An “assignment” that my counselor gave to me was to separate some special time to get alone and watch The Passion of the Christ. Oh no no no…I do NOT want to do that! I tried to reason with Diana (my counselor) that I have the movie; however, I have never been able to watch it all the way through. It has always been too painful for me to endure. I can’t handle watching the gruesome suffering of such an innocent Man. In the past, I usually have kept myself busy doing other things whenever that movie came on. Watching that movie would bring up gut wrenching feelings that I did not want to experience ANY time soon. I resolved, “Diana, I can’t handle that movie…it’s too much…it’s too sad.” She wouldn’t have any of my excuses; in fact, it seemed as if the more I rejected-the more she was sure that was the right decision. I knew in my heart that I needed to see it so, of course, I agreed.
How did this come up anyway? Well, God, was showing me that I have the tendency to play the victim role. And sure! I have been through a lot of crap in my short life so far…BUT…let’s not forget what I have done to contribute the crazy mess. It’s easier to see how I have been afflicted and to receive condolences for it…RATHER than admitting my need for control, my pride, my unwillingness to forgive, my desire to hold on to bitterness, my fear of being inferior, my fear of being abandoned, and the list goes on. Admitting to these and owning up to them, would require that I furthermore admit that I NEED God’s forgiveness. Of course! I am not an amateur at praying, “Dear Jesus, Please forgive me of my sins, Thank you. Amen.” I never really enjoy delving in to the long list of sins that I have. That, for me, would be TOO depressing. Be sides, surely I’m not THAT bad…that stuff is normal, right? NO! It’s not, even avoiding to acknowledge my sin-is sin in itself! Ok, so maybe if I watch The Passion than something magical will happen inside of me and I’ll be “sorry” for real. What an idot I was!
I waited 1 WHOLE week to watch the movie. I just got off work and realized that I was on spring break, no homework was due that night, Stephen wouldn’t be home for an hour, I didn’t need to put dinner on for a few more hours, and miraculously all of my excuses were gone. It was as if I knew I had a date with God. My original thoughts as I began to watch the movie was, “Man, this looks so much like Hollywood, I mean come on! How does the world in the 21st century believe in a man that died and rose again on the 3rd day…That sounds WAY too much like a fairy tale to me…I mean seriously!” I’m just being honest about the thoughts that popped into my head. Then the first “scene” started…Jesus was in the Garden praying with sweat drops of blood. Satan came to tempt him and Jesus asked His Father that, “this cup be taken from me…nevertheless…not what I want but what You want.” Jesus was so vulnerable…He revealed his humanity. I saw Jesus as more than just a perfect guy that walked around the earth making the rest of us look bad….I saw him as a man who asked to somehow get out of this plan that was going to take place. He foresaw the pain, agony, betrayal, abandonment and death that he and others were going to experience. Who knows the unbelievable spiritual attack Jesus must have been under while praying in that Garden. In the movie, when Jesus is finished praying He has this powerful, focused, unshakable look in his eye as He then crushes the head of a snake that had been slithering around him! Whew! That took my breath away! That symbolized what Jesus was about to accomplish for ME! I saw him as my Warrior, my Protector, the Lover of my soul, and the Savior of the world. My heart actually started beating faster, as if, the Holy Spirit inside me was pleased as well.
Nevertheless...not my will...but thine be done...
The movie began to take a twist as the great suffering began…Via Delorosa. It showed how minuscule people…dust that He created…accused Him, punched Him, spat in His face, choked and chained Him, whipped him front and back, gave him 39 lashes removing flesh from his body, hammered a wreath of thorns into his scalp, forced him to carry a cross through the mocking crowd up to The Place of the Skull, Jesus then laid down his perfect body on the cross, He allowed them to nail stakes into His hands, and more nails into his precious feet. My heart broke... the Man I just envisioned as my Hero was letting the world torture Him. Why Jesus? Why are you letting them do this? Hasn’t it been enough already? I could barely see the TV as my eyes were gushing out tears. I sobbed into my pillow for the rest of the movie. Jesus cried out to God, “My God My God Why have you forsaken, me?” Again, Jesus allowed us to see his humanity…he felt abandoned. I do not believe that God literally turned his back on Jesus…but Jesus certainly experienced that pain. Then Jesus said, “Into your hands I commit my Spirit.”
Why would Jesus do this for me? For FREE! I don’t owe God anything? I deserve Hell and through Jesus I am going to Heaven. My sin was made desperately wicked in my eyes…BUT God’s LOVE for ME was made even greater. I read in Ephesians 2
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. BUT BECAUSE OF HIS GREAT LOVE FOR US, GOD, WHO IS RICH IN MERCY, MADE US ALIVE WITH CHRIST EVEN WHEN WE WERE DEAD IN OUR TRANSGRESSIONS-IT IS BY GRACE YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED THROUGH FAITH…AND THIS NOT OF YOURSELVES, IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD-NOT OF WORKS, SO THAT NO ONE CAN BOAST. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared IN ADVANCE for us to do."
Thank you for walking through this journey with me! This was SO timely for me as I now get to celebrate Easter in such a new light and more initmate way. Hallelujah! Christ is “raised from the dead and seated at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in this present age but also in the one to come.” Eph1