Living a Resurrected Life
I approach the scene where it will all take place. I try to blend in with those around me, afraid I’ll be seen. I’m not here to make a spectacle of the situation. I’m here to mourn.
The crowd gathers around, whispering about this lunatic that’s about to die. They can’t wait to see what crazy thing He does next. But He’s not crazy. I know this because I know Him.
As He approaches, clearly beaten, I think back to when He called me by name. He knew my name. He saw me when I was a nobody and invited me in. He’s nothing like what they say – He’s so much more.
He takes hold of the cross and carries it. The wood drags in the mud — the map to His ultimate suffering and He’s struggling to carry it. It must be heavy. Hundreds of pounds push Him down, each one a literal staggering reminder of who He’s doing this for. Someone is sent to help Him carry it the rest of the way up the hill.
He willingly lays upon the wood, stretching out his arms, knowing and submitting to what’s to come.
The nails are hammered into His hands.
One. Two. Three.
One. Two. Three.
He cries out in pain with each blow. Now, His feet.
One. Two. Three.
One. Two. Three.
I cover my eyes because it’s too painful to watch. I did this.
The cross is lifted up and as tears form in my eyes I see that Your eyes have also lifted up to look at me. Right at me.
I realize I am doomed! I am filthy! I can’t bear to look at You — to see You looking straight at me, seeing me. Me! Unworthy, unclean. I did that to You. But there You are, looking at me with eyes of love and despite the tears blurring my vision I cannot stop staring back. I need those eyes. I need that love.
I can’t bear to look at Him anymore because the more He sees me, the more He sees the darkest parts of me and I can’t … I can’t …I can’t let him go there. Not there. It’s too dark. It’s too messy. I’m too ashamed.
Darkness falls, and He struggles to inhale. The dark clouds are rolling in and a strong breeze follows. He starts to shiver at the cold. These six hours feel like a lifetime, and if I feel like I'm suffering just watching Him, I can't imagine how He must be feeling. I shutter at the thought. He doesn't even look like Himself anymore. Body broken. Scars forming where the whip met his skin. Pain. Pain all over His face. The ground shakes underneath me as His head lowers, eyes closing. Then, for the last time, He breathes out, and His body goes limp. Lifeless.
It is finished.
As He’s carried from the cross to the tomb, I feel dead inside and follow His body into the tomb. I did this. It’s my fault.
My knees buckle, and I crumble to the ground beside His lifeless body. I bring my knees up to my chest, hands shaking, and I can’t keep the tears from pouring out of my tired eyes. Tired of the struggle. Tired of the shame. Tired from the inevitable pull away from righteousness that caused all of this to happen.
The stone rolls its way to cover the tomb and I welcome the darkness. I’ve earned it. I did this to Him.
I think about my wretched sin and shatter to pieces. One by one I try to pick them up, but at each attempt to fix myself, the shards of my brokenness multiply. I can’t do this without Him.
One day has passed and I feel more and more alone. The darkness in the tomb is a reminder of the darkness in my heart. It tells me to stop being hopeful. What I've done is unforgivable. He lost. The darkness has won. Just leave Him behind. It's over.
But I stick around just a little longer. Just one more day. One more day and then I'll let the darkness win. I can't tell what's morning and what's night while I'm sitting in the tomb but I close my eyes and sleep, begging the darkness to leave me alone but it won't go away even as I shut my eyes.
Suddenly, light. My jaw drops as He … You … break through the darkness.
I blink for what seems to be one hundred times, my eyes drying with the assurance that You really are here. Alive!
You look at the pieces of my life shattered on the floor and you make them disappear. You replace me with different pieces. Whole pieces. Stronger and more beautiful than I could have ever imagined and I want to embrace every part of it — every part of You. But then I remember what I’ve done. And I can’t. How can I embrace a love and a life that I am so unworthy of?
I know You’re asking me to embrace it. I can see it in Your eyes. And yet, I start to find the darkness. I’m not worthy of the light. But You’re so bright and I’m drawn to You. The darkness tells me I’ll never be free but Your voice calling me by name is louder, more reassuring, more trustworthy.
I know what You’re about to do. You’re about to leave the darkness forever because it can’t exist while You’re here.
And I’m afraid. I’m afraid You’re calling me to leave with you, too — resurrected.
And when I want to stay in the tomb and hide because I don’t deserve a resurrected life, with the snap of your finger you obliterate the seal barricading death from life, fear from freedom and beckon me with the same hands that were pierced for me. The same hands that created me for more.
You’re persistent. You won’t let me stay here; it’s not where I belong. I start to understand that if I choose to sit on this cold, hard ground and wallow in my sin I would be denying that the same power that conquered sin and death lives in me now. If He can overcome death and sin in the world, He can overcome the grave in me.
My sin has nothing on that kind of power and it makes me strong. Confident. Motivated.
I take a deep breath, the kind you can feel from head to toe, and in that receive the very breath of God — bringing dead bones back to life. With one foot in front of the other, I reach out and take hold of the hand that reaches down from heaven to me and I walk into who I really am, who I was made to be.
I squint looking into the sunlight but don’t look back. It really is finished.
The tomb is empty.
Now, my life is full.