I remember Debbie Pirkle, our Minister to Preschool & Children, telling me a few years ago what one of daycare teachers had told her. The story reminds us in a simple, yet profound way, of a truth we all need to remember.
Brylynn was in our four year old class, and that class had been talking about Easter and what it means. The subject of Jesus’ crucifixion came up. Too deep for a four year old to comprehend, right? Hear what Brylynn had to say and you decide.
In the midst of this discussion about Jesus’ crucifixion, Brylynn told her teacher and the other children, “I had a splinter in my finger one time and my PawPaw took it out. It hurt so much. Jesus must have really hurt when they put that crown of thorns on His head. And then she said sadly, “I’m sorry Jesus had to die for our sins.”
It must have hurt Jesus so much! Have you ever paused to consider just what Jesus was put through on your behalf and on my behalf? That crown, composed of long, razor sharp thorns pierced His head in dozens of places. He was whipped with a cat-o-nine tails, which was composed of nine strands of leather which had glass and rocks embedded so that the flesh was literally torn away from the body with each lashing. Thirty-nine times they savagely ripped Jesus’ back with that terrible device of torture. He was beaten and punched by the Roman guard, spat on by the crowds as He drug that cross through the streets of Jerusalem, and unmercifully jeered and cursed.
As bad as the physical cruelty was, I believe the worst part of His suffering came as a result of having the sin of all mankind placed upon Him as He hung on the cross. Isaiah prophesied concerning the Suffering Servant: “…He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6).
Can you imagine the pain of experiencing the guilt of all mankind? No, we cannot! I know how much I have hurt at times when I was weighed down by the guilt of something I had done wrong. But I cannot even begin to understand how Jesus felt when all the guilt of every person who has ever lived, or will live, was placed upon Him. The physical pain of crucifixion must have paled in comparison! And yet, He willingly bore our guilt.
Perhaps Easter will be a little more meaningful . . . maybe Good Friday a bit more solemn for us if we would slow down from our hectic, crazy lives and consider the great depth of Christ’s love. If Jesus died such a horrible life for us, couldn’t we live more fully for Him?