“Mama, what does ‘the ninth hour’ mean?”
My daughter is good at throwing random questions at me, out of nowhere, when I am driving.
“You mean when Jesus died?” She nodded. So, I explained how he hung on the cross for three hours, from the sixth hour to the ninth hour (which is three in the afternoon). How he suffered, having already endured countless hours of torture, being beaten beyond recognition (Isaiah 53:5). I described the cat of nine tails, the whip with stones embedded in the tips so the flesh tore away as the whip gripped and pulled back. Agony. Blood.
So much blood.
The water that poured from his heart when he was pierced, because he had been in agony.
We talked about the sacrifices in the temple, how for centuries all the world looked forward, hoping and praying for the Messiah as they sacrificed one spotless, perfect animal after another. How the blood must have run in rivers from the temple. How the sacrifices had to be made every single year because and animal cannot forever satisfy the holy requirements of justice.
Behold, the Lamb.
And I looked at my daughter, this one who is peeling yet another layer back on her childhood faith. She wrestles and asks the hard questions and I do my best to answer, all the while praying to create wonder in her heart for this Savior who has literally crossed oceans and continents to accomplish his perfect will in her life. She loves him, has since she was seven years old, since the day she wept and said, “He wouldn’t get down off that cross,” surrendering her little heart to him even before she understood the ramifications of her decision.
She just knew Jesus loved her and had refused to quit. He did what he had to do for her and she loved him back because of it.
And isn’t that the crux of it all?
He intentionally made faith simple. We are the ones who make it hard, who think adding anything to the finished work of Christ could possibly be a good idea.
I looked at my daughter, tears filling my eyes, and spoke through the lump in my throat..
“When you realize what he went through, doesn’t it change everything about how you see Easter?” She was quiet for a long moment, then nodded again, turning over the mental images of her suffering savior in her mind.
Easter is about so much more than bunnies and eggs. It’s about a real God who really came down and took on flesh, and really did the unthinkable: dying for a crooked and lost people…whom He happened to adore.
He loves us, friends. He loves us, not because we are good…
but because HE is good.
Good Friday is good, because his death meant we live, no longer burdened by the weight of sin.
Easter is bright and joyful because He conquered death and rose from the grave…ensuring you and I will also rise again and live with him forever!
It doesn’t make sense. We had done nothing to deserve his love, much less his suffering on our behalf. Yet suffer, he did, beyond anything we can imagine. Even while we were lost and running from him in rebellion.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:6-8
What better time than today to give your life to Jesus? Can you imagine a more perfect celebration of his resurrection than recognizing your need for a savior and surrendering, once and for all, to him? Oh, I pray you will do just that. And if you do, please let me know! I want to rejoice with you and walk alongside you as you begin the beautiful journey of faith.
Celebrate this Easter as a fully loved child of the King. Let nothing hold you back. Lift up your face with the assurance of hope for he is risen…
he is risen, indeed!