This week is a very special week. It is the most important week on the entire Christian calendar and within this week we remember the events that changed our world forever. I always try to do something extra special this week of the year, and this year I have chosen to journey with you through a book by Adam Hamilton. 24 Hours that Changed the World is a great book with only 7 chapters. So Each Day - Monday to Easter Sunday - I will review a chapter from the book. I very much recommend that you click the link here and overnight yourself a copy so that you can join in the discussions of each chapter in the comments below.
This is a difficult subject for me: flogging, beating, taunting. Of all the people in the entire world in all of history, it would be the easiest for us to point the finger at those people in that instant and say that is a sin: hitting Jesus with a whip, tearing his flesh over and over again. I am reminded of the movie Passion of Christ the scene from the movie that disturbed me the most was the flogging, it just kept going. When you got to the point of thinking that is enough it just kept going. Jesus never asked them to stop, he remained silent. In the moments of my sin is Christ there? is he standing silently waiting for me to realize how much he loves me? Does Jesus require or even ask us to stop or is his priority that we understand the lengths that he would go to show how much he loves us even in that moment. You see when I sin and realize that what I am doing is a sin and I continue in selfishness anyways, I am the one holding the whip. When it gets to the point where my actions have done so much damage the truth is that more often than not even I keep going. Jesus asks those who have received healing to "go and sin no more" yet to those who are still entrenched in their sin, like Zacheus the tax collector and like all those who inflict pain on him in the last hours of his life he never calls them to repent. Zacheus brought Jesus home with him and was compelled so much by Christ’s love that he changed his life without being asked. The Soldiers responsible for the task of torturing were surely included in those whom Jesus prayed for on the Cross "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do" and surely they are included among the witnesses of the thunder and ground shaking and the dead being raised to life that it describes happened that afternoon. Surely their lives were changed. So what is it about God's love that without condemning us for what we are doing leads us to change?
For me, this reinforces that me changing for the better is only in response to God's love for me and not that I have to change before God will love me. This is true for all of us. Maybe you have understood a different way from people of the church, insisting that you must change your ways for God to accept you; that my friend is not the case. God loves you exactly the way you are, but thankfully he loves us so much that he will never leave us unchanged after we truly experience His love. So my question for you today is: In what ways have you experienced the Love of God? And how has that changed your life?