(I’ve never posted one of these from my phone before, so please forgive the formatting issues! I’ll fix ’em when I’m back home from Texas)
For each of the last few years during Holy Week, I read something I wrote on Good Friday the Easter after God turned my eyes toward this new path the Eliason Clan is on…
Good Friday – 2011
Thank You for today, Father.
Thank You for what you did for us today.
Thank You for the [Maundy-Thursday] service last night…
Thank You for working in my heart last night.
I have always had a hard time accepting your love and forgiveness…
thinking that I didn’t deserve it.
I still know that I don’t deserve it,
but I understood last night,
how much you really do love me.
I’ve talked it before.
I even preached it at Camp J last summer.
But, now I am learning to accept it for myself.
Every year for Easter, we are running…
and the whole week is a little crazy.
Every year I lose sight of You.
Saturday comes and I had forgotten
about the sacrifice You made the day before.
I never want to take that for granted.
I’m sorry for the weight of my sins You had to bear on the cross.
Thank You for bearing them.
Thank You for freeing me from the bondage of my sin.
Thank You for saving me from who I might have become.
Thank You for choosing me to walk this path that we are on…
Help me to be a vessel so others can know your redeeming and refining love.
Thank You for working on me…
renovating me from the inside out.
Come inside and clear me out…
all my closets…
remove all the crud and make me new.
I invite You in.
Make me who You designed me to be.
Thank You for all You did this Easter season.
Thank You for all You continue to do.
Maybe I’m unique…Maybe I’m the only one who has a habit of forgetting the significance of the whole week until it is near the end.
If I am, I’m glad that you all do not forget (or take for granted) the incredible significance of this week and the sacrifice made for each of us.
He didn’t HAVE to…He CHOSE to.
On Maundy-Thursday, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed three times to His Father that, “this cup be taken from me” (Matthew 26:39,42,44). Each time though, He followed with, “not my will, but Your will be done.”
Just before His arrest (& Peter’s miserable attempt to protect Him), Jesus, in Matthew 26:52-54, says,“’Put your sword back in its place…for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and He will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?'”
Jesus had a way out of His brutal torture, but He did not take the easy way out.
He knew WE had no other hope or option.
He had every possible option but He chose us…
and that meant the most brutal, humiliating, degrading, and painful path
so that we could be redeemed…Find hope…Be forgiven.
For Jesus, it was all about us!
For that reason we should, forever and always, make it ALL ABOUT HIM.
He chose us.
And, for Him, it meant the worst imaginable journey, so that when we choose Him, it can mean that our journey can be greater than we could ever imagine.
The stone was rolled away from Jesus’ tomb not so He could get out, but so that we could see that He has risen and He has opened the way for us to enter into His tomb, His death, into New Life!
Every year, I re-read what I wrote in 2011 to remind myself not to let this week pass as if it is a normal week. This one is special. I crucified my Lord this week. I hung my sins on Him while He hung on the cross…He willingly took them.
However, the greatest part of this story is that He loves me so much that He willingly took my sins and my punishment upon Himself – only to rise again to bring me new life so that I do not have to live with that burden of guilt and shame.
He has given each of us the opportunity to live into the life for which He designed us.
I am thankful for that and I celebrate that this week.
I never want to take that for granted.