“5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.” — Matthew 28:5-6
The central symbol of Christianity is the cross, as we identify with Christ’s suffering. But I wish there was a way to represent an empty tomb.
He is Risen Indeed!
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” —Matthew 27:46
Jesus is quoting King David from Psalm 22. I find myself saying these words myself, more often than I care to admit. I don’t think I’m alone. Did God really abandon Jesus in a moment of need? Did God really abandon King David, the man after his own heart? Does he abandon me?
My head (and my heart most of the time) says “I don’t think so”. I don’t think a loving father would abandon his son, and I happen to believe that my God is a loving father. I believe what happens to me is that I lose sight of God. I don’t feel his presence. For whatever reason. Could be my sin. Could be I’m not in touch with Him. Could be I’m not listening or looking.
I don’t think he abandoned Jesus either. I think Jesus was so fully human (and still fully God, the trinity is great mystery to me) in those moments, bearing the burden of all our sins, he lost sight of Him too.
26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. — John 19:26-27
When I visited an oasis in the Middle East with friends, a woman came running up to us with a child. Our friend (who we were visiting) spoke with her in Arabic for several minutes and then we parted ways. She explained that she was a widow and had no one to care for her. Even in the 21st century, she was not allowed to own property or earn a living and basically, she had nothing.
Jesus was not Mary’s only child, but he was the eldest. Since his father had passed, he had cared for his mother. And he asks John to care for her.
43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” — Luke 23:43
I wonder who this man was? The thief, dying on the cross beside Jesus, who rebuked the other and asked him to remember him when he came in his kingdom. What had he done?
I wonder which of the thieves I would have been?
34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. — Luke 23:34
I’ve been in this story. The guilty standing by, watching as someone else pays the price for my wrongs. I might as well be hammering the nails in myself.
“Father forgive him, for he knows not what he does.” And if I’m honest, I still don’t.