Years ago, when it was first released, I went to see The Passion of the Christ. I wept through the whole film, and when it was over, walked out in complete silence with every other person in the theatre. No one said a word.
If you’ve seen the film you know that it’s graphic, violent, and at times unbearable to watch. My reaction to it, each time that I’ve seen it, has been to cringe, to wince, to writhe. I want to yell at the soldiers, and people throwing abuse at Jesus and say, “Just leave Him alone. Just stop for one second. Just give Him one moment of peace.” I weep for the suffering I witness. But it doesn’t stop. It just gets worse and worse. And as it progresses, as Jesus makes His way from His trial before the high priests, to the one before Pilate, then through the lashings, and finally through His sentencing to death, and the ordeal of carrying His cross to Golgotha, you see a man completely broken, ripped to shreds. He is the embodiment of agony. And yet, His arrival at the place of His death is really only the beginning of His suffering, for He still has to endure the Crucifixion, and in His death the separation from His Heavenly Father which is the rightful punishment that I deserve.
The film is graphic, violent, unbearable to watch. And it is made even more so by the knowledge that it’s not some story written for the big screen. When I watch that film, and when I read the passages of the Bible that detail the death of Christ, I am overwhelmed by the reality of what I am seeing and reading. I watch His body be broken, I see His body being poured out, and I am reminded that He did that for me.
I am so undeserving.
You may look at my life, and think, she’s a good person. She doesn’t steal, she hasn’t murdered anyone, she doesn’t abuse alcohol or drugs. She doesn’t beat her kid or cheat on her husband. She doesn’t even swear. These things are true. But if you could see the inside of my heart, you would know that I am no better than any who have murdered, cheated, stolen, or mistreated others. I am just as human, and so I am just as guilty, just as sinful. I have no right to stand before God, to call out to Him when I am in trouble, to seek His guidance when I need direction. I am unworthy of such a relationship with the Creator of all things.
One of my favorite scenes in The Passion is when Mary the mother of Jesus, runs through the back alleys trying to get close to Him as He carries His cross to the hill. She has a moment of hesitation as He comes into view, and then remembers running to pick Him up when He was a child and had tripped on the ground. She sees Him bending beneath the weight of His cross and she runs to Him to comfort Him. And He looks at her, bruised and bloody and swollen, and says to her “Behold, I make all things new.”
And He did.
Isn’t that incredible? Today we celebrated Easter Sunday. For some it was a time to gather with family, have a yummy meal, do an Easter egg hunt, and eat chocolate bunnies. For me, it was a time to rejoice in the unbelievable knowledge that though my heart is blackened with sin, though I am unworthy to call upon the God who made me, I have been given the ability and the right to stand before Him, to call Him Father, to run into His open arms, because Jesus has made me new. He hung on the cross, and took upon Himself, my sins. Each and every one.
My sins. And yours too.
Jesus hung on the cross, and suffered and died for you. He did it because He loves you, and wants you to enjoy a real and true relationship with God.
Maybe you already know this, or maybe you don’t believe it’s true. Maybe you just aren’t sure if it is true for you. It is.
If you are wondering, or unsure, or wanting to know more, take the time to listen to this song. And then email me, or leave me a comment to get in touch. I won’t have all the answers you are looking for. But I know Someone who does.