Easter is just around the corner and recently I have been reading John’s gospel account of the journey to the cross. There are moments in there that catch my attention and I think, “How did I miss that bit of information before?” Some of these are…
John 13 – The Passover feast with the four cups of wine* representing God’s proclamation:
- Cup of Sanctification – “I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians”
- Cup of Judgment or Deliverance – “I will deliver you from slavery to them”
- Cup of Redemption – “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm” (new covenant)
- Cup of Praise or Restoration – “I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God”
John 17 – Jesus’ prayer for himself, his disciples, and us was in the upper room (That would have been a sacred moment).
John 18 – Peter and another disciple entered the High Priest’s courtyard because the disciple was known by the High Priest… (it’s all about who you know).
John 19 – Pilate says to Jesus, “Don’t you realize I have the power to free you or crucify you?” and Jesus’ response is, “You would have no power over me if it were not given from above.” (a powerful Sovereignty of God moment).
As I read through the story and wince at the torture and pain Jesus endured, I keep hearing the words, “no regrets”.
The pain from the denial of a friend and disciple – “no regrets”.
The mob scene and the harsh arrest – “no regrets”.
The punishment and torture in the courtyard – “no regrets”.
The humiliation and mockery by the soldiers – “no regrets”.
The flogging and brutal treatment – “no regrets”.
The overwhelming struggle of carrying the cross – “no regrets”.
The excruciating pain inflicted on his hands and feet as they pierced him with nails – “no regrets”.
The moment when He called out to Abba Father…”Why have you forsaken me?” – “no regrets”.
Why no regrets? “For God so loved the world that He sent His One and only Son…” (Jn. 3:16). This was the only way and He knew it. He submitted to His Father’s will and obeyed Him all the way to the cross with no regrets because He loves us as the Father loves us.
One of the challenges we face as pastors is the “same old, same old”. Easter is here again, and we busily focus on the season one more time. My word of encouragement to you is don’t miss the message personally. The very message of love, forgiveness, grace, and redemption is for you and me today. When we grasp that afresh in our own lives, it turns the familiar into the amazing!!
Enjoy the power and presence of the risen Christ this Easter.