With a disheveled crown of thorns and oozing wounds, the Savior of the world lay nailed to an old, rickety cross. Beaten. Abused. Mocked.
Blood ran red down the hill of Calvary, trickling through throngs of unbelievers and scoffers.
As insults and stones were hurled through the air, the Savior hung with excruciating pain.
As He surveyed the malicious crowd, He neither quit nor condemned.
He suffered. He prayed. He loved.
With labored breaths, He said
Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do
In the midst of torture, in the midst of torment, Jesus showed only grace and only mercy.
After days and hours of public humiliation, He peered at the crowd of skeptics and cynics.
They continued their jeering, filled with arrogant pride.
But Jesus, undaunted, mustered His dying breath, saying only
It is finished.
The Earth shook. Murmurs erupted. Time stood still.
When the finality of His death lingered through the crowd, they took His mangled body to a tomb, sealing it with a cumbersome, granite slab.
For three days, His body remained.
For three days, people wondered.
For three days, the story seemed finished.
But on the third day, the stone was gone.
And the story was only beginning.
That third day, Jesus conquered death, paving the way for us to spend eternity with Him, even though we will never deserve it.
And that’s why Easter is so powerful and so special. Because serving God isn’t about what we can do for Him, but it’s about everything He did for us.
While we were still sinners, Jesus died for us.
When He was bleeding, hanging and hurting, He was thinking about you and me.
He was tormented and tortured so we could be free.
His blood covers us. His blood rescues us. His blood redeems us.
His blood is stronger than addiction.
His blood is stronger than lies.
His blood is stronger than lust, greed, pride, evil and selfishness.
His blood is stronger than Sin.
What kind of crazy love it is that God would allow His perfect Son to take our place.
What kind of crazy love it is that God would give us grace and mercy when we deserve condemnation.
What kind of crazy love it is that all we have to do is call upon the name of the Lord and He heals us.
God is weird.
Even when we disobey God, even when we run away and ignore Him, even when we mess up, God waiting with open arms, ready to scoop you up and celebrate the return of His beloved.
If you were the only person on the planet, Jesus still would have died for you — even if you don’t believe in Him.
No matter what you do, His relentless love never stops pursuing you.
Because God is weird. And God is love. And the blood of Christ changed everything.
So it’s OK you aren’t perfect. Jesus loves you as you are, not as you ought to be. But He loves you so much that He doesn’t want you to stay the way you are. He wants to fix you and mend you and heal you. And He does.
There’s no stipulations, there’s only grace. You can’t earn it, and you can’t lose it. Just accept it. Surrender to it. Give everything you are to the One who fearfully and wonderfully made you.
We pray to a God who defeated death. We pray to a miracle-maker. We pray to a redeemer.
We pray to a father.
We pray to a God of second and third and 17 millionth chances.
And that is the most beautiful, incomprehensible thing on the planet.
So when I say Happy Easter, I mean it with all of my heart.
I am perfectly loved by the maker of Heaven and Earth. I am washed by His blood. I am healed by His wounds.
Oh, how He loves us.