Written by Jessie Polley and Betsy Wagoner. Media by Justin Smith.
To Christians, Easter is a time where we happily reflect on the death and resurrection of Jesus. Without this history-changing, earth shattering (literally) moment in time, we would not be able to call ourselves Christians. Leading up to this momentous day, Jesus partook in the Jewish holiday of Passover on the night of the infamous Last Supper.
Passover is a way for Jews to remember the experience their ancestors had while fleeing Egypt. Passover literally refers to the “passing over” by angels of the Israelites homes who had the blood of lambs on their doorposts. If the blood of a lamb was not spread across a doorway, God would kill the firstborn son in that family. In Exodus Chapter 12, God commands Moses to eat the lamb that was sacrificed as well as unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Because of this commandment, the night before the Passover holiday, a Jewish family will remove any item from their home that contains leavened material. They can sell them to Gentiles, burn them, or eat them.
Although we often associate the Last Supper with the first invitation to communion, it also was a time for Jesus and his disciples to reflect on the provision of God and His promise to always provide for His children. The Last Supper was a symbol of remembrance, invitation, and sacrifice, which was essential to lead into Christ’s death on the cross. Jesus’ reflection on the sacrifice his ancestors made was an encouragement to him, and was also a reminder that he was about to make the last sacrifice ever needed for the rest of time.
As Christians, we are forever reminded of this final sacrifice that was made for us and for the rest of the world. We are able to rejoice on Sunday morning knowing that our sins are paid for and we don’t have to continue the tradition of putting blood on our doorways. Christ is the only Lamb that will live forever and has the power to truly take away the punishment of death.
In Luke 22 we see a glimpse of the struggle Jesus was in at Gethsemane. He prayed to his Father saying, “If you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” It goes on to say that he was in such anguish that his sweat was “like drops of blood falling to the ground.” The sin of the world was placed on one man, a perfect man. He bore it all so that we could be free. It was a lot to bare, but he knew it had to be done.
On Good Friday may we be reminded of the struggle Christ entered into by staring into the face of death itself. We should remember the spikes that pierced his body, each time ripping into his flesh adding to the gut-wrenching pain he was already experiencing. We must remember the crown of thorns that was thrusted onto his head, making blood rush down his scalp, seeping onto his chapped lips. May we never forget the nails that were hammered through his tendons and blood vessels in both his hands and feet. Hear the cries of anguish that bellowed from his stomach, reached his heaving chest, and escaped from his blood soaked mouth. Look into the eyes that scream of love for you, that shower you with grace and forgiveness, that tell you that you’re worth every tear rolling down his face, every ounce of skin that was ripped from his body, every trickle of blood that rained down from his bruised and battered head. Let Christ speak into your very soul, letting you know that He entered into the realm of despair and danger, where everything smelled like rotting flesh, where hope was non-existent, where eyes were hallow and empty, where pain reigned, and death was fresh, where souls constantly ached, where heartbreak was the norm, where longings were never satisfied, where fear was evident, where dreams died,where hope was lost, where suffering was extinct, and He overcame this. Just for you. He battled with Satan for your soul. And the best news is, He won.
May we not end at the dreadful scene of the cross. Remember the happiest and holiest of days. Resurrection Sunday, when Jesus escaped from the claws of the grave. Death could not keep him down. Death, something that clenched and swallowed and defeated every soul before Jesus, was not able to keep him. He swung His mighty arms at death, stole the key of sin and shame, and won life for all those who chose Him. Christ is a fighter for souls, and He is victorious. May you keep in mind the best thing that has ever happened to this world. Constantly be vividly reminded of the pain Christ suffered for you, but most importantly remember His resurrection and that the battle has already been won. He is Risen!