“What kind of King would choose to wear a crown that bleeds and scars to win my heart”
What kind of King indeed?
What kind of King would allow Himself to be mocked and scourged?
What kind of King would be crucified?
What kind of King would see victory in death?
Love in sorrow?
What kind of King would shed His blood for me, for you?
What kind of King?
My King…Our Saviour.
So many of our days are “ordinary”, insignificant for lack of notable achievements or milestones. In fact for many of us we often spend days caught between the promise and fulfilment. We are in the hallway. And well it feels at best uneventful. It’s not exhilarating. But it is in these times that our attitude, our character and our integrity are tested much. It’s when we keep on keeping on.
It’s the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The day with no special name. Good Friday and Easter Sunday are perhaps the most significant days on the entire church calendar. We learn across these two days that when God seems most absent He may be closest to all; when He looks most powerless He may be more powerful. The sacrifice and the victory seen on these two Holy Days. Powerful and significant days, but I would suggest to you that in a real sense we live our lives for the most part on the Saturday, the day in between. That time between the promise and fulfilment.
Between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is Saturday. Just Saturday. Not worthy enough for a public holiday. Just an ordinary day. A day that is like so many other days. It’s the day after the doctor’s report, the bank statement arrival, the day after the relationship breaks down. It can be a dreary and wearying day. Weary from grieving. Wearying from fighting to keep hope in the promise still to come.
We may be in a Saturday season but we can live it with the power and revelation of Resurrection Sunday! The resurrection of Jesus gives birth to a hope that says you may be in the middle of circumstances that deny a reason to have hope but you can still hope. Hope reinterprets circumstances. God’s resurrection power turns death into life, despair into hope, weakness into strength. It may seem like nothing is happening, nothing is changing, but God is always working behind the scenes for us!
It may be a Saturday but let’s live in the light and life of Resurrection Sunday!
In the middle of the night, in the dark, my four year old knows how to find me after a bad dream or if he’s not feeling well. The dark of the night doesn’t stop him seeking me out and finding me.
When we’re in the dark, going through a hard time, we can be secure and know that God is there to be found. That even though it can be the darkest hour and we feel not a glimmer of hope we are not alone and God is there with us. This is the promise of Easter. At Jesus’ time of death on the cross, God could not be there for Him so that He can be there for us. Jesus, forsaken by God so that we never have to experience the same.
Easter – the birthday of hope, the promise of being with God forever.
Within the city of Jerusalem amongst its many roads is a narrow street called Via Dolorosa. According to tradition it is the path that Jesus took, bearing the cross to Calvary. Today the street looks as ordinary as the ones surrounding it. People pass through quickly. It is part of the hustle and busyness of Jerusalem. People on the way to work, to the shops, for errands.
Except not all pass through at a fast pace. For scattered along this street are the Stations of the Cross. They give cause for pilgrims to come, to walk the road and to pause. To pause and remember the path that Jesus took to the Cross. We may not all have the blessing of visiting Jerusalem but Easter gives up the opportunjty to do the same. To take time out of our busy lives and to remember, to meditate on the amazing truth that our Lord would willingly lay down His life for us. That He would take on our burden of sin so that we don’t have to. Forsaken so that we won’t be.
The Via Dolorosa means “The way of Sorrow”. It is a sad path to walk. To know that our Lord walked it in pain and agony. And each step took Him closer to the gruesome, torturous death on the Cross. Yet walk this path He did.
But we can take comfort and assurance from the fact that this was part of the plan all along. As Max Lucado wrote “the path began, not in the court of Pilate, but in the halls of Heaven…His desire was singular – to bring His children Home.”
It may be the “Way of Sorrows” but it is also the way home for us and as such the Way of Victory.
“God put on Him the wrong who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 Message)
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
As a child I was enchanted with the books from the Chronicles of Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis. The world of Narnia, Aslan and the adventures of the children intrigued me. Even now, as I read these books again as an adult, I can’t help but be captivated by the world of Narnia that greeted Lucy as stepped through the door of the wardrobe – a world so unlike that of what she had left.
This weekend as we celebrate Easter we look at another Door that takes us from where we are today into another world, another realm, another reality. This door offers us salvation, eternity, life restored and relationship with God, the Creator of all. This door however isn’t part of a mere wardrobe taking a child into a fantasy world. For us, this door is Jesus – Son of God, crucified on a cross. And the world is not a fantasy – it is the Kingdom of Heaven.
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
The way to eternal life, the way to God is offered to us all through the sacrifice and death of our Lord Jesus on the Cross. His crucifixion all those years ago is the one time for all times sacrifice for us. The cross did what we could not do ourselves – it gave us the right to talk with, love and live with God. The Lord Jesus Christ’s death took away all our sins and His Resurrection gave us life, a new life and a new identity as a new person. His death gave us a life of freedom – free from guilt, no more reproaching ourselves and most importantly an opportunity to grow in relationship with God.
The door is always there, it is just up to us to walk through it.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)