I need Jesus. So do you. So does that neighbor down the street, the clerk at McDonald’s, and your estranged brother-in-law. We can’t get through our lives without Him. Through His strength, His power, we are made new. Cleansed by the blood He spilled for us on the cross. Romans 3: 23 reminds us that we are all sinners. We all fall short of God’s glory. I am certainly no exception to that. Jesus tells us that we “are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5: 48). As I strive for that perfection, I know it is literally impossible. Nobody is perfect. That is where the cross comes in handy. God’s free gift of grace. Jesus spilled His blood for us this Friday so we could be redeemed. As we prepare our hearts for Easter this weekend, I can’t help but think of a time in my life when I needed Jesus more than ever.
It was four years ago. The worst depression of my life overwhelmed me to the point of submission. I was falling into a black abyss, spiraling down into a dark place I had never been before. No matter how hard I tried, I felt like a failure. As a father. As a husband. As a teacher. As a Christian. As a friend. As a son. As a brother. Nothing was worth living for. Satan had ahold of me, and his grip was firm. His talons dug into my skin, my soul. He whispered sweet nothings in my ear daily, and I believed them. You are worthless. You have no hope in life. Why are you even trying? God was always there to protect me, but Satan’s lies became the truth I believed. I was at my lowest of the low. Rock bottom. Finally, in May of 2012 I found myself recovering at a psychiatric ward.
Spending about a week there, I returned home humbled, confused, and ashamed. I did some soul searching. I knew there had to be something more to life that I was missing out on. All roads I explored led my heart to Calvary. The cross. I found Jesus there. That pain He endured was all for me. For you as well. Let’s stop and reflect on that moment. Nearly 2,000 years ago, on the night He was betrayed, Jesus was torn emotionally and physically. Judas turned Him in to the Roman soldiers. His followers abandoned Him (Matthew 26: 56). One of his beloved disciples, Peter, denied Him three times. And just when His emotions were spilling out in sheer agony, that was when the physical pain began. The scourging. The whipping. He was slapped, mocked, and made to carry His own cross to Calvary. Hanging there, fighting for His every breath, He paid the price for my sins. For yours.
I wept tears of joy when I found Jesus at my lowest moment. Tears well in my eyes right now as I write about it. I didn’t deserve that love. But He gives it out for free! Romans 6: 23 tells us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God’s love was poured out for all at Calvary. Nobody is left out. We all deserve to hear about that love. That is where as Christians we are all called to the same purpose: to witness for Him. To spread the love of His story. To share a bit of hope when all seems lost. So, I ask you, what are you doing about that? Is there someone you know that would benefit from getting to know Him? A neighbor? A colleague? A friend? A family member? If you haven’t thought about someone to invite to Easter services this weekend, pray about it. Act out what God lays on your heart.
There is a lot of power that Christ holds. That power is epitomized in the way He conquered death. The grave could not hold Him. That same power is ours if we choose to live through Him. My life verse could not express that more clearly: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4: 13). Reflect on that one for a minute. That testing season that stresses everyone out? Conquered. The problem kid in your 7th hour class that nobody loves? Loved unconditionally. You see, that power that Christ gives us is sufficient to conquer all our troubles. I wonder who needs to hear that message?
God, as we prepare for Easter weekend, lay on our hearts any lost souls who would benefit from knowing You. Let us be bold witnesses to share the love you spilled out for us on the cross. Let us all be disciples worth multiplying. All for You, Lord. It is in Jesus’ precious name we pray. Amen.
(There are too many songs about the cross that I could put here. One that stands out to me is “Sweetly Broken” by Jeremy Riddle. Listen to it below for a little inspiration to get you ready for Easter).