If I am created in the image of God, and if my good thoughts and deeds are just a sliver of the goodness that is God, then I may begin to understand the words of the Hebrew author — most likely the apostle Paul — in chapter 12 of the book of Hebrews. Jesus, for the joy set before him, endured the cross. And I wonder if Jesus would prefer that I not dwell on the sacrifice, but instead remember his joy.
And the joy set before him was me.
When we begin to meditate about the events before Easter Sunday, it is easy to focus on the suffering of the Savior. It recognizes the tremendous suffering that Jesus endured so many years ago on one of mankind’s most cruel forms of punishment. It eases our guilt because we realize He did not deserve it, we did. And in some ways, we feel that if we acknowledge it to Him we have “done our duty.”
It isn’t bad to remember the suffering of Christ, just don’t miss the real reason that we consider them. It isn’t to make Him feel better. It isn’t to make us feel less guilty. We consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that we will not grow weary and lose heart. We think about His suffering so that we will persevere when we are trying to live like Him in a sinful world.
About 2,000 years ago, a handful of women got up at the crack of dawn to pay respects to a loved one who had died. They went to his tomb to lay spices around the body, to arrange flowers outside the grave. Eyes clouded with tears, they wanted to remember the good times shared, but instead were trapped in the emptiness — and loneliness — of the future. Death had once again stared man in the face and smugly winked at its victory.