This weekend we commemorate what many consider to be the most significant events on the Christian Calendar – the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
While for many, Christmas, the observance of the birth of Jesus, is their favorite time of the year, (mainly for selfish reasons as in the gifts they may receive) for others, Easter is their favorite time. Yes, Christmas is indeed a beautiful time of year; the whole atmosphere seems to be different as, seemingly, happy people move about making their Christmas preparations and yes, the birth of Jesus should be celebrated.
Not so much emphasis; however, is placed on Easter by the wider community, but this is considered the most significant time by many because at Easter we are reminded of the fact that Jesus endured such a horrific and painful death for us; so that our sins may be forgiven, that we may have a right to eternal life.
Tomorrow we observe what is commonly referred to as ‘Good Friday,’ the day that Jesus was crucified on a cross for our sins. The figure of a cross, a structure consisting essentially of an upright and a transverse piece, is probably the most recognized Christian emblem. Legends say that the cross that Jesus carried to Golgotha (also known as Calvary) the place of his crucifixion, was approximately six inches wide, 11 feet long and weighed about 100 pounds.
In what, I imagine, was excruciating pain after being whipped and flogged to the point of his flesh being torn and loosing so much blood, Jesus was forced to carry his own cross to the place of his crucifixion. Because Jesus was extremely weak from the beating and falling sometimes, the Bible says that a gentleman by the name of Simon, from Cyrene, assisted him in carrying his cross.
While you may not literally have a physical cross to carry, many persons in today’s society are carrying their own individual crosses; burdens that are weighing them down.
For some their cross may be terminal illness, others may be financial problems, others death of a loved one, a broken marriage, problems with children etc., but we all have carried or are presently carrying our personal crosses.
We may not be so fortunate as to have anyone volunteer to carry our cross for us, but God is always willing to help make our burdens easier if we will only learn to take our crosses to him in prayer and have faith that he can help us. This, however, is much easier said than done for most of us.
None of us, as human beings, like to experience any pain or sorrow, we prefer God to just never allow us to ever have to deal with any distress.
Prior to the events of Good Friday, Jesus is shown in his human state as he agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane, pleading to God to “let this cup pass” (Matthew 26). The cup being referred to was that of having to endure the crucifixion. Jesus always knew the purpose for which he was sent to earth, to bear the sins of the world, but as the time drew nearer, in his humanity he became fearful, heavy hearted and full of anguish as he anticipated the cross that he alone had to bear.
The Bible describes him as being “troubled and deeply distressed.” It says in Luke chapter 22 verse 44 that Jesus “sweated drops of blood,” because of the stress and pressure. In spite of this he knew that God’s will had to be done. God did not allow the cup to pass from Jesus but the Bible says an angel from Heaven appeared to strengthen him. (Luke 22:43).
Often we too pray that God will take our burdens away from us. God may not always take away our burdens but just as he did for his son Jesus, he would send an angel from Heaven to strengthen us, to help us endure our sufferings. This is a reminder that we can do all things (including bearing our crosses) through Christ that strengthens us. (Philippians 4:13)
So many times when we think we have unbearable crosses, there are others whose crosses are much worse than ours. When we think of all that Jesus endured carrying his cross, an innocent man becoming the sacrificial lamb for us, carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, this should help us to put things in perspective, to not complain about our seemingly large crosses but continue to pray and trust God to see us through.
What cross are you presently carrying? As we commemorate this season, let us reflect on the cross that Jesus carried for us over two thousand years ago. In Luke chapter 9 verse 23, Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me”.
Take up your cross and follow Jesus! Have a Happy Easter!
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Published Thursday, April 13, 2017