Good Morning! What a glorious time of year! While Thanksgiving is my favorite of all the holidays, I truly love Easter! Today, I want to talk about being thankful for the Cross. As I laid in bed this morning I began thinking about Easter and the Cross. If it weren't for the cross...we wouldn't have Easter. If it hadn't been for Jesus and His willingness to die a gruesome and horrible death for you and me...we wouldn't have the promise of Eternity with Him!
Think about that for a minute...Jesus was willing. He knew what it meant to be crucified. Last week in Kidz Klub, I did my Easter sermon. I spoke on how the crucifixion is a horibble, horrible death. Now, I wasn't too graphic for the kids, but I did try to make them understand that Jesus didn't just hop up on the cross and say, "Ok, here I am...crucify me. It's no big deal, I'll do it for all humanity." So many people only see "Jesus died on the cross" and they stop there. I am here to tell you, it is so much more than that. Before He even got to the cross, the Roman soldiers beat him...they beat him so badly that even His mother didn't recognize Him. They used the cat o' nine tails...gave Him 39 lashes. Those 39 lashes ripped flesh off of His body, exposing bone and muscle. They placed a crown of thorns on His head. Now they didn't just set the crown on top of His head...they jammed it down so hard that the very long thorns went into His skull, causing His eyes to bulge out of His head. These weren't just tiny 'rose' thorns. They were probably 3"-4" long. When the soldiers were finally done tormenting our Lord, they demanded He carry the cross...on his back...the back that was now open and exposing bone and muscle...all the way to Calvary. When Jesus became too weak to continue, they drew a man from the crowd to carry it for Him. Then when He got to Calvary, they put Jesus on the cross...on His back...again, the back that was open and bleeding...and began to nail Him to it. Have you ever had a nail go through your foot? Have you ever had a large splinter in your hand? Imagine how it would feel to have a LARGE spike-like nail go through both feet and each wrist! Then after Jesus was 'attached' to the cross, it was raised and dropped into the waiting hole. Yes, it was dropped...not gently, I would imagine. So when it was dropped into the hole, the weight of His body pulled against the nails holding Him on the cross. Imagine!
I don't want to sugar coat the scene at all. I want to envision it as a horrible event. If we sugar coat the scene, then we won't feel bad about it. Well, I want to feel bad about it. Jesus did all that; He endured all that pain...JUST FOR ME AND YOU AND EVERY PERSON THAT WILL EVER BE BORN! Jesus never did anything wrong in His short time on this earth. He never committed a sin...yet, there He was, on the cross...taking all the abuse that WE deserve. Yes, I am THANKFUL for the Cross. I pray that I NEVER forget how painful a death it is to be crucified. Let me tell you, I love each and every one of you reading this, and while I would die for my kids and my family, I will be honest, I don't think there is anything in the world that would cause me to die for you...much less die a death like Jesus did.
As we celebrate Easter this weekend, enjoy the time you spend doing whatever it is that you do to celebrate. But, please, remember, you are celebrating much more than bunnies and chocolate! You are celebrating the death and resurrection of the One that died for you so that you can LIVE! Be THANKFULfor His sacrifice!