Day in and day out, Christ-followers ask Jesus to have empathy for them. To ‘be with them’. We thank Jesus for His love and forgiveness. We rest knowing He “feels us”. . . that He understands . . . that He felt what we feel when He walked the earth as a human being.
But this week, this “Holy Week” as it’s been called, is a week to reverse that. A week to get into Jesus’ ‘frame of reference’. To “feel Him” for a change.
Todd Fields, our (awesome) worship leader for the Radical Mentoring retreat, told the story of praying hard about something and seeing Jesus on the cross, beaten and bloodied. He had been torn about someone else’s past when God showed Him this awful picture of Jesus and reminded him that it was the sins of HIS past Jesus died for. We have a way of seeing everyone else’s sin and forgetting that ours was enough to send Him to His death. Just ours. Just mine.
Paul talks about “entering into His suffering,” and I guess that’s what I’m suggesting we do this week.
On Thursday, to dwell on what was happening to Him as He shared His last meal with His guys. Then as He went to the garden and asked God three different times – with such fervor that He sweated drops of blood – to give Him a way out. A way for our sins to be forgiven without having to go through what He was about to go through. The rejection He must have felt as His Father was silent, offering no other way. Moments later, He’s arrested and the beatings begin. All night and all morning, beating after beating. No sleep. Nothing to eat. Lashes with whips and scourges. Pain and more pain.
On Friday morning, visualize Him . . . beleaguered . . . exhausted . . . bleeding all over . . . trying to carry the very cross He would die on. See Him as He’s nailed to it and as it’s raised vertical. Now He’s hanging by the nails through His hands and feet. Excruciating pain. By mid–afternoon, He’s suffocated. Limp. Lifeless. Cold. Blood caked on what’s left of His skin. His body is taken down, wrapped and carried to a cold borrowed tomb where it’s put and locked away behind a huge stone door. Everybody leaves. It’s dark and it’s over. Maybe the most brutal 24 hours ever lived by a human being.
Sunday comes. He is risen, and we’d have no hope or faith without the resurrection.
But sometimes we rush to Sunday without giving full consideration to what our forgiveness cost Him. Let the weight of the crucifixion settle on your heart this week. Never forget that before Him, there was no hope for a life beyond this life. We’ve sung “Amazing Grace” all our lives and we’ve accepted His Grace because it’s been available to us. Before this week 2014 years ago, before His sacrificial death on that cross, forgiveness wasn’t an option.
“By his stripes, we are healed.”
Thank you Jesus. Thank you. Root our gratitude deep into our souls.
Question: Will you dwell this week on His suffering for your sin?
ACTIVATE THE MEN IN YOUR CHURCH
Small group mentoring can help you engage your men, build your core group of leaders, and transform your church. Our free resources equip you with all the tools you need to launch a sustainable mentoring program.