Monday, April 25, 2011
Easter Devotional 2011
And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do you answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You? But Jesus kept silent.
Matthew 26:62-63 NKJV
You had balled your hands tightly into fists, your knuckles white and your veins bulging out from your wrists. Your arms, stiff and tight, hung out from your raised shoulders. A firm line formed at your mouth, as silent and intense as your fixed gaze. You were dying and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I could have run to you, shaken your shoulders, and screamed into your ear, “I’m not worth this!” But it wouldn’t have stopped you. You would have brushed me off without turning your eyes.
It didn’t matter what they did to you. They could rip you, bruise you, taunt you, or strike you. Nothing would make you turn your face away from them. Nothing would make you cry out in pain because you didn’t want to be remembered as a victim. No one could make you choose your life over mine.
I watched you from a distance, wishing I could bury my head in your feet, wanting to lash out at them, needing to stop you from doing this. I wouldn’t have died for you. You shouldn’t have died for me. Your life for mine is such an unfair trade that you should have known better. Maybe you did. With your last breaths you showed love to your mother and forgiveness to your tormentors, while I wept knowing the death should have been mine. The determination in your eyes slipped away to the empty afterglow of life. Then the cross was also empty and I was alone, and the injustice of it all sank in. You died. I lived.
This Easter, when I look up at the empty cross, I will not think about your suffering. You held back your agonized cries on purpose, unwilling to torment me with your pain. I will not remember your wounds. Instead, I will meditate on bravery, on the courage it took to die in silence and peace.
Father, someday I will die. When I do, I pray it is bravely, with my gaze fixed on your face.