This Week, Weep Over the Cross
It may seem cliché to start this way, but I must confess something: I am not an emotional person. My wife frequently shares with friends that she can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve shed tears in front of her. Jokingly, I always defend myself by saying, “I promise, I do have a heart!” I suspect that there are others in the congregation that are bent in this direction as well. Although we may feel things, and feel them deeply, emotions often get bottled up inside until it fades away like the morning fog. But this week, regardless of if or how well you express emotion, I urge you to weep over the tragedy of the cross.
Before we can celebrate the glorious day of Easter, we must first come to terms with the gory reality of the Friday before. On that day, Jesus was mocked with a crown of thorns and hung by his hands and feet at Golgotha. The man that taught his disciples the way to life, was now being spat on, and cursed at, and rejected by the people that he came to save. The long awaited Messiah that was prophesied of for generations was now being sentenced against Barabbas, a murderer, only to hear the cries of his very people screaming out, “away with [Jesus], and release to us Barabbas,” while they chanted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
As I sit and marvel at the gospel accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion, at the wickedness of the men, and the horrific actions of that day, I can’t help but think that it is the most clear example of man’s blatant denial and disregard of the authority of Jesus the king. No other act in history more accurately demonstrates the depths of the depravity of men. No other moment in history more precisely shows the wickedness inside our very hearts. No other event in history more accurately portrays what man does to God when they disregard his word to pursue the fleeting pleasures of this world. It is in light of this last statement that we must view ourselves as a part of the crowd, chanting with them, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” The fact is, we have rejected Him time and time again. We have mocked him in our language and actions. We have chosen sin over righteousness. We have placed him on the cross to be killed.
This is why I weep. Because Christ died with me in mind. On the cross of Calvary, marred and bloody, he chose to lay his life down that he would take it up again. He chose to bear the wrath of God so that he could intercede on my behalf. He did all of this, so that on Sunday morning I could rejoice in the hope of salvation instead of weep in lament of the atrocities that I committed three days earlier. It is only in light of the tragedy of the cross that I can rejoice at all.
Like me, brothers and sisters, I implore you to take time to weep over the cross of Christ this week. I encourage you to look deeply at the death that he died this upcoming Friday, and to see your sin for what it is. Then, lift your drooping heads and your weak knees and come running to the risen Jesus on Sunday morning, because he welcomes you with arms open wide, full of mercy and grace.
In love and Christ,
Pastor Ryan Aufenkamp
EBC Youth and Worship Pastor