Our biggest sale! 50% off your PLUS subscription. Use code SUMMER

Embracing the Grief of the Cross - iBelieve Truth - April 15, 2024

ibelieve truth banner

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17 ESV

In this post-Easter reflection season, I’m struck by how much emphasis we place on our Easter Sunday celebrations, with festivities revolving around family, marked by expressions of joy in the Christian faith. Yes, this is a joyful occasion, but how often do we truly internalize the significance of what transpired on Good Friday? 

During my near-death experience with COVID, confined to a hospital bed for days, I had the opportunity to contemplate the enormity of grief and its impact on each of us. I was reminded of the sorrow I felt at my own father’s passing, but also reflected more deeply on Jesus’ sacrificial death for us all. I came to have a much greater emotional resonance with the incomparable suffering he endured on our behalf, which brought tears to my eyes. I realized this was the response we should have if we truly love him, and there are far too many people who can no longer cry for Jesus. How many of us merely scratch the surface of religion, holding Jesus at arm’s length? 

Are we just going through the motions without truly understanding or embracing the emotional depth of our faith?  The Gospel calls us to a deeper engagement—a heartfelt response to the grace and mercy extended to us through Jesus' sacrifice. It compels us to weep for Jesus, to grieve the weight of our sins, and to fully comprehend the magnitude of His love in a reverent and worshipful way—devoting every aspect of our lives to Him. Ecclesiastes 12:13 reminds us of the ultimate purpose of our existence:  

"Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind."  

As Christians, we grapple with the weight of our sins, the purpose of our lives, and the struggles with our attention on this side of heaven. Yet, even amid these burdens, we are offered more in the invitation to "weep for Jesus," recognizing His love for us and the depths of His willing suffering for us through the enormity of His sacrifice on the cross.

Imagine witnessing the suffering and death of a loved one, such as a father. The emotional reaction to such an experience is raw and visceral, breaking our hearts and stripping away any semblance of detachment or intellectualization.  Do you love Jesus enough to cry for him, understanding his willingness to die so that you and all humanity could be saved?  Do you really grasp how much he loves us and the depths to which he went to provide the only way for us to be with him forever?

Scripture reminds us in Isaiah 53:4-5: “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”

Ultimately, the significance of the cross extends far beyond the confines of a single day or season — it encompasses the entirety of our existence. It compels us to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, embracing both the pain of His suffering and the triumph of the empty tomb in our daily lives. Through our tears and rejoicing, seeking Jesus with all our hearts, may we bear witness to the enduring power of Christ's resurrection in a way that transforms us from nominal Christianity to true surrender. This leads you to life and joy in Christ while on earth.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17 ESV

Our journey of faith is to be so much more than going to church and recognizing holiday traditions; it demands a genuine emotional response to the profound grace bestowed upon us. As we wrestle with the lifelong question, "Is this all there is?" let us not settle for superficial religiosity; that is pharisaical — righteous-appearing on the outside and dead on the inside. Instead, let us embrace the grief of sin, weeping for Jesus in recognition of His profound sacrifice and unwavering love.  

Let's pray: Father, help us not settle for checking the boxes, for a surface-level notion of you that never compels us to repent of our sins and love others deeply. May we ponder and respond to the greatness of your sacrifice and love. Amen.

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/RomoloTavani

Bob Burckle is the President of EEM, which has been delivering God’s Word to the people of Eastern Europe since 1961, now reaching 32 countries in 25 languages. In 2023, EEM provided nearly 2 million Bibles and other biblical materials in multiple languages throughout the region. Learn how you can help at eem.org.

Related Resource: Spring Clean Your Life: 10 Simple Tips for a Joyful Home & Work Life

Are you a Christian mom trying to juggle work and home? You're not alone! I'm Rebekah Scott, host of The Encourager Podcast, where I share insights gained from 15+ years of balancing family and running a business. My aim is to help you find harmony inall your important roles. Join me as we explore ways to create systems for success at home and work while keeping it real!

In this episode, we're simplifying spring cleaning with two easy tips for each of our five systems: Me, Food, Family, Work and Home. Join us as we explore practical ways to bring joy and simplicity into your home and work life! And if you love what you hear, be sure to subscribe on Apple or Spotify so you never miss an episode! 

Originally published Monday, 15 April 2024.