Jesus Christ could have said no. He could have simply decided He was not going to die on the cross in order that we may have redemption and forgiveness. This is something that is and has been an obvious point, yes? So, why is it that I bring it up? I bring it up because He could have said no. And I really realized this for the first time today. He could have said no not only to being crucified but to the entire ordeal as well. Think about this for it is no small thing. Jesus Christ left His ethereal surroundings to come down here. He left an environment that was perfection and gave up immortality to come down here as a mortal. And He did this knowing full well what He was walking into. And I am not talking about His imminent death right now. I speak of His becoming as you and I, subject to hunger and exhaustion. He would suffer the temptations of anger and impatience just as we do, as well as a host of other desires as well, good and bad. Jesus would feel the cold of the night and the extreme heat of the day. All that was good in His home above would be replaced by all that we live with on a daily basis. Yet He chose to do so that we may have the choice and opportunity of real Life. Quite amazing stuff when you really examine the sacrifice Christ made for you and I.
What is directing my thoughts this evening is a movie entitled “The Passion of the Christ”, directed by Mel Gibson. It has been out for a few years already but I had never watched it before because quite frankly, I did not want to. I had heard that the account given in the movie was not only graphic but was also very accurately portrayed overall. It is safe to say that this movie was avoided by yours truly. However, I happened to be in Best Buy today and there it was. The Passion of the Christ on BluRay sitting in the bargain bin for $7.99. And admittedly, that is a very poor reason for buying a movie such as this. There was a small part of me that was curious enough to watch it, of course which is I suppose the reason for my purchase. Besides, the worst case scenario was that I could always hit Stop on the remote if it was too difficult to watch.
Friends, it was difficult and painful to watch. The dialogue in this movie was presented in Aramaic and Latin while being subtitled in English which really brought one into the movie as opposed to the movie being brought to the individual, if that makes sense. It opened in the Garden of Gethsemane with Christ praying to the Father and asking that if possible, to not have to drink from the cup that would soon be placed before Him. Now, I know my scripture fairly well so I was confident that I would follow the movie in good fashion and I did so. However, I could not have prepared myself for the depiction of the scourging our Creator received. I watched as our Lord was whipped and beaten and tossed about like just so much refuse. I wept as His now human body was ripped open from the cat o’ nine tails and beaten unmercifully with wooden rods as the soldiers administering the beating laughed at Him when He fell. And as He carried the cross to Golgotha, the crowd jeered while the Roman soldiers continued to lash His broken body with their whips until He fell time and time again while His mother looked on, her eyes filled with tears though her heart knew this was His purpose on this earth. It was His reason for being here. And as our Lord breathed His last breath and died on that cross, my heart broke for I know He did that for me and for all who will accept His gift. I wanted very much to turn this movie off even after 20 minutes into it but found I could not do so. You see, it is an easier thing to read of this than to see it before you. My whole life I was told and taught about the sacrifice that Jesus made, His death upon the cross. And I have always been most grateful that He came to die for the remission of our sins. Indeed I have. But this film made His pain and therefore His sacrifice very real to me tonight. I felt anger towards those who would do this thing to the Son of God while weeping in sadness for what He had to endure so that I might live and live abundantly. My eyes are full of tears even now for it is just now, this moment that I truly know that I have been remiss in following my own road, the road that has been given me to travel. I know my purpose and reason for being placed here but have permitted my circumstances to cause me to say “No!” This is an area that must be put to right, to be sure. There are no excuses that can justify this either and that goes for myself and us all. Give this a thought or two for moment, if you will. Christ came down and was just as we are, a human being with situations and a free will to react to these situations, yes? He suffered from self-doubt and anguish as well as anger and sadness. He laughed as we do (or should) and cried as well. We have Divinity within and so did Christ Jesus. And He chose to follow the path to His purpose thus embracing who He was and is. Now I will say that I am not trying to state that we are on equal footing with God for that would be more than nonsensical. But do remember that Jesus while on Earth was housed in a physical body with the Divine indwelling as are we. There is one major difference that I would make mention of however because it is a big deal. Jesus, the Son of God knew that His purpose would culminate in the events portrayed in the movie I spoke of this evening. And guess what?……..He could have said no! Given His set of circumstances, I would like to believe that I would have made the choice He made but I would be lying if I said that was the truth for sure. Still, knowing all the pain ahead of Him and knowing that on the cross, His own Father was not going to be able to look upon His Son who now was carrying the sins of the world, knowing all of this beforehand, Christ chose to say yes. I am so glad for His decision as I know you are as well.
In closing, I am going to ask you to do as I am doing this evening. Take a bit of a self-inventory and do some introspection where your Life and Purpose are concerned. The gifts you have within, those seeds of greatness that have been bestowed upon you? Do these items simply lie there dormant because you have, for whatever reason decided to say “No!”? If this be true, then think on this as well please. What ever it is that is taking precedence over your true Life path is keeping you from the Life of Abundance that is waiting for your arrival. And I will say that many others who would be blessed by your blessings are being denied as well. Do give this some thought and once done, move into the direction of Divine Purpose. Decide to say “Yes!” for that is really all God is waiting to hear. It is then and only then that He can take your hand as you make that journey together.
Take care with yourselves and those you love. Blessings coming your way!………
Authored by William J. Thompson, Jr.