We grew up with no religion in our home, so I was surprised to find a child’s prayer book on the dining room table.
As I looked through the book, I found a series of pictures with the story telling about this man I never even heard of who loved us so much that he suffered and died for us. I was so sad to hear about this that I cried and cried and promised never to do anything bad again to cause him pain. At the same time, however, I found comfort in knowing that someone loved me that much.
That Jesus died for us is difficult to comprehend. He was innocent. He came to bring us closer to the Father and to the kingdom of heaven. He came to save us from ourselves. We understand this, and yet we also know that down through the ages, many good men have died heroic deaths.
What makes Jesus different is that besides dying for us … he also rose for us. Had he not risen, he might have had a place in history, but would we really know of his mission? Would we know that he died for us? Would we really have access to his life, actions, and teachings?
Because he died and rose, we are able to take refuge in his love and grace. He came to lead us to the Father, and it was worth dying to teach us that the Kingdom of God is within us, that our sins are forgiven, and that we are to follow his example.
So, as we contemplate the crucifixion and death of Jesus, may we be open to taking in the whole picture. We have been given so much more through the depth of his love than we could ever imagine but may we spend our days pondering and growing in his kind of love.