Over 2 thousand years ago, Lord Jesus Christ was nailed to a tree so that you and I may be set free from our sins forever. All too often, this complex is pushed under the rug or misunderstood. We often forget Jesus wasn’t wearing His Sunday best on Easter.
I want you to picture this. Christ was beaten with leather and glass before they even hung Him on the cross. Remember when mom and dad threatened to get the belt if you didn’t behave… this was 10x worse than that. His body was already fragile from the beating, and then they forced Him to carry His cross to place where He would be crucified. Crosses weren’t light weight or easy to maneuver. The cross Jesus carried was estimated to be about 300 pounds. Then Jesus had nails rammed through His hands and feet to hang Him on a tree. Not like the nails used to hang your favorite bible verse canvas on the wall, more like the rail road spikes used to hold the train tracks in place. They placed a “crown” on His head. A crown mocking His royal name. This crown penetrated thorns into His head and blood rushed down onto His face and into His eyes. As Jesus hung there about to die, they stabbed Him in the side and blood and water flowed. Jesus lifted His head one last time before He died and said “It is finished.”
“It is finished”
Jesus took our sins on the cross with Him. All of them. He sacrificed His life for Angel Logan’s sin. He sacrificed everything, so that we MIGHT follow Him in return. I didn’t tell you all of this to gross you out or tell you a story you’ve probably become immune to, through the years of Easter Sunday lessons. No I told you this to ask you this question: What have you sacrificed for Jesus?
The Lord tells us in Matthew 16:24-25 “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”
The 21st Century has made the cross to be a fashion statement, jewelry, & decoration. While all these things are good, the true meaning of the cross has been lost. If you remember from above, the cross Jesus carried was 300 pounds. 300 pounds!! He carried that on His back. And we just read that He asked us to take up our cross and follow Him! Jesus is literally asking us to carry this same 300 pound cross on our back to follow him. That doesn’t exactly sound like a flattering invitation into the Kingdom does it? What I’m saying here is, following Jesus isn’t easy. He never tries to convince us that it will be. Jesus said to truly find our life, we must lose our life for Him.
So I’ll ask again, what have you sacrificed for Jesus?
When you give something up for Jesus, as He gave His life up for you, it won’t be easy. But that’s why it is so beautiful. Although we will never truly be able to repay Him for giving His life for ours, giving ALL of our life to Him does scratch the surface. If that means giving Him your sleeping time at 5 A.M. just to spend time with Him, we must do it. Or breaking up with the boy who doesn’t share your love for Jesus. Maybe giving up a meal to give one to someone in need. Or staying in from that party all your friends are attending. Maybe He calls you to leave your friends and family and do missions in a foreign land. Whatever He calls you to do, don’t ignore His call. He really is a good good Father. His plans are always good. And when we sacrifice for Him, we too will see the good in His ways. As we hurt in our sacrifice, this just means he is pressing at our hearts. Through time an pressure, coal is turned into a beautiful diamond. Through this pressure, the Father sanctifies our hearts.
This is what’s so beautiful about the sacrifices we make for Him.
In the last couple months the Lord called my heart to give up dating for an entire year. Not just relationships, but dates and alone time with guys and everything in between. At first the idea of this seemed impossible to me. I just couldn’t understand why My God would ask me to give up what I desired most. I mean it wasn’t affecting my relationship with Him… right? Wrong. My infatuation with finding love and acceptance outside of Jesus had overtaken my life. I thought I needed a boy to make me feel beautiful, loved, and “enough”. In all of this, I had forgotten my value is found in Jesus. I had stopped pursing The Father like I once had. And I had forgotten the Father was trying to pursue me.
Although the initial idea was scary and I was almost embarrassed to share it, two months in and Jesus has already took hold of my heart. I have sought after God in ways I know wouldn’t be possible if I hadn’t sacrificed my desires for His. He’s just getting started, but already, He has shaped my desires to align more closely with His. I am HAPPY, JOYFUL, and THANKFUL for my exclusive relationship with Jesus Christ. A sacrifice is painful. But the reward is Jesus himself.
I am HAPPY, JOYFUL, & THANKFUL for my exclusive relationship with Jesus Christ.
This Easter be thankful for the sacrifice Jesus made for you. Be joyful for the never-ending love and grace the sacrifice gave. But don’t forget the sacrifices He ask of us in return. Give Him the sacrificial love He pours on us every morning. This Easter, run to the cross and give Jesus all you have to offer. He wants it all.
I promise the reward will be far greater than anything the Easter Bunny leaves in your basket.