The other day C handed me a picture she had spent several minutes drawing and coloring. My eyes grew wide when I glanced at the lined notebook paper. I had been expecting her usual trademark chicken pictures, but this time she had drawn something completely different. On the paper were three brown crosses with a man hanging on the middle one.
“Oh! It’s Jesus,” I remarked in surprise. “What a wonderful picture.”
She nodded and then commented, “I didn’t know how to draw His mouth.”
At first I didn’t know what C meant; she’s known how to draw faces since preschool. Then it dawned on me that she didn’t know whether to draw a line curving up or down.
Because considering the circumstances, death on a cross was one of the most painful, excruciating, and shameful ways to die. Yet, Jesus willingly accepted all of the physical, emotional and spiritual torture that went with it for one reason: His love for us.
I’m not sure whether or not a 6 year old understands the theology behind Jesus’ emotional state on the cross, but C’s picture does shed some light on how complex, deep and heart-wrenching Jesus’ sacrifice for us must have been.
It is just as Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Shame versus joy. Or rather, shame mixed with joy. That was how Jesus viewed the cross.
And this was how I replied to C’s comment, “It is kind of complicated. It was painful for Jesus to die on the cross, but He was happy to do it because He loves us.”
Even though the day Jesus died was the darkest, most depressing Friday in all history, it paved the way to the most glorious, awesome Sunday three days later. That’s why today is called GOOD Friday.
So happy Good Friday to you all! May you have a wonderful Easter Sunday, too.
Now enjoy this contemporary take on one of my favorite hymns, “The Wonderful Cross”, sung here by Chris Tomlin.
How do you view Jesus’ death on the cross?