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Truly, What Love Is This?

What Love is This?

I sit this morning alone, watching as the sun crests the peak of my home. It is quiet, with a waterfall in the background and nature sounds playing their melody…I ponder the gravity of this season. It is once again Easter.

I am reminded of the week’s beginning. The triumphal entry of Jesus, in humility seated upon a donkey, as He arrives at the city of Jerusalem. He was greeted as the conqueror; expectations were high among those who lined the streets and placed palm fronds before Him as a gesture of their delight at His arrival.

The same people celebrating His arrival, within a few days, were absent from His side as they became confused, some disillusioned, others even angry. They turned their backs upon this man whom they thought would free them from bondage to the Roman Empire. They were seeking a conqueror of governments; yet He walked this earth to conquer a much greater need, sin and death.

The week progressed with Him walking alongside His friends, His constant companions during the previous three years. He knew that one would betray Him, another would deny Him, and only a few would be at the foot of His cross in the moments when agony was at it’s highest. As they celebrated Passover together, sharing what would be their last meal, He spoke of the time to come. Yet they knew not what that meant. Gazing upon His betrayer as the meal ended, He sent him to do what had to be done.

A short while later, in the Garden of Gethsemane, the tears rolled down the face of this conqueror. Praying, because He knew what was to come. That heartbroken, yet obedient cry was heard, “Father, if you are willing please, take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet, I want your will to be done, not mine” (Luke 22:42). Three times He repeated this prayer with no answer but to continue on the path that the Son of God was sent to walk.

…one would betray Him, another would deny Him, and only a few would be at the foot of His cross in the moments when agony was at it’s highest.

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Pulling up from His bowed position He walked to where His sleeping companions waited. He awakened them only to be confronted by those who were sent to end the impact of this humble carpenter from Nazareth. The religious rulers of the day were threatened by Him and sent the temple guards to capture Him, bringing Him before their leadership.

He was offered a kiss of betrayal then taken by force to the Pharisees, the very ones who claimed to be followers of His Father. They proclaimed themselves to be righteous while they pompously, obstinately held onto their positions of authority over men without humbly serving the God they claimed as their own.

Facing Caiaphas, the High Priest, He was spit upon, ridiculed, and looked at with haughtiness and disdain. In order to complete the task they set out to do, they had no choice but to send this man to the Roman government officials, the very government from which they wanted freedom. They used the authorities they despised to rid themselves of someone they hated even more.

When Pilate could find no appropriate charges against the man, the cries became louder. The Jewish elite wanted no conclusion but to be done with this man. Following the custom of the Passover season, Pilate asked the people which prisoner they wanted set free. They chose a known criminal instead of Jesus, yelling, “Crucify Him!”

Beaten and mocked by Roman soldiers, He was then led to the cross for one final, physical act. Jesus, the only One who was both fully God and fully man could complete this mission. In doing so, he took every sin from every person who ever has or will believe in Him upon his shoulders. The weight of which is beyond comprehension.

His Father, the perfect God of the universe, could not look upon the sin His Son carried. As the truest of Fathers, I’m sure His heart was breaking as He had to turn His back upon Him, closing the doors of heaven for the last breath of His Son.

The final price was paid—the final words were spoken by this conqueror, “It is finished” (John 19:30).

Those who followed Him took His battered body from the cross in secret, attending to Him and then carrying Him to a tomb to be buried. A stone was rolled in place at the entry and soldiers of the Roman Empire were set to guard this tomb to make sure this was indeed the end. Yet it was not.

The final words were spoken by this conqueror, “It is finished.”

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On the third day, two ladies He loved, Mary and Martha, approached the tomb. Their grief, in every step they took, was replaced by dismay and confusion. Peering ahead, they saw that the stone was rolled away and the grave was empty. He was gone.

He had conquered sin; He had conquered death! He had defeated the grave so that those who followed Him could as well. Over the next month, as He walked this Earth, their sorrow was turned to joy and their defeat into triumph as they learned He was alive. He had paid the ultimate price and made the complete sacrifice to provide the bridge between God and man.

His death and suffering was for all. He died for those who greeted Him as their conqueror, only to turn their backs. He died for those who walked by His side, even though only a few followed him to the very end. He died for the one who betrayed Him, and for the one who denied Him.

He died for the religious leaders, whose only focus was to bring about His death to retain their power. He died for the government leaders who believed His death was in their hands. He died for the soldiers, those who drove the nails through His outstretched arms, who ridiculed Him in His dying moments. He died for the secret followers who were more concerned with the opinion of man than God.

He died for me.

He had defeated the grave so that those who followed Him could as well.

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As I sit and ponder this truth, I realize the price that was paid. The ultimate victory was clenched from the hands of those who intended destruction, and I am tearfully and humbly thankful. It is beyond my understanding that the One who was perfect—the God of the universe, would love each of us so profoundly, so purposefully to have given his all for us. To have given His all for me.

Truly, what love is this?

You’ll also enjoy our podcast episode about Easter: Hope: What Easter is Really All About – 033


Read more about this incredible gift in Beginning Faith: Walking This Life With Grit, Grace and God. You may also like Can God Use Messy People? (Video), You Are Loved More Than You KnowChutes and Ladders—Are You Trying To Work Your Way to God?Accepting a Pardonand How To Read Your Bible: For Beginners.
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Darlene, President of The Grit and Grace Project, is crazy enough to jump in the deep end then realize she may not have a clue where she’s landed. She has spent her adult life juggling careers in the music business, been an author, a video producer, and also cared for her family ... some days drowning, other days believing she’s capable of synchronized swimming.

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