Gratitude Day 613
Luke 23:46 – Then Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Father, I surrender my Spirit into your hands.” And he took his last breath and died.
It had been an exhausting 24+ hours for Jesus. The Passover meal. Praying in the garden. The betrayal and arrest. Not just one trial, but two. The first before the religious leaders. The second before the government official, Pontius Pilate. Herod happened to be in town, so a quick visit to see him, which was basically a disaster. Beating and whipping and a crown of thorns placed on his head. Back to Pilate whose wife uncharacteristically got involved and highly advised her husband to wash his hands of the whole deal. Well, he did wash his hands, but only after he sentenced Jesus to die. On a cross. Via the ugliest possible way at the time.
Then, there’s the trek to Golgotha. A man is recruited to help carry the cross. Nailed to the wood, his body is erected between two thieves. One has the courage to talk to You. The other? Too embarrassed.
The only named disciple at the base of the cross is John, who is there is Your mother. You care for her, the woman who bore you, as one of your last acts on earth. And you prayed. Several times. For the people who were involved in your execution. For Yourself, wondering if Your Father has left you. And finally, You give up Your spirit.
Why? Why did You do this?
For me. For you. For all of humanity.
How does it all work? In two words: substitutionary atonement. I know. It’s complicated. Here’s the deal. Either we believe Jesus did this for humanity or we will stumble through these stories even more than we already do. Seriously. It’s difficult to fully understand, accept and value. Either we believe or we struggle. This is my best short answer.
But let’s go back to the bigger question: why. Why? Unconditional love. A love so deep and wide and broad and encompassing that we can’t even really understand. A love that supersedes everything else in and out of this world.
Even if we aren’t sure we are fully loveable, God does. Even if we don’t deserve it, it doesn’t matter. It’s the most profound example and model of love EVER. Yep, EVER. It’s humbling, difficult and impossible to really understand.
So rather than trying to fully understand, simply choose to accept this love. This greatest gift you’ll ever, ever, ever be given. Let it be enough. Let it be all. Let this be the message you see hanging on the cross today.
A love that ended in a breath. But a breath that was not the last word.
For God’s deep and unconditional love that went all the way to death on a cross, I am grateful.
Almighty Lord – Why? Only You can fully answer. How? Outside of my pay grade. Because? Of Your deep love for me. Please just help me feel and experience some of Your love for me today. Amen.
Stop by diannedeatonvielhuber on Instagram today for a few more thoughts about today’s Lenten topic.
If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.