Monday, April 1, 2013

The Ultimate Price: Have I Been Worth It?

In the midst of Easter Parades, Easter Egg Hunts, Easter Bunnies and Easter Eggs, amidst the abundance of pink and yellow ribbons overflowing the shelves in the supermarkets, we might be reminded of the meaning of Easter through days with names like Passover Thursday, Atoning Friday and Resurrection Sunday, that Easter had a beginning and that beginning is about making the choices in deed, and in courage, and in faith; choices that must be made to be true to who we are and what we believe, in response to the charge given us with the atonement.

Jesus Christ paid the price for our every wrong, that as we repent we may be freed from our sins or payment would reach into the eternities. Through the atonement we were given the possibility to repent, to receive forgiveness, and go on, without having to carry the heavy burden of every wrong we ever did.

Because our Saviour, Jesus Christ atoned for us, suffered and paid the full price for our every wrong, we can actually receive forgiveness from God. As we realise our wrongs, do not repeat them, and to the extent that this might be possible, do our best to correct our wrongs; we may if receive His forgiveness and once again find peace in our hearts.

This payment for our sins didn't happen because it was easy or convenient but because of His love for us. While it would be impossible to fully understand how Our Saviour Jesus Christ atoned for our sins, it may help us trying to imagine how difficult this might have been, even for the Son of God. As we remember the words of Jesus, when in Gethsemane: "... Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done... And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." (Luke 22:42, 44)

I imagine that in this dark and sad moment of history, God would desperately want to reach out and lift the pain, to stop everything. Yet, it went on and in preparation for the crucifixion Jesus was beaten, whipped, mocked, rejected, humiliated and treated as a criminal; all while His and our Heavenly Father must have cried heavy tears.

"And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him," (Luke 23:33) our Heavenly Father, Father of Jesus Christ must have trembled to His very core, with tears flooding His eyes, hearing Jesus lovingly, in a Spirit of kind forgiveness praying and pleading for His assailants:  "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."(Luke 23:34)

Still, amidst a constant flow of mockery, the crucifixion continued in what must have been an abundance of tears and empathy from those who loved Him.

What must have been hours later, drained, fatigued and thirsty, as pain and feelings of abandonment would seem overwhelming in what must have been the most lonely hour of His life, Jesus, overcome with agony of the whole experience cried out in a loud voice of ultimate loneliness: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34)

Hearing such a plea, our Heavenly Father certainly would want to reach out and spare His only begotten son from such suffering. As the literal Father of Jesus Christ, He must have wanted to respond in ways I can't begin to imagine. Even with God's perfect knowledge and understanding of what had to happen, He must have have agonised as His son was beaten, whipped and crucified, and finally left to die while hanging on the cross. The Heavens must have grieved and cried that day, to see the Son of God suffer such misery!

Jesus had walked the earth, shared His teachings and dealt with people's doubts, hypocrisy, lies and mockery, all while they conspired against Jesus the Christ to ultimately crucify Him. He had preformed miracles, helped where He could and in return suffered the full extent of evil in the world. Jesus Christ was subjected to a process of blind injustice, suffering every measure of trials, agony and difficulty that we might ever face in a lifetime, only to finally suffer a crucifixion with common criminals. He had truly earned the right to finally say "It is finished." John 19:30 and "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." A long and hard road had finally and mercifully come to an end, and He gave up His Spirit.

Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ both suffered this, all of this, out of love for us that we may be allowed repentance. And, as we truly repent of our wrongs, we may be allowed redemption, to once again find peace in our hearts and sin no more. He walked this long and hard road alone, that we don't have to, and after reviewing some small understanding of what my Saviour did for me, I can't help but ask myself: Have I been worth it, will the sum of my life and what I have done with what I've been given, all be worth His great sacrifice or have I rejected it all with my many shortcomings?

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