Easter is one of my favorite holidays. While I love the spring and decorating eggs and wearing a pretty dress to church, I love this holiday mostly because of what it means. This is arguably my favorite holiday just backed off of meaning alone. Don’t get me wrong- I love Christmas. I just tend to get lost in the “feeling” of Christmas that I forget to understand what it means until I’m sitting in a church service the week of. I also tend to like the Easter story more…
Weird statement, I know. “How can you like that story?” Well, friends, it’s not just because I love Jesus but I also like hearing about Jesus in his adult form. As incredible of a story the power of the cross contains, what I love the most is that Jesus was afraid. Jesus didn’t swagger with the cross on His back. Jesus didn’t laugh in the face of death. Jesus prayed and prayed that if it was possible, God would remove Him from having to face the cross. Jesus was scared because Jesus was human. Jesus’s humanity simply reminds me even more of God’s deep and never-ending love for us.
Matthew 26:38-39 shows us Jesus’s sweet spirit as He was frightened of what was to come:
Then He said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here and watch with me.” And going a little farther He fell on His face and prayed, saying, “my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
Jesus wanted His friends by His side and He prayed for God’s will but that maybe something could have changed. This is why Easter is my favorite story. Jesus was terrified to go to the cross but He did it because of His obedience and because of His love for us. This was not easy for Him. It was just as painful, real, and scary as if you or I were to face such a death. The angels did not protect Him from feeling some of that pain or for Him to die quicker. Rather, they had to leave Him so He could feel the full weight.
Matthew 27:46, “About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?'”
Jesus felt lost and alone without God’s presence on the cross. Though Jesus was perfect and without sin, He faced the exact same emotions and difficulties we do today. Jesus felt like He couldn’t hear from God. Yes, even the SON of God felt His Father’s absence. Jesus felt lonely, sad, scared, and angry. I believe this is so important in understanding what a sacrifice the cross really was to Him. It was not just a spirit coming down and acting like they could feel the pain but a man who understood the importance of what He was doing but couldn’t help but be afraid.
The cross was a sacrifice. The cross was a burden. The cross was suffering. But He did it so that we would not have to. This life throws so much in our path that sometimes we forget that we get to experience eternity with Him on the other side of it all. We get to love and worship Him forever. We are saved from brokenness and bondage because a man, a holy man, swallowed His fear, was obedient, and put His trust in God.
This Easter, remember that the sacrifice was not easy. Remember that He was afraid but He loved us so much and He loved our God so much, He was willing to face a terrible death. Whenever you are facing things that seem scary or uncertain, remember that God will not lead you where He wouldn’t go or has gone before. No matter your path, no matter the burden, carry your cross to Him.