Every night, since December, our family has been working our way through the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) chapter by chapter. We began in Matthew and are now finishing up Mark.
We divide the verses among the four of us and read. Some nights we are tired, some nights the words become blurs on the pages, but every night each chapter is a blessing. It's one of the last thing we do together before bed, it's the calm ending to our day, a blessing.
As we wrapped up Matthew a couple of weeks ago, we read chapter twenty-seven. It begins with Jesus being taken before Pontius Pilate, being accused by the jealous and envious chief priests, and ends with His death.
How many times have I read that chapter? Many times. How many times have I heard the story of Christ's suffering? Numerous times.
I grew up going to Sabbath school, hearing Daddy speak in church, visiting the crestfallen, the sick, the lost, the hopeless, and countless times have I heard the story of my Lord's death, and have seen it uplift people from all walks of life.
I have seen the power this story has to give hope, to cheer, to drown the love starved in an endless abundance of supernatural love.
How many times have people come to me and told me that they'd like to feel what others talk about. To feel that endless abundance of supernatural love that frees people from evil's grasp. They'd like to feel touched by the story the four gospels tell?
But I know that many of us struggle with this. We struggle with the guilt of not feeling what so many talk about. The impact that some profess after reading the redemption story. We feel guilty. So we don't admit it. Instead we pretend.
We say our Amens, our Hallelujahs, we nod. We pretend. We'd like to say we've felt more than a temporary understanding of God's sacrifice. A temporary feeling brought about by our guilt.
You know what I've realized? That often what happens is, we unconsciously block the effect Jesus' death for us should have on us. Maybe we put up a wall because we are afraid of a love so big. We are hesitant to believe that a God so great, would love us so much...with no strings attached. We are afraid to realize we have nothing to give in return. We are afraid to grasp the immensity of His sacrifice- of His undying love.
So we read. We skim over the old English words, the ever familiar story and we say our Amen's, our Hallelujah's, and nod. We don't allow God to touch us through His story. We block His still small voice out.
Why? Are we really that afraid? If so, let's realize we have a great gift to give to God. The only gift He asks of us. Us. Our hearts, our lives, our everything. He'd like us to accept the gift He gave us on the cross. Eternal life. He offers eternity to us. What do you say to accepting His gift?
What do you say to handing over our hearts to Him for Him to guide us in everything we do, in everything we are?
Next time we read the story of Jesus Christ's suffering and death let us do so with an open heart. Ready to accept His wonderful salvation, ready to read and be touched by His word. Let us be open to the floods of love He wants to pour into our hearts. Let us allow Him to speak to us through the story of Redemption.
P.S. I'd like also to mention that our brethren in the Middle East and Africa are going through some tough times and troubles, I'd like to ask all to keep them in mind and prayer as we try to help them as much as we can.