Easter Was No Accident
I remember watching a short film called The Bridge about a man that sacrificed his son in order to save many lives. He loved his son very much.
One day, he took his son to his job where the man was a bridge operator over a river. The bridge had a train track that ran over it, and it was the man's job to raise and lower the bridge whenever a ship came along the river that had high stacks and would be unable to sail under the clearance of the bridge. The son, at one point in the video, becomes trapped in the gears of the equipment as a train approaches, and the bridge is up. The man must make a decision. If he leaves the bridge up, his son survives, but the passengers on the oncoming train will all surely die. If he lowers the bridge, the people on the train will live, but his son will die a gruesome death.
Max Lucado refers to this tale in his book, God Came Near. He reminds us that though the tale is powerful, and a touching parallel to the sacrifice our Lord made for us when He was crucified on The Cross, there is a major difference between the two stories. The tale about the bridgemaster tells of events that occur that forces the man to make a terrible decision when faced with a horrible dilemma. The Bridge tells of an unfortunate accident that forced the man into making the difficult decision of pulling the lever, lowering the bridge, and allowing his son to die so that the many people aboard the oncoming train may live.
As did the man in the tale, God the Father twisted in grief as Jesus Christ was sacrificed on that cross on Calvary. All of the sinners of the world were given a gift through this sacrifice, though most of them didn't even realize it was happening as it occurred, nor are willing to accept it to this day. But the death of Jesus of Nazareth was no accident. God was not suddenly faced with a horrible decision, and had to pull a lever. The crucifixion was in accordance to God's plan. The cross was no accident. The moment Adam and Even used their gift of free will to become disobedient to God the wheels were set in motion. Our Lord intentionally planted the tree from which the cross would be carved. He willingly placed the iron ore in the ground from which the nails would be cast. He voluntarily placed Judas, who would betray Jesus, in the womb of a woman. Pilate was assigned to Jerusalem, Calvary was thrust up from the earth, and the tomb was at the ready long before the crucifixion took place.
Jesus was born to die on that cross.
When Easter approaches, Christians begin to talk more and more about the resurrection, as well they should. It is this glorious event that confirms all that Jesus said and did while He walked the Earth. He is the only historical figure to conquer death, to rise from the tomb and walk among his followers again. Oh, what a glorious morning that must've been. But in the celebration of Easter, we often fail to remember the terrible events that led to His glorious triumph over death.
The birth, life and death of Jesus Christ was prophesied over 700 times in the Old Testament. From Genesis to Malachi, his birth, life, and death is provided to us in vivid detail. We celebrate his birth and resurrection with Christmas and Easter, as well we should. But why is it that often Christians want to avoid discussing the crucifixion?
Jesus was crucified, and without the horror of the crucifixion, the Resurrection would not have occurred. Jesus Christ suffered through agony and pain, suffering in ways that Mel Gibson's Movie "Passion of the Christ" could not even capture in its gruesome depiction of Jesus Christ's final twelve hours. The horror of His death was worse than what the movie depicted, or anything they could ever depict. The suffering was greater than any of us could ever understand. He bore the sins of the entire world, past, present, and future, at that moment in time, and the weight of all that sin was so tormenting to bear that He cried out in torturous suffering, "My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me!"
On Easter, while you are singing during the church service, be uplifted, inspired, and remember that because He was victorious over death, we are saved. But while you are praising Him, also remember that there is no Easter Sunday without Good Friday. Worship Him, but spend time remembering what Jesus Christ experienced during those final hours before the spear was thrust into his side, and His human heart stopped beating.
The betrayal, the cries by the crowd to "Crucify Him!", the beating He received under the orders of Pilate that was so horrid that his inner organs could be seen through the openings of His flesh, the ropes that bound Him as He was led to the cross, the nails that were driven into His hands, the very existence of the soldiers that ensured He was dead on the cross, nor the tears shed by His followers - though each an important and integral part of the story of Christ - were not necessary. They were not necessary because Christ needed not be betrayed, He would have surrendered Himself if need be. He would have driven the nails into His own hands, if need be. He would have died the horrible death, no matter how the events that led to it transpired. He would have sacrificed Himself anyway. It was an act of Grace. A devoted plan of redemption set in motion thousands of years before. The Crucifixion, His lifeless body in The Tomb, and His glorious Resurrection on Easter was no accident. It was a plan set in motion from the beginning so that anyone that so believeth in Him may have salvation.
Pure Love. Pure Devotion. A Pure Lamb for Man's Transgressions.