For many years, I have been pondering something. I feel like I have finally come to some sort of conclusion, and I would like to share it with you.
You see, in the Catholic church, Jesus is ON the cross. In the Protestant/Evangelical church, Jesus is OFF the cross. Which one is right? Which side has truth? Look at the necklaces that people where, or attend the churches of these particular expressions of the Christian faith, and you will see what I mean.
In fact, this is one of the EASIEST ways to know whether someone is Catholic or Protestant. The truth is this: Jesus has risen from the dead, and He is no longer on the cross! WAIT!!! If you are Catholic, don’t dismiss this yet. You don’t want to miss what I have to say.
Jesus IS alive, He IS risen, and the grave does NOT hold any power over Him. I am thankful that we can celebrate Jesus’ resurrection and experience His power in our lives. BUT…I believe we have missed out on something important.
Every year, most every Christian celebrates a few holidays. In the springtime, this includes “Good Friday” and “Easter”. “Good Friday” specifically refers to a celebration of Jesus’ death and “Easter” specifically refers to a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.
I was talking to a friend of mine who visited a Protestant church. He said that the Good Friday service felt like an Easter service. The church was UNCOMFORTABLE with hanging out on the subject of Jesus’ death. They wanted to quickly get over that part in order to focus on the resurrection.
And, it is uncomfortable! Jesus’ disciples and followers were uncomfortable for three days, until He rose on the third day. And, by the way, Jesus was EXTREMELY uncomfortable (pain and agony would more correctly describe His experience) when He died.
So, I want to suggest something to us during this Easter season. Take a moment and TRULY reflect on the death of Jesus. After all…
Jesus’ death is what makes resurrection possible.
Jesus’ death allows us to know that He identifies with us in our suffering.
Jesus’ death, leading to His resurrection, helps us know that our death experiences will lead us to resurrection.
Jesus’ death is what makes His resurrection powerful.
Jesus’ death will produce in me a greater appreciation and love for Him and others!
During this Easter season, don’t skip past His sacrifice. The more that you honor Jesus’ death, the more you will be impacted and joy-filled by His resurrection! Jesus’ resurrection is powerful ONLY because He died. Let me repeat: your greatest celebration of Jesus’ resurrection will only happen when you have properly honored Jesus’ death.
This year, don’t run past it, don’t ignore it, and don’t forget about it! Honor His death, celebrate His resurrection, and watch as your Christian faith expands even wider than it has ever been before!