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April 15, 2022

Remembering Christ Crucified

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Sometimes the heart needs help to remember.

I know mine does.

It’s not that I don’t want to remember Christ’s death; it’s just that I need help pausing from the hectic pace of lesser things – school, sports, games, work, and deadlines – to remember the main thing – Christ crucified.

I’m guessing that you might need help too. You might need help pausing in the pace of getting ready for the hosting of Easter and the planning of egg hunts and brunch and big families and meals to remember the pace of the cross.

Because this is important to remember – while we are given sight immediately at our conversion as the children of God, sight is also something that we must receive GRADUALLY.

Bit by bit. Day by day.

We have to stop often in the busy, and quite frankly selfish, pace of our lives, to remember Christ hanging on a cross, slain for you and for me.

But again – remembering Christ crucified is hard. Partially because we’ve made the cross, a gruesome, inhumane instrument of torture and death, into beautiful jewelry we wear to adorn our fingers and necks. And partially because we are so far removed from using crucifixion as a form of death that it is hard to know exactly what those final moments were like for its victims.

Two weeks ago in a Sunday School class taught by my friend, Ryan Bishop, I listened to a reading of what crucifixion was like and what it symbolized. By the end of the recording Ryan played, I was in tears. Tears that were birthed out of remembrance.

Remembrance of what Christ did, the suffering it entailed, the solidarity it showed for humanity’s suffering, and the depth of His love for me.

If you need a prompt or a tool to help you or your family remember today or this weekend, take some time to listen together or alone in a quiet place to the link below:

And as you listen, remember that remembrance of the cross isn’t just so you will stay stuck in feeling bad about yourself or your sin. It is so that you can grieve your sin that drove the nails into His Hands, receive a greater understanding of His humility and His love, and then be free – free to worship, give thanks, and live a life secure in His sacrifice, willing to offer that same forgiveness and depth of love to hurting family members, neighbors, enemies, and friends.

It is also so that we can remember this high and holy truth:

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16

We do not have a high priest unable to sympathize with us but one able to empathize in every way. As Dane Ortlund writes in his book Gentle and Lowly, high priests in the Old Testament past were sinfully weak. But Jesus as our once and for all high priest was sinlessly weak. And it is this sinless weakness, perfectly endured, that enables Him to identify with His people and show us the way through the suffering to the waiting resurrection on the other side.

In remembering the cross, we remember that Jesus knows what it is like to feel like an outcast – standing on the edges of all things, never to be invited in or given a place of honor at a table, rejected and abandoned by even His closest friends. He knows what it is like to be an orphan – left alone by His father and forsaken. He knows every temptation, hurt, or sorrow we could ever feel, but He also knows the way through the hurt to the resurrection on the other side.

He goes where all other guides fail – from crucifixion to resurrection. And He invites us to do the same.

This is why we must remember – we must remember to repent of the innumerable ways we all fall short. We must remember He felt like an alien, orphan, and outcast so that He could show us how to take our place at God’s Table. We must remember that He endured crucifixion not to say stuck there, or embalmed in a tomb, but to show us the way up and out of the tomb into resurrected life.

So take some time today or this weekend, to remember, repent, confess, and ultimately, to be healed and restored.

Resurrection awaits the end of every story for those who remember, love, and live for Christ crucified, our Suffering Savior, Tender Shepherd, Empathetic High Priest, and Sinless Lamb.

To help you continue on in your journey of remembering and restoration, pick up a copy of my new book and Bible study, Restore: Remembering Life’s Hurts with the God Who Rebuilds.