The Rest of the Story

I have seen many crosses this week–on church lawns, in sanctuaries, inside display cases, even on the corner of a car dealer’s lot.  I join other Christians in commemorating Good Friday and remembering Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion, but I don’t want to get stuck there.

I don’t want to become near-sighted, focusing only on the pain of the cross and forgetting the joy and glory of the Resurrection.  This story has a glory-filled conclusion.

I have been challenged by a recent Christianity Today article.

Don’t focus on the suffering of Jesus to the extent that you neglect the glory of the Cross in and through the Resurrection.

The authors (Andreas J. Köstenberger and Justin Taylor) remind us of Jesus’ journey from God and His return to the heavenly Abba.

Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father.

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;

John 13:1,3   NIV

Jesus’ return to the heavenly Father was a return to glory!

And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.   John 17:5   NIV

DSC_3028-001

I can’t comprehend that.  The closest parallel I can imagine is leaving my home and family on a trip and coming back years later, but that’s a dim candle compared to the bright splendor of heaven.

This familiar verse in Hebrews

For the joy set before him he endured the cross   Hebrews 12:2   NIV

reminds me of something I can understand:  the process of giving birth.

“Remember to breathe.”

“Push!”

“Aaagh!”

“Congratulations! It’s a boy–9 pounds and 13 ounces!”

Why do we endure the pain of childbirth?  For the delight we feel cradling our newborn,

936437_10152066168969988_1418298494_n

 for the joy set before us.

Barb spring crocus (2)

My prayer for us all this Easter season:

may we remember Jesus death and suffering for our sins

Barb spring flowers (2)

AND the glory and joy of Jesus’ resurrection.

IMG_4534 (2)

I’m ready to celebrate!

He is risen.

He is risen indeed.

*          *          *          *          *

Thanks to Barb Briggs and Rachel Joy Nieuwsma for allowing me to use their photos.

  linking with Jennifer Lee Dukes

  linking with Emily Wierenga

  linking with Laura Boggess

 

Posted on April 18, 2014, in Devotional and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Oui, il est le vivant qui nous aide à vivre et à briller ! Merci pour ce partage.

    • (Google Translate:Yes, he is the living that helps us to live and shine! Thank you for sharing.)

      Thanks for reading, Christiane. Yes, Jesus is Light and Life itself!

      “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

  2. Hi Constance! I’m your neighbor at Playdates with God.
    I agree that we shouldn’t make the death of the Lord the whole story. He rose! He conquered death and released us. That’s the Easter Story! Each step on the way to that rising is blessed and full of meaning, his death included. But it’s not the whole story, as you said.
    I hope you had a wonderful Easter celebration! Nice to meet you too🙂
    Ceil

    • Ceil, thanks for stopping by to read. It’s nice to meet the “neighbors.”
      Years ago I heard an “Easter” sermon by a pastor who believed that Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead. So sad! I am glad the resurrection is real. He is risen. He is risen indeed!

  3. Yes … He’s calling us to something deeper, something more substantial than the observance of this sacred week. We are in tune together as we write, this day after resurrection Sunday. So nice to meet you!

    • Thanks for stopping by to read, Linda.

      It’s so easy to miss the Resurrection joy and glory when we’re so busy with Sunday church services and family dinners. We need to remember how the Easter story can play out in our own lives. We all have times of suffering and loss that can be followed by God’s glorious intervention.

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