The Easter Story
by Maddie Klaiber
And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.
- John 1:34 ESV
The whip cracks for the twentieth time. It mixes in with the cries and the screams in the air. It hasn’t been silent for a long time. I can feel my heart shattering. There are bright red stripes engraved on His back now. There’s sweat dripping from His crown of thorns and it’s gathering on the stone beneath Him. He tries to stand, but His knees tremble. The splintered cross weighs heavy on his back, digging into those bright red stripes.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 ESV
The whip cracks for the twenty-first time.
So that I may have peace? This doesn’t feel like peace.
He places one foot in front of the other and it seems as if it takes everything in Him to do so. The cross drags the ground and it’s sound engrains itself in my mind. I don’t want it to stay there.
I wonder what was going through His mind as He started on that uphill journey. If the things He said were true, then this is such a strange way to overcome the world. His words and His stories -- they were the sweetest thing this earth has ever known. The depth of the love that He embodied… surely it wasn’t all too good to be true? But now here I am, standing frozen, watching the One who was supposed to make all things right, to set the record straight and bring light to the darkness be escorted uphill to the most gruesome death one could imagine?
This isn’t His cross to bear.
His eyes are kind and warm. He has no reason to have any ounce of kindness left in Him yet when I look at His body that is now beaten unrecognizable, all I see is His face radiating love. I am face to face with the perfect picture of mercy, and it dawns on me.
That cross is mine.
For every splinter drilling into His blood stained back is a sin that wears my name. Tears pour from my eyes and I'm overcome by His love. I run up the hill after them, shouting.
Stop, this is a mistake! That’s my cross, this isn’t what’s supposed to happen!
But I’m too late. I fall to my knees at the foot of the cross and with a closer look I see that my name is engraved on the nails being hammered into His precious hands.
But praise God that my name is also written on His heart. It’s even written in His very own handwriting.
His eyes. Full of mercy and warmth and peace. He wrote my name on His heart and never had a second thought about what saving me entailed. He never had a second thought about what saving you entailed. He saw the price to make us His once more and He paid it so willingly.
“And there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this, he breathed his last.” - Luke 23:45-46 ESV
In the darkest hour that the world has ever known, when the sunlight failed to shine, love held Him to that cross for the sake of bringing you home to Him. He chose to wash your sins in His perfect blood to make you white as snow. He chose to take your place, to bear your cross, simply out of love. To overcome the world. To overcome your world.
In the darkness, when all things seemed hopeless, He was the perfect picture of mercy. And His story didn’t end there.
“‘I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” - John 12:46 ESV
Three short days later, promises made became promises kept. He rose again, He overcame the world and He brought my heart back home to Him. And just like He said, He came into the world as a light, and the darkness has no hold on me anymore. The grave is empty now, and that sweet Light shines forever.
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