I watched the Passion of the Christ movie for the first time yesterday. As I watched every strike and blow they made, all I could hear over and over again is “with his stripes we are healed.”
In an age where Christ on the cross is often portrayed in a much cleaned up version, seeing the cross in its true dread (or closer to the true version) gave new meanings to “He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” He was so marred that “we hid as it were our faces from him.” It was hard to see. Jesus was not speaking in metaphors when He said, “This is my body which is given for you.” He did give us all that He had, all that He was. Indeed, the cross was not a pretty thing to behold, and how crazy it must had been back then to proclaim that you believed He was the King.
When we behold Jesus and fix our eyes on Him, it is true that all others grow strangely dim. When I woke up today, all of the things that my soul was lamenting over this week went away. None of it mattered anymore, and I want to take this Easter season to ponder and meditate on Jesus alone. How is it that it’s so easy to focus on petty problems instead of the One who is the Solver of the greatest problem in the universe, sin.
How did Jesus do it?
How could Jesus bear all the pain, suffering, humiliation, and separation from the Father? Where could one find the strength to endure such great afflictions with unwavering faith? He trusted the Father, even when He could not see or feel His presence.
I remember Jesus prayed a most profound prayer in Gethsemane, saying “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” He found His strength in surrendering to His Father. Likewise, the strength of a Christian is directly proportional to his/her surrender. “Nothing is apparently more helpless, yet really more invincible, than the soul that feels its nothingness, and relies wholly on the merits of the Savior. God would send every angel in heaven to the aid of such an one, rather than allow him to be overcome.” Testimonies for the Church, vol 7, p.17.
Consider Jesus on the cross. Consider Him whose essence is love, that He would do such a thing for worms such as fallen, sinful men. This is the God that we surrender our lives and our will to. This God, His character, is a marvelous One to behold … and to belong to.