Note: This is Part 1 of a two-part article. Find Part 2 at this link.
Have you ever collided with someone or been in a car accident? The force of impact can change a trajectory. Newton's third law of motion states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
The cross is the place where heaven and hell seemed to collide. And the cross of Jesus Christ is where we discover that in the kingdom realm, reactions are not equal. A response from heaven will far surpass the impact of hell and shake the world's very foundations.
As we pause to remember Christ's death and Resurrection, I invite you to step back in time and join in the journey to the cross, through the cross. I ask you to allow the Holy Spirit to speak deep into the core of your being and draw you close to Jesus as the action unfolds.
We must step back further into the story to grasp the full understanding of what was accomplished. At the cross there was a collision, but things had been set in motion long before that day at Golgotha. It all started in a place of beauty: in the Garden of Eden.
It was in the garden that Satan slithered in and brought deception. It was there that Adam and Eve forfeited the perfect life. At that moment, the journey to the cross began as God declared that "he (Jesus) will crush your head, and you (Satan) will strike his heel" (Gen. 3:15, NIV).
In this moment of pain, God had a plan. He knew we needed a Savior, and the journey to the cross began. He loved these people He had created with such an intensity that He was willing to make a way for them to get back to Him. Can you feel the shaking in the garden as the first sin and the love of God collided?
We quickly move forward to the days before Jesus experienced the cross. The Gospels (Matt. 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, John 12:12-19) tell us about the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Many in the crowd were throwing down palm branches, spreading their cloaks under the donkey's hooves and crying, shouting, "Hosanna" and declaring Jesus to be the Son of God. If you were part of this crowd, what would you be feeling? Would you be filled with awe, wonder and excitement? Or would you be standing on the sidelines, thinking everyone had gone crazy?
Journey next to the Last Supper (Matt. 26:17-29, Mark 14:12-25, Luke 22:7-38) and look around. What are you feeling? What questions do you want to ask Jesus? What is your response as Jesus bends down to wash your feet? Can you accept that action, or do you question it like Peter did? As you see Judas leave the room, are you confused?
We quickly find ourselves in a different garden. The Garden of Eden was full of beauty and walking with God. However, the Garden of Gethsemane is a place of deep betrayal. Judas, a disciple of Jesus, who had witnessed miracles, was about to add "betray the Son of God" to his resume. And then the soldiers arrest Jesus.
Oftentimes, before an earthquake there are foreshocks. They warn that something more significant is looming and heading in your direction. At this moment, we determine if we will fight or take flight. As you step into this moment with Jesus, the temptation is to run away. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal times when you have run away rather than staying the course. Pause to ask for forgiveness and the strength to stay the course.
The Sanhedrin begins to gather. The Sanhedrin could be called the supreme court of the Jewish community and included the high priest. The sitting high priest of the time was Caiaphas. When he asks Jesus if He is the Son of God, Jesus identifies Himself as such. The plot thickens, the foreshocks increase, and the accusations multiply that say Jesus is worthy of death.
Seeing someone tortured is difficult for most people. What is your response as you see Jesus spit upon, beaten, slapped and stripped of His clothing? Remember, you do not know the end of the story; there is so much that Jesus has said that does not make sense. The Messiah was to be a king who would save you, yet this man you have followed is quiet and endures each painful lash from the whip.
I must wonder where I would be at this moment. Would I be shouting for more torture or for it to stop? How about you? Would you join in with the crowd as Pilate asks, "Who do you want to be released?" Would you be shouting for Jesus or Barabbas?
Do not rush past this question. This crowd had quickly gone from shouting hosanna and declaring Jesus as the Son of God to screaming for His crucifixion. How easily we can be swayed by the crowd rather than swayed by our Savior.
Jesus was not surprised by any of this. He stepped into this moment seeing through it and past it. Hebrews 12:2 (TPT) gives us a glimpse into how we can stay with Him and how He endured for us. "We look away from the natural realm, and we focus our attention and expectation onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith's perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God."
Ruth Hendrickson is an ordained pastor, itinerant speaker, ministry trainer and board-certified biblical counselor who has extensive experience in the development, training and oversight of emotional healing ministry teams, recovery ministries, prophetic ministry, prayer ministries and women's ministry. In addition, she is a course facilitator for Patricia King Institute and Charisma courses. She writes for Elijah List and Charisma and has a podcast titled "Real Truth with Ruth." Through biblically based teachings and practical applications infused with love and laughter, her goal is to introduce people not only to the living God who saves, but also to the God who desires an intimate relationship with each one of us. Her books Positioned – How to be Aligned & Empowered to Walk in Your Diving Destiny and Everyday Prophetic will help you grow in your walk with God. Ruth is an avid unsweetened iced tea drinker who loves warm weather, palm trees and beaches! She believes that she should live in the South. Visit her website at Ruthhendrickson.com.
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