Holy Week is typically a very emotional one for me. I am a little melancholic and depressed. I have a feeling of sadness that just follows me around.
I know that the season is supposed to be about joy and it will be. On Sunday. Sunday is when I feel an exuberance that truly is like a new beginning. Sunday is when I am reminded that I have been resurrected again through Jesus.
Since becoming a Christian nine years ago, I have learned so much in a rather short amount of time. However, there is still just so much that has yet to sink in. I’ve also learned, through experience, that in our walk with God, the learning is excruciatingly slow. You can’t hurry love, babe.
Sometimes I find that I need to just sit and marinate in it for a while because that’s all my little pea brain can fathom. I am slow to digest. I need time to process, time to think, time to apply.
Last year I purchased a wonderful teaching tool and tradition for our family called “Resurrection Eggs”. It’s simply a dozen plastic eggs in which we open one egg daily the twelve days before Easter. Inside each egg is a small symbol of the Easter story. A Bible verse is included with each symbol and a short (one to two paragraphs) story is told in kid-friendly language.
My friend Marcy told me a while ago that the best way for a new Christian adult to learn about the Bible was to pick up Bibles meant for children and read through them. It’s simplified and easy, purposely written to be understood by children. I was a baby in my faith and at the time, I did just that – I learned the basic Bible stories through children’s versions.
I have since moved on to the “real” Bible and read scriptures often; however, sometimes I find that I may not be seeing the forest for the trees. I am not at all suggesting the Bible is unreadable because the more I read it, the more I realize how actually very applicable it is to our world now. I will politely and with love disagree with those who suggest it is merely a textbook and not meaningful to our current society because in all truth, everyone who has ever suggested this to me typically answers a quick “no” when I ask if they have ever spent time studying the Bible. But I’m sorry. I digress.
The first egg contained a small donkey to symbolize the donkey that Jesus rode in on amidst palm fronds and cheers of “Hosanna.” Susannah became deeply interested in Palm Sunday after learning this and decided to worship with us this past Sunday. She was mesmerized.
Her innocent, little girl voice said, “Mommy, people really DO love Jesus, don’t they?” as if I was just blowing smoke and Jesus might have been another one of mom’s crazy ideas.
Yesterday, Sawyer opened the egg that contained the leather whip to symbolize the government officials who beat Jesus. They drew blood. They tortured him. They inflicted pain beyond belief on a man that was guilty of nothing.
Sawyer, being a boy about to turn three, is simply fascinated about the fact that Jesus got a spanking and “he didn’t even do anything.” Susannah was horrified.
Today we opened the crown of thorns.
A lightbulb went off for me, friends.
We read that the same government officials who beat Jesus with a whip also fashioned a crown of thorns to mock the fact that people thought of Him as “the king” and pushed it hard on his head. He bled yet again.
I would also like to add that I have not yet been able to watch “The Passion of the Christ.” I want to. I’m just a little scared of it.
I think it might be time.
I had no idea that this is why Jesus wore that crown of thorns in all of those crucifiction pictures I had seen.
Can I admit to something else? The kid-friendly language of the Resurrection Eggs stated “We know that because Jesus was the son of God, He could have stopped the men from hurting Him. But He let them continue. Do you know why? Because even though He hadn’t done anything wrong – He had not sinned – Jesus was taking the punishment for all the wrong things that any person had ever done or ever would do. This includes you and me.”
In the Old Testament, one had to sacrifice an animal to repent for their sins. The price for sin was bloodshed.
I thought because Jesus shed his blood, this was the reason why they say He died for us. His blood was shed and we were cleansed.
But to write in the very simple text that “he took the punishment for all the wrong things anyone would ever do” made me understand this sacrifice on such a deeper level.
He really did take the fall. It’s like me taking the blame for a thief who stole goods from the grocery store or taking responsibility for a murder I didn’t commit.
Yet it wasn’t to Him. It was very real.
May the crown of thorns grace our heads this week as we feel His pain, His fear, His sadness.
Then may we take it off on Sunday to realize how light our heads feel, how free we are.
Blessings to you this week, friends.