18 04 2014

This time in April is what is referred to in Christianity as “Passion Week.” Our reflecting upon the sacred happenings of this seven day period helps us to appreciate why Jesus came from heaven to earth in the first place. It definitely was not for our hospitable company as mankind proved to be lousy hosts for the God of all creation! We took the holiest man who ever graced our planet and nailed him to a cross! So don’t be surprised when the crowd collectively stabs you in the back for much less! But Jesus never prevented his crucifixion from happening. Jesus could have said the word, “Enough,” at any time. Angels would have fought for him. Creation would have defended him. The Father would have rescued and evacuated him. Jesus willingly chose to walk a road that he knew would lead through hell. Jesus literally laid his life down as the ultimate sacrifice of love for our sin.

As Jesus headed into Jerusalem to begin the road to the resurrection, it began with a 4000 foot climb. That fact alone might have disqualified most of us! But Jesus climbed a mountain not to get a breathtaking view from the peak but to literally have the oxygen beaten out of him. He knew it was going to happen and he still persevered. What fueled his expedition? It was an incredible selfless love that refused to fail.

The view from Calvary for the local home audience had them believing what even the disciples thought was the death of a dream. It would have been a defeat in the valley moment for almost all of us. But looks are deceiving with God. You can’t and should never judge an eternal book by a finite cover. Jesus’ mountaintop experience on the cross was where God won his greatest victory. The Father would be able to welcome his children home. There would be a banquet someday in the Son’s honor and because of his faithful obedience; every seat around the dinner table would be filled! What a paradox from what the people believed to be the coronation on Palm Sunday really occurred on that dark and dismal Good Friday! When you finally have the guts to look death in the eyes, life finally changes!

I have just finished the book entitled, “I am Malala.” On the morning of Tuesday October 9, 2012, Malala, a 15 year old girl, boarded her school bus in the northwest Pakistani district of Swat. A gunman from the Taliban asked for Malala by name and then proceeded to point a Colt 45 at her and fired off 3 shots! One bullet hit the left side of her forehead, traveled under her skin the length of her face and then into her shoulder. But this act of violence didn’t rob this incredible young lady of her victory. Listen to what Malala says, “The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage were born.” It was Malala’s dance with death that rather than put the fire of passion out in her heart and make her a bitter wallflower has only set this young lady even more ablaze. When you finally grasp the truth that each hour of every day is a gift- you understand that you can climb with no fear of losing!

When people ask me what has made the greatest impact upon my life, I quickly answer with conviction that it was the death of my 5 children who presently reside in Heaven. When your own children have been ripped from your arms, what else is too great to lose?

This Easter you can play the victim or you can realize that your adventure isn’t completed yet. Jesus was smacked around and even knocked out but you can’t keep a good man down! He knew that an earthly coronation was not the real celebration. A ride upon a donkey to the cheers of adoring but fickle fans upon the streets of earth was not to be compared to the coming parade leading to paradise! Some 2000 plus years ago around this time of the year, Jesus climbed a steep hill to Jerusalem only to discover that it led to an even bigger hill upon Golgotha- but oh what view he has now! Because he went through hell for us, he would not have to be in heaven without us and if you trust him to be your tour guide of life- he will take you somewhere worth going too!

Easter is a microcosm of the few degrees of separation in every heart between what people expect to get out of life and what it is they truly receive. Your decision to follow the lead of Jesus is the difference between jubilation and judgment- between horror and hosanna! Be careful the next time you are duped by a counterfeit hero. Only a true savior will bust through a grave so that none of us will ever have to call it our final destination again! This Easter, take the time and make the effort to follow Jesus to life! It is worth the trip!



One response

18 04 2014
Ruth Cooper

Wonderful blog, Pastor Rudy. Inspiring.

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