I think one of the things that has hit me the deepest this Easter season, is the absolute humility of Jesus Christ. The strength of his character is unimaginable. The compassion for others, to the core of his being, wasn’t something that could’ve been faked. It was his very nature to think of others above himself.
Before I lose some of you here who are thinking, “Yeah, yeah, I heard this story a hundred times already…I’ve seen the film. I get it.”
Picture Jesus. Close your eyes if you have to and picture him.
Not the Scandinavian man with long flowing hair from the Bible story picture books.
Not the man with the clean white robe and blue sash.
Not the white skinned, serious faced character from the paintings, surrounded by people.
But a man…A Jewish man.
Betrayed by his friends.
Beaten beyond recognition.
Innocent, but falsely accused.
Sentenced to a horrendous death.
Carrying a cross upon his torn up back, until all strength was gone.
And a crowd of women, crying and grief-stricken, trailing behind him.
And rightly so! Jesus was the victim here! Certainly, he deserved their sympathy. Certainly, he deserved their tears.
But Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t you weep for me but weep for yourselves and your children…” Luke 23:28
When I read this yesterday, my eyes filled with tears. For Jesus was the most unjustly treated man that has ever lived on the face of the earth. Yet he never once, NEVER ONCE, victimized himself. Even when he was falsely accused, even in his suffering, even in his betrayal and abandonment by close friends – he did not weep for himself.
He was continually more concerned with the spiritual state of others, then of his own darkest moments.
And as he was nailed to the cross? I have partially stepped on a nail (as in it went through my shoe and partly into my foot and it hurt for days!) I can not even imagine the pain of what he went through at the hands of human beings. Surely now he would curse them!
“Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
While hanging there, suffering beyond comprehension, he spots his mother.
“Mother help me! They’ve misjudged me! I only helped them and they’ve done this to me! Mom, I’m in so much pain!” That’s what my voice would’ve yelled.
“Dear woman, here is your son…and John, here is your mother.” John 19:26-27
Not ONE selfish thought.
Not ONE bit of self pity.
Even on the cross he was honouring and caring for his mother. Even in his suffering he was forgiving his tormentors.
The amazing strength and integrity of Jesus is unfathomable. How I love this man! How absolutely perfect and noble. How incomparable to even our greatest hero’s today!
And when it was all said and done he cries out:
“Father into your hands I commit my spirit.” Luke 23:46
And he breathes his last.
Jesus simply trusted God‘s will. He trusted him even in his suffering, until his last painful breath. He trusted that God would keep his spirit, even while being under God’s judgement and condemnation himself.
It’s easy to read the story and not feel it.
Please, take time to read about this incredible man, Jesus, the image of God himself in human form. Read the story slowly. Think about it deeply. Really picture the details. Perhaps other things will stick out to you from the story, perhaps other details will bring tears to your eyes.
But whatever you do, DON’T harden yourself to the message of the cross, where Jesus didn’t weep for himself, he wept for YOU.