It’s Holy Week–we remember what the creeds tell us, that “He suffered under Pontius Pilate; He was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended into hell; He rose again on the third day.” The One who came incarnate was broken and bloodied, suffered the wrath of God, and rose again that we might rise with Him. This is the gospel that we believe.
Now, this has a strange resonance with me, especially the Tuesday before Easter, because three years ago around this time, I hit bottom in a big way, mainly because of my failure to believe the gospel. (If you haven’t been reading long, you can read my immediate thoughts on this particular incident here.) At the time it felt scary and dark as hell*, but looking back on it, I think it was one of the best things that could’ve happened to me.
See, I kept looking for grace by trying to earn it. I wore my own righteousness like a badge, not even realizing that it was just a pile of rags. In that moment, when I finally let myself realize that, God reached down and stripped it away from me, only to dress me in Himself. And if that isn’t the gospel, I don’t know what is.
I remember thinking, right before I started freaking out, “I will not die, but live…” I looked it up later and I found out the rest of the sentence: “…and declare the works of the Lord.” And how can I not? How can you not?Remember, brothers and sisters, that Jesus’ death has become our life, His resurrection is our own, and He lavishes the riches of His grace on us. If you don’t believe that, I hope and pray that He’d open your eyes to see it–to see Him, I should say. Let the good news be your hope and joy this week.
“O cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee!
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be!”
–George Matheson, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go”
(*With C.S. Lewis, I say that this isn’t frivolous swearing–I mean, really, that it felt like hell.)