The flowers in the photo above are called crown of thorns. Which I felt applied well to this weekend.
Crosses were used for executions often during the days of Jesus. Few deaths held as much fear as those planks of wood; it was slow and painful and humiliating, absolute suffering. I imagine being there, among the observers. Standing before the cross, staring up at the dirt and blood coated feet of the man hanging there, my stomach turned with sickness. The scent of sweat and death lingering in the air always and the spot never clear of it. Birds hungry from days in the desert circle above, chattering to one another, or to the people below, no one can tell. Agonizing moans and cries emanate from the accused and their loved ones, mixed with taunts and mockery from those who had nothing better to do than to watch. One man stands out among the other two, His pain seems deeper and His situation more controlled. He wears a crown marking Him a king, His sign reads, “hail, king of the Jews” but what king would hang on a cross? Blood pools beneath Him and His sorrow I can begin to feel. Then He looks at me and I am amazed by what I see. Eyes so filled with pain and sorrow are smiling with love. His being there feels like it holds a great purpose and suddenly the sky grows dark. The birds have scattered in fear and a great crack is heard from somewhere within the village. Looking back to the man I see with a broken heart that He is gone. Until a warm hand slips into mine and I look to see Him standing next to me smiling down with that same love I saw before. He leans over and whispers in my ear,
“You are worth this sacrifice.”
We are worth the sacrifice of suffering and death to the one who gave it all for us. Jesus gave up His kingdom, gave up His dignity, gave up what we would refer to as His pride; He gave up His blood, gave up His flesh and gave up His life, because He deemed us worthy. We are not worthy on our own, but because Jesus decided we are worthy that makes us worthy. He sacrificed because He loves us. He took the keys from the devil, unlocked the gates of hell and set the captives free because suddenly their sins were paid for and forgiven. He rose from the grave as an unmatched sign that He is king and He has conquered death. It may sound crazy, a battle between good and evil where one supreme power controls it all, but the crazy thing is it’s real, it’s happening and we are a part of it. When Jesus comes back I want to be found sitting at the foot of the cross. Where do you want to be found?