself for both of them not being there to protect him mother. In the end, she realized that God can turn any situation into something that will glorify him and so now she uses her first hand experience to work in a prison with felons with a new understanding and sense of forgiveness she found though Christ.
The third testimonial was of an African American man who grew up in a very dangerous part of town. He grew up without a father and without any wisdom from his parents. He searched desperately to find who he was—which led him into a lifestyle of being in gangs, fighting, robberies, shootings, etc. He didn’t believe His Heavenly Father could love him because He didn’t know what it felt like to have the love of an earthly father. Once he hit rock bottom, he decided to attend church. Even though it took about 4 years for him to understand and accept the sacrifice Christ had made for him, he is not renewed.
Christ died on the cross so that you and I might believe in Him and when our earthly bodies fail us, we will have eternal life in heaven with Jesus. Do you know your father Jesus?