With all of the hype centered around The Passion of the Christ, I've been thinking about Jesus a lot lately. I'll be honest, I think about Jesus all the time, however, those thoughts are usually centered around what I need from Him (those "911" prayers) or short moments of praise when I feel guilty about not having spent more time with Him.
But here lately, I've realized I don't really KNOW Him as friends should know one another. He's been like a really good acquaintance that I see often and know generally what His character is like and know that He is dependable and trustworthy and a really good guy.....but I haven't known Him like I want to know Him now.
I've been reading a book by Michael Card titled "Violent Grace". It's about Jesus and what He suffered for us. One of the things he writes about is that Christ was betrayed so I might know His faithfulness. He compares Judas and Peter and their response to Grace. They both were close friends of Jesus. They lived with Him and knew everything about Him, yet they both made different choices. Both men denied Christ, albeit in different fashions, but it was their next choice that made all the difference in the world. Judas failed Christ, but had he recognized the Grace that was offered to him and chosen to seek forgiveness, the ending to his story would be totally different. Peter, on the other hand, denied Christ three times yet he was one of the first to rush to Christ's tomb on Easter morning. He received Grace and continued to live his live to please Christ.
Last night, I was reading Luke 22:54-62 - one of the passages that tells the story of Peter's denial of Christ. In verses 61-62 it says, "At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered that the Lord had said, 'Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny me three times.' And Peter left the courtyard, crying bitterly." As I read that and was reflecting on what Michael Card had written and I was trying to imagine what Peter was thinking at that moment, I was suddenly there myself, looking across the courtyard into the eyes of Jesus. I was overwhelmed with a sense of disappointment and love: disappointment that I had failed Christ and yet a strong sense of His love for me. Suddenly, all that I've read about Christ's suffering flooded my memory. I realized that although Christ knew knew the torture He would endure to pay the price for my sins and even though He knew that I would have moments where by my actions I would deny Him, He still did it. He still went through with it. I began to weep as it really began to click in my mind all that He has done for me.
I'm ashamed that I've taken His sacrifice for granted. I want to know this Man like I've never known Him before. I never again want to treat His Grace so carelessly. It's funny...I used to sing a song for church titled, "Does He Still Feel The Nails". Everytime I have sang that song, I heard the words in my head and would even get worked up a bit about the meaning, but today they have new meaning. Here are the words to the chorus:
Does He still feel the nails
everytime I fail?
Does He hear the crowd cry "Crucify!", again?
Am I causing Him pain?
Then I know I've got to change.
I just can't bear the thought
of hurting Him.
I never want to bring pain to my Savior. I know I will, as we all are bound to do. I just want to know Him in such a way that when I do fail Him I won't hesitate to go to Him.
There's still more I want to say, but I don't know how to put it into words yet. There's just a lot of raw emotion churning in me right now. I'm not sure this entry makes any sense, but I just had to share.