Last night, our small group watched The Passion of the Christ. If you’ve never seen it before, I highly recommend it. It is a visual representation of what Jesus Christ endured when he was sentenced to be crucified, to die on the cross for our sins and “to make all things (us) new.” I originally saw this when it first came out a few years ago and this was the first time I had seen it since. Amazing. Undeserving. Sadness. Joy. All of these thoughts raced through my head as we watched the movie.
As soon as it ended, the mood was very somber. Not a lot was said at first but then as we waited a few minutes the dialogue began about different parts of the movie that left an impact. For me, there was a seen where Mary (Jesus’ mother) was watching Jesus carry the cross. At a particular moment, Jesus fell. Mary had a flashback to a time when Jesus was a child and he fell. She raced over to him to make sure he was ok. Back to real time, Mary raced over to Jesus and said “I’m here.” Jesus responded, “Mother, I make all things new.”
Easter is a time of renewal and new beginnings. We see it in nature. We see it in people when they take the story of Jesus Christ to heart and live it out. For me, this time of year is as impactful as Christmas because it focuses on what Easter is all about…Jesus Christ and what He did for me in my life. As you go through this week, what does Good Friday and Easter mean for you?
Good Friday. What’s “good” about it? I’m sure many have asked why is this called “Good Friday” when the story behind it tells of Jesus Christ being murdered on a cross. It’s a question that I’ve been thinking about over the last couple of years, especially as I’ve grown in my faith.
I take this day more seriously than I did growing up. Not in a somber way, but more in a thankful way. If you think about it (whether or not you believe the recount of the story in the Bible), we were given a second chance at life if we accept the sacrifice God made for us by sending Jesus Christ.
In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Hebrews 9:22 NIV)
What this verse tells us is that the law back in the day required a blood sacrifice for redemption and forgiveness. That’s why you saw many animal sacrifices brought forward as a substitute for the individual at fault. How can this be applied to Good Friday? If you believe that we are all sinners by nature, then at some point we have to be held accountable. God saw this as an opportunity to show His love for us by sending Jesus Christ to be our substitute.
This is why I’m thankful for Good Friday. Thankful for that second chance because I believe this “story” is true. I believe Jesus Christ suffered a brutal death on my behalf so that I can live and share the joy of a Christ-centered life with others who ask me about it. What this also does is help me appreciate and celebrate Easter Sunday and what that means for Christians worldwide. I no longer take Lent, Good Friday and Easter for granted. They now have a special meaning for me. They are a celebration of life and second chances. Happy Easter!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been looking at Lent and what it means to me. Growing up Catholic, it was just the 40 days prior to Easter where we didn’t eat meat on Fridays and gave up something as a “sacrifice”. This year, I’m looking at it differently. You’ve heard me mention Kensington Community Church and some of the cool things they do to really get individuals to think about their own faith and what it means to them. This year, they’ve given us a guide through the 40 days leading up to Easter with each day having a passage to read in the Bible.
This morning I read through the book of Judges (chapters 1 – 5). This book covers a period of about 350 years and recounts the stories of Israel’s heroes, called “Judges”, who played an important role in their history. These Judges were leaders who basically rescued Israel after a fall from grace and renewed their focus on God.
Why is this important? It got me thinking about my own life and responsibilities as a husband and father and how important my role is in my family’s life, especially my kids. I’ll share one statistic with you that I heard at church. The percentage of children and families that have a strong faith is dramatically increased when the father is the spiritual head of the home…90% of the time, the children develop a strong faith of their own when their father leads them. If you ever wondered how important fathers are in a home, there is an example!
This idea is just as important for me. I need to have mentors to guide me and educate me whether it be at work or in my spiritual life. I need people to hold me accountable for my actions and steer me in the right direction. Case in point was my post about my P90X workout. I asked people to hold me accountable because I was starting to lose interest in the workout and before long, people began to encourage me to stick with it and it has definitely helped to keep me motivated.
That is how I’ve been “Rethinking Lent”. What do you think? Are you leading people? Are you being led?