Ugly, broke, hated. Two weeks ago I saw a homeless man holding this sign in New Orleans in the French Quarter. It broke my heart, and if I wasn’t alone, I would have stopped and asked how to help. I ached at the thought of anyone being that low and thinking that no one cared about them. It was a desperate cry for help and something many of us can relate to, although maybe not visibly on a sign on a street in New Orleans.
On this Easter Sunday, I think about how many times many of us feel this exact same way. It maybe isn’t in the sense of being broke financially like I imagine the man was in the French Quarter, but I know we’ve all felt ugly, hated and broken at some point in our lives. If you haven’t yet, you will probably be there someday, and it’s usually not something you can prepare for.
Everyone has something really painful in their life, and a battle that you don’t know they are fighting. My aching and suffering is probably different than yours, or it might be the same. My last five years have had some really low valleys. In fact, sometimes they were lower than I ever thought I could get, and trust me, I wasn’t seeing the light at the beginning of each day. I felt more broken and alone than I even knew was possible. Each morning I yearned for Christ and for His love to surround me, so I could forget the ugliness of the world that surrounded me instead.
I imagine that many people in Bible times felt the same way. Heck, most of the disciplines probably felt that way. I am sure that Doubting Thomas felt that way after denying Christ three times and then watching Him be crucified on the cross for his sins. I can’t imagine how He felt when he found out that Jesus wasn’t in the tomb, and then felt the nail holes on his hands. For my sins, and for your sins.
The act of crucifixion is inhuman and creates suffering that is unbearable. I am far from perfect, and the fact that there is a God that loves me enough to sacrifice His own son, so that I may have eternal life, well that’s just quite mind boggling, don’t you think? Jesus was willing to go through this pain and suffering for me—and for you. I sure am thankful for the amazing grace that was shed that day, so that I can live for tomorrow and find joy in each day knowing that Jesus, our Savior, has overcome death and risen again!
Our Pastor said it really well this morning. You’ll find a body on Earth for Buddha, Muhammed and many other people who have been worshiped. But Jesus? You won’t find His body anywhere because He has risen from the dead!
And the beauty of it all? God sent his one and only Son to die on the cross to forgive us of our sins. To completely wipe out the ugly, broke and hated and replace it with joy, hope, forgiveness and grace. Now that’s an Easter message!
Happy Easter, friends!