Were You There?

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Were you there?

Were you there when they yelled, “Crucify him”?

Were you there when they beat him with whips, tearing flesh away from his body with each striking blow?

Were you there when they stripped him, put a scarlet robe on his body and a staff in his hand?

Were you there when they pushed down a crown of thorns on his head?

Were you there the day they spit on him, mocked with their mouths and hatred in their hearts?

Were you there when they took that staff out of his hand and beat him over and over again on the head; pushing that crown of thorns even deeper into his skull?

Were you there when they took that robe off of him and put his own clothes back on?

Were you there when they led him to “The Place of the Skull”?

Were you there when they nailed his hands and feet to the cross?

Were you there when they stripped him naked, and then sat at the foot of the cross casting lots for those bloody strips of linen?

I was.

I was there. So were you.

While hanging on the cross, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” You see, the FIRST words out of Jesus mouth after he got nailed to the cross was “Father, forgive them…” He had just been beaten beyond recognition and hung on a cross, and he prayed to His Father, not for himself, but for the ones who were killing him and for us as well.

I was there because He was thinking about me while He was praying that prayer. I was there because every sinful moment of my life was present that day. While He was hanging by his own body weight with nails through his flesh, He took the weight of all of my sins upon him as well. Yours too.

Every hateful, deceiving, or envious thought; every lustful eye; every unkind and angry words to murder a spirit, or because of pride – words held silent when they should have been spoken; every misuse of the Lords name; every false testimony against our neighbor; every disrespectful and rebellious act; every blow with the fists and strikes with the heels; every gluttonous indulgence; every workaholic or slothful beings; every lack of faith, hope, love, trust, belief; every idol served – especially the idol of self – EVERY SINGLE act of SIN…He died for. He took the weight of all if it while hanging on the cross.

He experienced hell.

I’ve watched on the National Geographic Channel regarding certain tribes and cultures with whom men volunteer themselves to experience crucifixion, not to the death, but in the act of being nailed to a cross. They hang there for mere minutes, until they cannot handle it anymore, to which they are then brought down. They do this in an attempt to draw themselves closer to Jesus and are left with nail holes in their hands.

Many times, movies and shows have tried to recreate that day at the Place of the Skull where Jesus hung. Honestly, I can barely watch some of them due to the graphic nature, yet I know that these re-creations don’t even come close to what the reality was. I believe the real act is more than what we would be able to bear to see.

He came to earth so that He could be a human sacrifice for us. In a recent sermon, my Pastor quoted a person who stated something like this: “He was murdered a perfect man, yet while hanging on the cross became the worst of sinners…taking all our sins upon himself.” It was this act of love, a sacrifice of himself that our sins can be forgiven.

I feel so undeserving.

If we are honest, how many times have we been to a Good Friday service and went through the motions without truly being present in our thoughts and hearts of what Jesus did? How many times did you partake of a Communion and your mind was thinking about something else? Could it be that this story is just so familiar, too comfortable within us, that we find ourselves going through the motions with no feelings attached? What a tragedy! I can’t help but wonder if this could be one of the greatest tragedies of all. Lord, forgive us!

Here is the good news. Friday afternoon’s darkness leads to Sunday morning’s light. Even non-church going humans come to church on Easter to celebrate what comes next. Sin and death is not the end of the story.

Sunday, there will be a gathering together to celebrate the promise and fulfillment of His Resurrection – so that all those who believe and place their trust in Him – the one who died and rose again – may experience ETERNAL life.

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:55 -57)

Hope is not dead. “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Hebrews 7:19 Hope goes way beyond the dirt we are buried in and the stone that marks our earthly existence.

No matter your past or the storm of life that you are currently experiencing, you have an anchor to hang on to that is firm and secure. There is no wave of sin, guilt, or grief strong enough to displace that.

I am sure there will be lots of bloggers writing about these events in their own creative way over the next few days. This post will be just one of them. There will be many podcasts telling stories relating to this Holy Week. There will be many Pastors preaching the Good News this weekend. While all this is good, it doesn’t matter how many blogs you read, podcasts or preachers you hear if there is no internal response.

As we go into this weekend – remembering the sacrifice of the Lamb and then rejoicing in His resurrected life – let us not just go through the motions! Let’s be fully present in mind, heart, and spirit and humble ourselves before the Lord. We don’t even need to nail our hands to a cross in order to do so.

What we need to do is to find a quiet spot to be alone, and have a moment before the Lord repenting, believing and having true faith in what He has done.

We, our sins, were present the day He died and we need to respond by surrendering our all today. We are forgiven! Let’s praise Him for what He accomplished!

There is no greater story of a beautiful love and grace than this:

God is NOT DEAD. He is SURELY ALIVE!

Picture drawn by Noah, March 2015

Picture drawn by Noah, March 2015

Linked at: #TellHisStory

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