Easter will soon be upon us once again. I love Easter for many reasons—warmer weather, pretty flowers and trees blooming. (And, if I am completely honest, Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs. Those little peanut butter and chocolate eggs are divine!) But, mainly Easter is an awesome reminder of Jesus’ love for us. Jesus gave himself willingly to die on the cross. He shed his blood to pay for all of our many, many sins. It’s truly the most humbling thing I know, or can even think of.
Easter also reminds me of that song, “Are You Washed in the Blood?” written in 1878 by Elisha A. Hoffman. (I love the internet and being able to look this kind of stuff up!) It is one of those great old hymns that we sang often in the church I grew up in. As a kid, when you hear the words “washed in the blood” your mind can think of some crazy stuff. Well, in my case, I was often literal. I remember picturing in my mind a bathtub full of blood, and having to take a bath in it. Eww! I also remember thinking that blood couldn’t possibly get you clean, only soap could do that. Thank goodness, I have grown up and learned about metaphors!
Being a theatre nerd, I also think of Jesus being crucified in conjunction with Jesus Christ, Superstar – the rock opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber. I can hear the chorus members shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” over and over. (I have to give a shout out to my awesome college professor, David Moore, who gave my friend TeeJay and I tickets to see Jesus Christ, Superstar at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. I think it was 1994. It had Carl Anderson as Judas and Ted Neely as Jesus—it was spectacular!!)
Thanks to seeing that performance, it was easy to picture the real Jesus being tortured and crucified. What I can’t imagine is what it must have been like actually be Jesus. It would be horrible enough to see that happen to someone, but I’m sure it doesn’t even begin to compare with having it happen to you.
Of course, I have a feeling that what caused Jesus to suffer most was not necessarily the corporal punishment he received, which was horrendous and brutal, but the sadness he must have felt for humanity. Why do I think this? I guess because it has always stuck with me that while he was on the cross dying, he prayed to God and said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Forgive them. Forgive them. Can you imagine asking for forgiveness for the people who are killing you?
But, that is what Jesus came to earth to do. He came to die on the cross so that our sins would be be forgiven. He didn’t die because of anything that he did, but what we did. Our sins. Ours. Not his. And, he gave his life willingly. I doubt that there are very many people alive today who would do that.
Let’s all take some time to reflect on this gift that God gave us: His son, Jesus. His son, who died on a cross for our sins. With a crown of thorns on his head, and nails through his hands and feet, He suffered mightily. (J. Lee Grady has an eye-opening blog post on How Jesus Endured the Pain of the Cross – read it. You won’t look at Jesus the same afterwards.)
The fact that He gave His life, means that we can live. I don't know about you, but I believe that this is the greatest of all gifts ever. It is certainly something worth celebrating. This Easter, I will thank Him and praise Him, for He is worthy!
Listen to Willie Nelson sing "Are You Washed in the Blood?"
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.