Thirty-Seven

Mark 15: 46

Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb which had been cut out in the rock; and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.

In the attitude of seeking the Lord and reaffirming my devotion to Him, I have been thinking of Easter differently. As we near the Easter celebration I am pondering my life on this side of the grave but with a view from the other side. Here is what I mean by that.

Imagine yourself standing before the tomb in which Jesus would later be laid. Perhaps you are one of his disciples and you know what is about to occur. See yourself standing there, looking at Jesus’ burial chamber knowing his dead body will soon lie there. What emotions rise up in you? What does devotion and seeking him mean from that side of the grave when you have the knowledge of what will occur? In other words, what would the idea of devotion and dedication mean to you if I could, right this moment, transport you to the tomb which received Jesus while at the same time translate you to mere days before his crucifixion? If I could send you back with all your present knowledge, to stand before Jesus’ grave, what would that feel like?

I am asking myself if my devotion to him would be changed in an instant. Would I burst into tears knowing about the cross or would I shout praises thinking of his resurrection? Perhaps I would run through the town desperately seeking him. I sorta think my reaction would be the latter. I think I would be frantic to find him. Now here is the question I am asking myself as I face the cross, “Why am I not seeking him as desperately right now?” Easter is 37 days away, by my reckoning. The cross and the tomb loom before me. The truth of his resurrection burns in my bones. I am faced with his coming torture, death, burial and eventual victorious resurrection. It is fresh and new, not 2000 years old. I am facing that reality now. Why don’t I shout, sing, cry, pray or praise? Why am I not moved to great acts of seeking him?

This is one devotional where I will ask you not to imitate me. Be more devout in your search for his heart. Chase him down in the streets and demand his attention. Go with him, following every step he takes. Listen to every word he speaks and cherish each one as a precious pearl.

Thirty-seven days. On this side of history, we know what the next thirty-seven days would mean in the life of Christ. I guess the question is, what do those thirty-seven days mean to our lives?

From Christmas to the Cross

Romans 12: 10        (Amplified)

Love one another with brotherly affections [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another.

This is a tall order to fill. Nonetheless, God would not have given us this directive if He had not also empowered us to do it. This, being the season of ultimate love, it is worthwhile to look at love from the author of love, our own dear Father. Even as we celebrate the birth of Christ, our sight drifts forward to the sure knowledge of Calvary. While the angels sang and the shepherds rejoiced in pure delight for the arrival of the Messiah, God in heaven knew the destiny of the babe, though men did not know. They did not realize that the Messiah would save all by sacrificing himself. Men thought of a conquering Lord of war. Little did they know that Jesus would overcome by his stripes and it was his deep and abiding love for you and me that gave him the strength to receive those stripes. It was love that brought him into the earth and it was love that put him on that cross. And it is love that will carry us all home.

He now lives inside of us. Because of that, his love also lives inside of us. We are able to love in a holy, self-sacrificial way because love has come and made its abode with us. Because He first loved, we love. And not because anyone deserves our love. Many do not deserve yours or God’s love, but He showed us how to love even when we were undeserving and unworthy. Now by his grace and because of His love and mercy, we love others, even the unlovely; those who are difficult to love. He loves them so we allow His love to work through us. Because He first loved a people; a person, who was unworthy of love and even unwilling to be loved, we allow him to express himself through us. During this season, His love is more touchable than ever. Let your heart be soft allowing him to fill you to overflowing with His goodness and love. Then pass it on. In his name.