Today is Good Friday and the weight of that is heavy on my heart. And since I won’t be posting on Easter, I want to share something I wrote several years ago when I was in college. I was trying to think about what Christ did for us today and what happens on Easter.
He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him,
and no beauty that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief ;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Isaiah 53:2-3
This is hard for me to imagine, because to me, Jesus is the most magnificent, the most beautiful. I consider John, in Revelation, who upon seeing Jesus in all His glory on the throne, fell on His face and I know that it would be the same for me, for any of us, that if I could understand the beauty and majesty of Christ fully, I wouldn’t be able to lift my face from the ground. But here in Scripture, and now on Easter, this is Jesus. Nothing about Him was beautiful. In fact, He was so much the opposite of beautiful that people had to look away. Nothing about His appearance was special in a good way. In fact, it was the opposite. Grief was His friend. He was despised–not unliked or unpopular, but despised. Do any of us know what it feels to be despised, really? Yes, Jesus sits on the throne but these words are true of Him too.
Surely He has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed Him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
He was crushed for our iniquities;
upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5
Last night, before I fell asleep, I was thinking about these verses. I was thinking of the last line very literally and I guess, at the same time metaphorically, if that makes any sense. I was imagining myself lying next to Jesus and I am covered in dirt. Every inch of my skin is filthy. And then suddenly, on my wrist, my shoulder, my calf, and then everywhere at once, the dirt is cleared and cleaned. And as the dirt is stripped away, wounds appear on Jesus in the same places where my dirt is coming off. Cuts and scrapes and oozing sores until He is covered in blood even as I am sparkling. This image is not from Scripture but as I was praying, snuggled beneath my quilt, I was trying in my small way to understand what this phrase reallymeans: by His wounds we are healed. I am not my own. I was bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). And it was costly. And precious. And I don’t deserve any of it.
Then, as if this is not enough (when in fact, it is everything), there is more. Because Jesus is on the throne. And I have to say as an aside, I can’t wait for Him to come again on that white horse, with a huge tat on His thigh that reads “Lord of Lords and King of Kings” and that fearsome sword coming out of His mouth (check out Revelation, it’s true). And there is still more, because even before He comes back or I see Him face to face, there is this:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love, He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our tresspasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all thing in Him, things in heaven and on earth. Ephesians 1:3-10
I’ve spent days on these verses before and I am sure people much smarter than I have spent even longer on them. But this Easter, I am choosing to focus on these words: the RICHES of His grace which He LAVISHED upon us. He didn’t just give, He lavished His grace on the undeserving. Can you comprehend that? Can I?
He is risen and grace is lavished upon us! Happy Easter.
These amazing prints from French Press Mornings: