God created us as complex creatures, capable of feeling and sensing a whole garden of emotions. Made in the image of our Creator, we can both grieve the wrongs of this world, and celebrate the sweetness of this life.
This 2-week reading plan will lead us through a series of passages from Scripture that examine the seasons of mourning and dancing in the life of a believer. In the written responses here on the site, our writers will enter into this tension, articulating their personal experiences with grief and joy in hopes of freeing you to explore your own. By immersing our hearts and minds in God’s Word, and honestly presenting our laments to Him, may we remember that God is present with us, He is good, and He is faithful.
Death—Matthew 27:32-50, Galatians 2:19-20
Life—Luke 24:36-49, Colossians 1:15-20
Can you bear to look?
It seems even that Matthew could not endure the sight: “After crucifying Him they divided His clothes by casting lots,” he wrote (Matthew 27:35). We can look at His empty robes at the foot of the cross, but how can our eyes stand to see His bloody and broken body?
The weight of the crucifixion of Christ is difficult to comprehend. I find that I get lost in my efforts to understand it more fully, as I stray either into sentimental imagination of Christ’s very human agony, or into detached pondering of its theological significance. It was unimaginably brutal. It was incomprehensibly profound. It was also deeply personal. My own sin put him there. My voice mocked His suffering. My hands gambled for His clothing. My criminal lips taunted and spat at Him.
What are we to do with this? How do we approach the God we mocked? How do we look upon the Christ we crucified?
There are no words. We can make no answer, no appeal. Would that we, even we, had known the things that make for peace; would that we had known the time of our visitation (Luke 19:42-44). He was crushed for our iniquities; for our transgressions, he was pierced (Isaiah 53:5).
Yet He Himself, willingly scarred by our transgressions, stands before us and says: “Peace to you!” (Luke 24:36).
Do you tremble at this? He is the image of the invisible God, the creator of all the earth, the head of the Church, the ruler of all dominions, who was before all things, and in whom the fullness of deity dwells. And He was pleased to reconcile everything to Himself by making peace through the blood of His cross (Colossians 1:20). How can we not tremble?
When Jesus asks, “Why are you troubled?”, the whole world of awful betrayal, of faithless doubt, seems to disappear. When He says, “why do doubts arise in your hearts?”, a great barrier shatters. The trembling, the awe before this Deity returned from the dead, and even our own disbelief, become occasions for joy.
Paul writes, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). At the cross, we witness not only Christ’s death, but our death. At the empty tomb we witness not only His life, but ours.
The Messiah has suffered and died and risen, so that forgiveness of sin might be proclaimed to all nations. Oh that our eyes might be ever fixed on Christ, crucified and risen! How can we bear to look away?
Written By Caleb Faires