Are you a forgetful person?
Like me, are you often misplacing things, forgetting your schedule, or having trouble recalling which name goes with each person’s face?
Thankfully my most extreme moments of brain fog and forgetfulness don’t happen all the time, but in general, I do tend to forget a lot of little things. The amount of times I’ve walked into a room to do something and then couldn’t remember what it was, or started asking a question and then forgot what I wanted to ask is a bit frustrating.
Usually, the instances are small enough that I – and whoever else is with me – can just laugh at it. But sometimes that forgetfulness can lead to a lot of trouble.
Maybe I’ve forgotten to meet someone somewhere and caused them to spend a large chunk of their time waiting for me. Maybe I’ve forgotten to pay someone back for when they covered for me at some event. Maybe I’ve forgotten to return something I borrowed.
Letting someone down because I forgot something is not fun. To understate it. But there are even worse things to forget than appointments, payments, and debts.
Far too often, I forget my largest debt of all – and how it was paid so graciously for me by my Savior.
Today, on Easter Sunday, I’m reminded of it more than ever. Today, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the One who willingly chose to suffer and die on a cross for us, to pay the price for our sins, and to bridge the gap between us and God. All we have to do is accept and trust Him.
In the hustle of everyday life, it’s very easy to forget the magnitude of what Christ did for us. How His sacrifice affects us can slip to the backs of our minds in the midst of mundane tasks, hectic deadlines, and filled-to-the-last-minute schedules.
But that’s the last thing we should allow to happen.
Instead, the truth of Christ’s death and resurrection should stay with us all throughout each day – strengthening us, humbling us, encouraging us, and motivating us to keep all things in perspective. Everything changes when we realize that we have a Savior who gave everything up for us. He loved – and still loves – us that much.
I know the title of this post says ‘Don’t Forget the Cross’, but to clarify, the cross itself is nothing special. I don’t want to cause confusion or start arguments by appearing to suggest that the cross had special effect on what happened that day. The cross that Jesus died on was nothing more than wood; just a tool used to accomplish God’s perfect will.
It’s also a symbol to us now. Personally, seeing a cross reminds me of Jesus and what He did for me. I don’t hold the cross itself in high importance, but it brings back to mind what Jesus chose to suffer through for me. For you. For each and every one of us.
Jesus was stripped and humiliated. Brutally flogged using whips braided with glass shards and bone fragments. Beaten, bruised, dragged through dust and dirt, and nailed to that cross through His wrists and feet. Betrayed by His closest friends and saddened by the pain in His mother’s eyes as she watched Him die. He ached, bled, struggled to breathe, and died.
In the hours before Jesus’ death, He suffered unspeakable pain – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And He did it not just for people who’d been loyal to Him, but for all who’d actively ignored, hurt, or mocked Him as well. And we’ve all done that, many times.
Would you be willing to go through all that Jesus did for someone who hated and repeatedly hurt you? Perhaps we might volunteer to die for someone we loved dearly and who loved us in return, though it’d still be incredibly difficult to willingly suffer so much.
But Jesus died for even those that couldn’t care less about Him. For those that betrayed Him, disappointed Him, ignored Him, hated Him, mocked Him, wounded Him, and caused Him great grief and heartbreak. Not because He was forced. But because He loved each and every one of us that much. Even if we haven’t reciprocated any of that love back to Him.
Every year, around Easter, I make myself watch The Passion of the Christ, a film by Mel Gibson. No one knows every exact detail of what Jesus suffered on Good Friday, and of course the movie is only Gibson’s educated interpretation. But his purpose behind the film, to portray and bring to life what kinds of things Jesus endured for us, is something I’ve always appreciated.
It’s an incredibly graphic and heart-wrenching movie, and I still have to look away at some scenes. I always end up crying over it. But I’m grateful. I sometimes struggle to really understand and remember the depth of what Jesus sacrificed for us. But I’m a very visual person, and seeing an example, so real and vivid, is always so humbling for me. The reminder makes me even more thankful to my Savior.
The movie ends with just a glimpse of the first Easter morning, as a resurrected Jesus exits the tomb. He suffered and died for us, but it didn’t end there. He conquered death and rose again after three days, and it’s because of this that we have the assurance that He was who He said He was – the Son of God, and our Savior. And if we accept that, we also have the assurance of eternity in Heaven with Him. All because He loved us so much.
That’s what we celebrate today. We celebrate hope. We celebrate love. We celebrate victory over pain, fear, discouragement, and even death. That truth should be enough to bring us unspeakable joy and peace. But we have to remember it.
It’s hard to keep the truths of Jesus’ love and sacrifice close to our hearts, especially when our lives are hectic and stressful. But it’s so vital to remember. Not just at Easter, or Christmas, or those times that emphasize it, but every day of our lives.
How much would change if we lived out each moment remembering how much our Savior loves us, and what He did for us? For myself, I know I experience a lot more peace and assurance when I keep this in my thoughts, no matter what else is going on. It doesn’t mean life is easy. But it gives us hope, perspective, and a purpose in the midst of it.
Today, I pray that we’d all take the time to truly remember what we’re celebrating, and to let the truths of Jesus’ love sink into our hearts. No matter what we’re dealing with, no matter how stressed we are, no matter how dire the world looks right now, Christ overcomes. And He’s always with us.