Author's Note: I was asked to write a piece to share at our Good Friday service. This piece was to focus on the suffering of Christ. So often we are tempted to gloss over the pain that Jesus endured and just skip to the resurrection, to the victory. But in doing so we lose the immensity of the love that He has for us, we water down His sacrifice. May we begin to fully grasp the meaning and wonder of the cross.
This man, Jesus. Perfect and holy. Pure and righteous. Free of any guilt or sin. This man, who stepped down from His heavenly throne, away from His power and authority, to be born of woman. To experience all of the trials, temptations, and pains that come with being fully human.
This man, who cried out to the Father to take this cup from Him. Driven by love chose the Father’s will over His own. He chose us over His own comfort. In every moment, even while praying so intensely that He began to sweat blood, He chose love.
He chose love when He allowed His betrayer to greet Him with a kiss, handing Him over to those who wanted to kill Him. Arrested and put on trial for crimes He didn’t commit. His friends scattered, denied even knowing Him. And still He kept choosing love.
When the crowd mocked Him, He chose love. When they chose Barabbas, a known criminal, to be released instead of Him, He chose love.
With every strike of the whip, ripping His skin open, He chose love. This man, Jesus, beaten beyond recognition, mocked and forced to wear a crown of thorns, kept choosing love.
Sentenced to die a death He did not deserve, He chose love. Bloodied and broken, but still forced to carry His cross to His own execution. And still He chose love.
Nailed to the cross, crying out to God the Father. Feeling forsaken. Bearing the full weight of sin. Their sin. Our sin. My sin. He chose love. He chose us. He chose me.
This man, Jesus. Perfect and holy. Pure and righteous. Free of any guilt or sin. This man, Jesus, who chose us. Who took our sin, who washed us clean, who suffered so that we could be made holy. So that we could be in relationship with Him.
This King, Jesus, who loved us more than His own life. He chose love. He chose us. He chose me.