Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Wonder of the Cross

2,000 years ago yesterday, Jesus was crucified. 2,000 years ago tomorrow, Jesus walked out of the grave.

I try to imagine what it would be like to be there. To have known Jesus as a man. To have watched his ministry first-hand. To have seen him killed on the cross. To have witnessed the resurrection. To have him appear to me, the God-man, alive again.

But what about this day, the in-between? Jesus was dead, but not yet risen. Did the disciples mourn? Did they have trouble sleeping? Did they wake up sick with the realization that he was gone? And what about Mary, and Mary Magdalene? They were at the tomb, waiting, when Joseph brought Jesus' body. Did they sit in silence as the stone was rolled, sealing off the one they loved? Did they cry? Did they finally pull themselves together and walk home for the Sabbath? Did any of them have doubts about his true identity as the Son of God?

I wonder sometimes why none of the gospel authors wrote much about this haunting day. Like it almost didn't exist. I bet it was eerie. I bet the emotions were perhaps some of the most devastating in history. The confusion. The heartache. The emptiness.

Praise be to the Father that he did not leave us there.

I imagine what it would be like to see my PawPaw again, sometimes. I was very young when he died, not even four. Death made his grand entrance into my life in a hospital room in Montgomery, AL. I remember him so clearly, so vividly. What would it be like to see him alive again, in this life? I imagine that feeling, and then multiply it by infinity.

Jesus is alive. Jesus did rise. How do I know? I see him, everywhere. My relationship with him has changed me in ways no other relationship has or ever could. He is the joy of my life. He is the peace that calms my storms. He is the husband, always faithful.

I thank God that his plans are always bigger than my vision. That's the theme, from creation to Jesus to now. And these plans are always better than my hopes. I fight for rest in that, when anxieties pile and doubts rear their ugly heads.

2,000 years ago today, in the midst of such turmoil, God was planning the greatest victory of all time. He was abolishing my sins from the past, present, and future. He was preparing the way for Christ's righteousness to be credited to me so that I would no longer live under the yoke of slavery and law, but live free and fully alive under the freedom of Jesus.

What makes me think that God, in his constancy, his devotion to his glory, wouldn't always seek the greatest victory from every darkness? That's his nature - that's who he is. No matter where I am, God is working things for good. He IS goodness. We see this most clearly in the resurrection.

I celebrate. I weep. I fall to my knees in thanksgiving. This weekend means life. And I want it, to the full.

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