Saturday, April 3, 2010

From Darkness to Rejoicing

A few thoughts regarding the Cross for this precious Easter: There is so much activity around this Holiday. Many rushing about to find the right Easter basket and goodies to add to it. Then, of course, the right dress or suit and tie. For me, it is another opportunity to rejoice in what our Saviour has done for us. I can't help but be amazed when I consider the utter darkness that surrounded the crucifixion, even to the crying out, "My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?" Jesus took every mentionable and unmentionable sin, suffering and sickness upon himself. While hanging there, he even refused a drink that would have not only quenched a bit of his thirst, but also dulled his pain for a moment. He accepted the full extent of darkness for our sake. In my line of work I see people all day long. Many have their necks adorned with a chain of one kind or another and on that chain, a cross. Men and women, boys and girls. I see many types of crosses from diamond studded to wooden. What stands out most to me is that some of the crosses hold a replica of the body of Christ and some do not. There are three specific crosses that come to mind. The one that bore our Lord Jesus and the ones on either side of him that bore the two thieves. Those thieves were experiencing their own darkness at that time. They knew it was the end for them and they knew why. They were indeed guilty. Unbeknown to them, the one hanging between the two was the one that at that very moment was bearing their guilt and shame right along with them even though he himself was guilty of nothing. What a deep, dark hole of fear, pain and separation was before them. The inner agony must have been unbearable. Then, a last flicker of hope and faith arose in the heart of the one thief and from his lips he spoke, "Please remember me when you come into your Kingdom." Jesus replied, "This day you will be with me in Paradise." Only at that time did the Lord admit to thirst as he proclaimed, "It is Finished" and gave up his Spirit to the Father. Through the excruciating pain he was suffering, the rush of emotion that must have gone through this thief! To know that his sin was forgiven, his guilt removed. Eternal life was his. To be absent from the body is to be present with Christ. The thief was with Christ that very day. Three days later Jesus did exactly what he said he would. He rose from the dead victorious over death and the grave. All of this to fulfill his purpose. No more guilt, shame or separation. The plan was complete to reunite us with the Father and give us the gift of eternal life. The Cross I wear is empty. Jesus is no longer suffering on the cross nor is he in the grave. He is Risen as He said! He is Risen Indeed! Because of that Cross, occupied then empty, we have gone from Darkness to Rejoicing. HAPPY EASTER TO YOU AND YOURS! "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16