There are so many times when we try to join God. We go to Him in prayer or we attend a worship service and we consciously understand His presence. We do this at moments throughout our lives. Easter is one of these moments when we are more aware than ever of what He’s done for us.
But when we look back at the first Easter, the opposite was true. The day wasn’t about people being lured into an understanding of who Jesus is; instead, they were filled with confusion about what He was doing.
In John 18 we watch as Jesus says, “Go to the garden to pray,” “Put your sword away,” “I’m the One you’re looking for,” and “My Kingdom is not of this world.” He goes peacefully with those who are seeking to arrest Him. And in fact, He gives Judas, His betrayer, the go-ahead to “do what you came for, friend” (Matthew 26:50).
In those moments, Jesus was building a bridge toward all of humanity so we may be able to draw near to Him. As much as we think we are building bridges to God through church services, what we do, or even what we wear on Easter, we can rest and celebrate the fact that He’s already built the bridge. Easter is the ultimate symbol of this.
Notice in John 18:5-6, when the guards who were sent to arrest Jesus asked where Jesus of Nazareth was, to which Jesus responded, “I am He,” they immediately fell to the ground. The arrestee actually brought His arresters to their knees in worship before Him! Then He hands Himself over to be arrested, beaten and crucified. Through all of this, He’s building a bridge … for us.
It would be one thing if Jesus was trapped, backed into a corner, with no one by His side, but that’s not how the story goes. He came into Jerusalem. He gathered His people together, He told his accuser to do what he had to do, and he told the guards that He was the One they were looking for. The intentionality and willingness of Jesus is overwhelming. He didn’t flinch!
Good Friday is good for us because Jesus took our place; otherwise, we would be left to ourselves. The power of this truth often gets lost on us. But for the 360 days when we might not be focused on what Jesus has done for us, He is still passionate about us. When we aren’t focused on His presence, He is focusing on us. If this is the year you are going to really appreciate what He’s done for you, understand that throughout all the years before this, He’s been crazy about you.
When someone does something great or kind — if I choose to send a card to someone else in the office — there’s intentionality behind it. This intentionality shows something about who you are. The moment of Easter shows us a lot about who God is. The intentionality of His sacrifice reveals the depth of His love for us.
Who do you understand our Savior to be?
— Jack Easterby, New England Patriots chaplain
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