My mind travels back two thousand years and I am standing in front of a cross.
I’m looking up trying to comprehend this moment. I long to be brave and be present in my Lord’s suffering. I need to feel, smell, and touch His sacrifice.
I am a coward though, because I cannot keep watching, it’s too much to bear. I’m ashamed of myself for covering my eyes and wanting to run away. As I’m standing there I hear unbearable wailing. I see Mary, Christ’s mother and John His beloved disciple.
I don’t just hear their grief, I feel it in my bones.
As I look at John it breaks something so tender and fragile inside of me. I recognize the grief of not only losing your best friend, but your Father. It’s Mary’s cries which don’t even sound human, that unravel me. She is on the ground weeping not just over the loss of a son, but the loss of her Savior.
I crane my neck frantically looking for the other disciples. They’re nowhere in sight.
For three years they have walked with Him, worshiped with Him, learned from Him. They have fled the scene, deserting their Lord and Teacher.
As my anger begins to rise and bubble over, tears take its place as I realize this truth: I see myself in every believer that has gone before me.
I am each one.
I am Peter, having a passion and zeal for Christ, but have failed Him at times with my immaturity and impulsivity.
I am Thomas, STILL consumed with doubts. I still question Him, still wonder if He’s really there, and wish I could investigate the holes in His hands, maybe then I would fully believe?
I am Zacchaeus, one day climbing to the top of the tallest tree to get a glimpse of Him, yet the next day, I’m Jonah running from Him and sitting in a belly of a whale because of my rebellious, prideful heart.
I am Mary of Bethany crying from my loved ones deaths and silently screaming to God at their funerals, “Where were you!?”
I have been Mary sitting with my guests entering into their lives with my full attention. And I have been Martha in the kitchen, consumed with perfectionism, afraid of real intimacy.
I am Abraham, and instead of seeing his Issac, I see all of my Issac’s throughout the years. All the things I desired more than God, craved more than God, loved more than God. From relationships to unhealthy desires and dreams.
I close my eyes, inhaling a deep breath. I am John His Beloved. I have laid my head upon my Lord’s chest, where I could hear His heartbeat and feel His all consuming love for me.
I am Ruth, Esther, and Rahab. Brave, bold, and full of courage when I believe Christ is with me.
I am David, an adulterer and a woman/man after God’s own heart.
I am Eve. Listening to the crafty serpent and taking a bite of the luscious fruit because I fear Christ may be holding out on me.
I am Paul, a Chief of Sinners, a devout Pharisee so blinded by my own self-righteousness and judgement, God lovingly knocked me off my high horse enabling me to see.
The Lord takes me to the Garden of Gethsemane.
He is full of sorrow to the point of death, in such agony He is sweating drops of blood. He asks his disciples three times to stay up and pray. In angst, I run to his disciples to shake them awake and as I roll them over, I see me lying there.
I stumble back stunned. How many times have I fallen asleep in my faith and given way to temptation because I did not heed His warnings?
I am now back at the cross.
I see all my sin and victories before me. I hear my Savior’s voice and hear Him say:
“It is Finished.”
I no longer have to run, I no longer have to hide, I no longer have to fear anything, including death.
The next two days of waiting are agonizing. Then the Lord leads me to the empty tomb. Mary Magdalene is there.
It is still dark and the stone has been rolled away. I watch as she rushes to tell Peter and John, before she can finish speaking, they begin to sprint to the tomb. I’m running behind them trying to keep up.
They are sprinting so fast, they can’t catch their breath.
They are desperate to see.
I can feel their questions with every stride: “Did He do what He said He would do?” “Was everything He said true after all?” John outruns Peter getting there first.
When we arrive, I feel their pain. I also have visited tombs and watched people, dreams, and hearts die, including my own. I have tasted the hopelessness of death.
I sense John’s hesitancy to go in. He’s scared to trust. Scared to believe. Scared to hope.
He peers in and sees the strips of linen lying there but draws back.
Peter reaches the tomb and rushes right in. He looks down and sees the linen and the burial cloth which had been placed around Jesus’ head.
Finally, John musters his courage and timidly walks in.
After going in and seeing the tomb empty, I can see it in his eyes: He sees and believes.
Their Savior did what He told them He was going to do: He had resurrected, He had risen, He had defeated death.
I am now standing in my kitchen.
I’m getting ready to bake cookies and tracing the outline of the cookie cutter shaped in the image of the cross. I am John standing at the door of my heart, hesitant to go in.
It is Friday, two days before Easter and the world is in utter chaos and I am running scared. The news plays on and the stories escalate. The horrors rise and I stand at the door peering in scared to believe, scared to trust, scared to hope.
I look up, plead with Jesus and beg Him to answer my questions: “Where are you? Will you come back? Will you do what you said you would do?”
And all I can hear Him say is:
“It is Finished.”
(image source: canstockphoto.com)