I woke up in a sweat, heart pounding, an awful feeling hung in the dark room.
I had just woken up from a dream where I had murdered a good friend of mine and buried his body in the sand at the beach. There had been no motive and I had never, in real life, ever had a single problem or issue with this friend, so I had no idea where this dream even came from.
After he had been thrown into the sandy pit and covered in sand, I realised his name was written on his shoes and so went back and dug up his feet, pulling off his shoes and taking them with me to dispose of somewhere else. Terrible I know. No wonder I woke up with a terrible feeling. I lay in bed, looking around the familiar sights in the darkness of my bedroom and called on the name of Jesus as I had been taught to do from the time I was a child. Focusing my thoughts on The One who holds my life and thoughts in his hands, I asked for peace to still my pounding heart and to fill the room. Although it took time and faith, He came, but I never forgot my dream.
I can still picture each scene of my dream in my mind. An innocent man was murdered by my hands. Surely I would be incapable of doing such a thing, but this week I’ve been reminded of the man who was killed brutally even though he was completely innocent. The man was not only innocent even though he faced every earthly struggle and temptation, but he lived a life of perfection, hardly deserving to be brutally hung on a cross to die.
The fact is I was born into a world of free choice. I could chose to live life any way I wanted. God created it that way so that if we chose to love him, it would be genuine, our own choice.
I met Jesus when I was a small child. I have no memory of not knowing him. Like a friend you have grown up with, someone who has been a part of every memory, happy and sad, he knows everything. There have certainly been things that I’ve held back from him, not wanting to listen to his instruction. I made my own decisions, stubborn to do what I wanted, but they didn’t turn out well. When I turned around and sought comfort in his arms, he opened them wide and didn’t say “I told you so.” He carried me and spoke gently, singing over me his delight and love, despite my bad choices and sin in disobeying.
In his great love for his children, God sent his son to earth to live among us, to experience a fleshy life of joy and sadness, blessing and hardship. In the greatest act of love Jesus let himself be sacrificed and take the world’s sins upon him.
Think about the sins of the world, the constant war, the shootings, the murders, the lies, the greed, the conflict. Now, imagine having the weight of all of that sin on YOUR shoulders, knowing that God says the penalty of sin is death. (Rom 6:23)
It was my sin that hung him on that cross. He was willing to hang for me.
He was willing to hang for me.
I try to imagine my heart if I was standing at the foot of that cross, staring up at Jesus hanging there. My heart would just explode with pain watching the agony of him trying to breathe as his arms were stretched up high above his head, blood dripping from the lashings that ripped his flesh wide open, making puddles on the ground beneath him, his life slowly draining out of his body before my very eyes. The crown of thorns digging deep into the flesh of his head creating trickles of blood that flow past the eyes that had captured the hearts of thousands.
Insults were hurled at him as he hung there. As much as I’d like to think I would not have been one of them, I have.
But death could not overcome him.
After he took our sins to the grave, forever removed from us, he rose from his grave. Did you hear that? Death could not overcome him! That means he can never be destroyed! He has ultimate power. Not only does he have power over death but he has given us eternal life with him because of his great love for us, his children. His death brought us life.
It also means despite sickness and the hardship of this life, we have hope in him. We have hope that no matter what we face or do, we can never be removed from his sacrificial love for us.
No longer does death have a hold on us; we are forever set free by the death of an innocent man.