Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull. John 19:17
The suffering of Jesus began before his crucifixion. He lived with the knowledge that death was coming. He always knew his purpose and functioned under the weight of it. That any laughter marked his life was a miracle! As I think about this, I realize that God is kind to me, not letting me know what tomorrow holds.
Jesus was made to carry his own cross through the streets. His shoulders, which were torn and bleeding from the scourging he’d just received, bore the weight of this heavy cross. Can I begin to imagine how painful every step was? No.
If we saw our dearest family member extracted from our home and beaten out on the street by a gang of thugs, we would be traumatized for a long time. Seeing one member take the wrath for our entire family would bring a mixture of reactions. Anger. Grief. And then guilt that we were spared while our loved one suffered.
Is it any wonder that many of us don’t like to think about Jesus’ death too much? It’s macabre material to begin with, and to know that he was innocent and did it willingly, just for each of us, makes us cringe. How do we properly receive such a costly gift? Not feeling worthy, we can shut down emotionally and just say our token ‘thank-you’ during Communion. We miss out. As we foster an intimate relationship with Jesus, we no longer look at his crucifixion forensically. We are emotionally involved because we are connected to him. As each nuance of his death overwhelms us, we reach out to embrace it. It takes courage but there are two wonderful outcomes: humility and gratitude.
Jesus I will enter into your pain. Help me fully receive the gift of your sacrifice. Amen