What I have done.
This is Day 32 of my 40 day Lenten Blog.
We all want Jesus to help us, to save us. I don't know how many times I have prayed "Jesus I've gotten myself into a bind. Please get me out of it." However, before I ask Jesus to do something for me, I should admit what I did to Him. This is not a pleasant conversation. It is my sins that caused His Passion. The lashes He received during the scourging were because of me just as much as if I'd whipped Him myself. The nails driven into His hands and feet were my fault, too. Every time I sin I am choosing to whip Him again and again. I am choosing to mock Him and to force a crown of thorns down onto His head to rip into His scalp.
There are many Christians in this world who prefer not to think about Christ's suffering. They prefer the Jesus of inspirational quotes. But Jesus is not a feel good, self improvement guru. He is the God of creation who became flesh and sacrificed Himself in our place. Yes, He brings hope to a broken world, but that hope only comes after great suffering.
To understand Jesus, to truly love Jesus, we must understand what He did for us. And we must understand what we do to Him every time we sin. We cannot ignore the cross, we must focus on it. The road to Calvary leads to our salvation. Yes, the most important event for Christians is the resurrection, but we cannot get to the resurrection without going through the cross.
Holy Week is next week and I'm going to recommend meditating on the sorrowful mysteries (the Agony in the Garden, the Scourging at the Pillar, the Crowning with Thorns, Carrying the Cross, and the Crucifixion) as well as praying the Stations of the Cross. These will help put you in the right state of mind as we come to Good Friday. It is only when we weep for our wickedness on Good Friday, that we can truly appreciate the Good News that arrives on Easter Sunday.
Lord Jesus, please forgive me for what I have done. Forgive me for scourging You, for pressing the crown of thorns onto Your precious head, for forcing You to carry the cross I deserved to bear up to Calvary. Most of all forgive me for nailing You to the cross and hanging You up to die. I do not deserve Your mercy, Lord, but I throw myself at Your feet and beg for it, while weeping over my many sins. For You are the God of love and mercy. Have mercy on me now, and forgive me for what I have done. Amen.
R.C. VanLandingham is the author of the Christian fantasy novel Peter Puckett & The Amulet of Eternity. He lives in Florida with his beautiful wife and three wonderful boys.