I passed by a sign outside a church today that read, “Come, celebrate the Risen Lord with us on Sunday.”
That’s wonderful--we should indeed celebrate the glorious rising of our powerful, loving God.
However, it did make me go on to ponder that as beautiful as it is to celebrate the Resurrection, there’s something lacking if we fail to include what happened before the Resurrection.
When that same all-powerful God sweat drops of blood in the garden of Gethsamane the night before He died—His trusted followers sleeping through His agony. When He was beaten and scourged simply to please the people. When He walked a long, bloody path burdened with a rough cross and the weight of our sins. When he hung from a cross, with torn and bruised flesh, nails in the hands that healed so many, sharp thorns stabbing His head. In short, when He was “pierced for our offenses and crushed for our sins” (Isaiah 53:5).
It’s messy and heartwrenching and disturbing to see Jesus like this—“one of those from whom men hide their faces” (Isaiah 53:3).
But it’s true. And He endured it all for us.
I think that remembering and reflecting on those events give us a deeper appreciation of His Resurrection.
It’s so connected. You can’t have one without the other.
Just like you can’t have a sunrise without first having darkness.
Or healing without a wound.
A rainbow without rain.
Spring without winter.
Rejoicing in Jesus’ victory over sin and death (as well as any victories in our own lives) is sweeter and deeper when we remember the pain and suffering endured before it.
Let’s go with the women to the tomb on Sunday and celebrate our Risen Lord with joy and awe. But in the days before, let’s walk with Him on the journey to Calvary. Let’s stand at the foot of the cross, look up at this bleeding, suffering Savior, and see in His eyes a personal, unfathomable, endless love.