Easter Thoughts

As Jesus was nailed to the cross on Good Friday, indescribable physical pain was inflicted upon Him.

Oh, I know, Jesus could have taken care of Himself. He could have escaped the cross, the pain, and death. Who would have blamed Him if He had?

But, instead of escaping the cross and death, Jesus took care of everyone who nailed Him to the tree: “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34 NIV).

He took care of the thief: “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43 NIV).

He took care of His mother: “Woman, behold your son” (John 19:26 NKJV).

And then, when His physical tank was on “empty,” heaven turned its back on Him. In that moment, Jesus took the hit; the full body slam of our sin hit Him.

And, He took care of us.

In that moment, Jesus screamed out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 NIV)

Never have words carried so much hurt. Never has one living being ever been so lonely—lonelier than the abandoned child, the divorcée, or even the widow standing at a grave.

I can’t understand the full impact of the cross and what Jesus did there. Why did Jesus do it? Why did He take care of us?

Well, some will say Jesus went to the cross to fulfill prophecy. But there was something more. There was something personal.

Why did Jesus go to the cross and allow those things to happen to Him? Simple: Because He loved us.

At the cross, our sin-filled lives were traded for the life of God’s sinless Son—Jesus. We were the only treasure God considered valuable enough for Him to mobilize a rescue operation to save. We were worth dying for.

We are loved!

Behind the message of the cross and the first Resurrection Sunday is this important message: No matter how much it seems that God couldn’t forgive us, the cross and empty grave prove otherwise.

I like to think of it this way: If God had a refrigerator, our picture would be on it. If God had a wallet, our photo would be in it.

Paul said, “Rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:7–8 NIV) At that one moment in time, all history stopped and pointed to a single hill outside of Jerusalem, where God appointed a Savior to pay the penalty for our sin.

On that first Easter week, God thought of us. He loved us so much that He allowed His only Son to die on a cross, to be placed in a borrowed grave, all for us. But, the cross and tomb were only part of the story. For on the first day of the week, Jesus arose from the grave! Now, He lives forevermore.

As we celebrate Holy Week, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter, take a moment to thank God for thinking of us, for forgiving our sins, and for loving us.

By M. Steve Heartsill
Managing Editor, Royal Ambassadors and Challengers

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