Next to the Christmas and New Year’s holiday, Holy Week is my next favorite long break—not because we can travel (we never have actually) or sleep in for as long as we wish, but because it is an allotted time to reflect on the life of Jesus Christ while He was human, as well as celebrate another “Christmas,” His Resurrection and consequently our Salvation. [For most of you who may not know, I was born on Christmas Day–though many of my family still argue on the actual date].
Why is Jesus’ death and resurrection so central to this celebration? Simply because this is the basic core tenet of our Christian faith. This confirms God as the One True God because He (Jesus as God The Son, who shares the same being as God The Father) is the only founder of a belief (others more comfortably call it “religion”) whose ending was not the grave. Jesus Himself transcended death –proving He is God, the only human who died and rose again (Jesus is both God and Human. 100-percent God and 100-percent Human, not 50-50 like others think). And because of it we, His followers, have hope for the same Salvation. Truly Jesus is our Savior. [Romans 10: 9-10: "If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”].
Jesus’ death and resurrection proved without room for doubt that God is sovereign over life and death. As the Creator of life, He has full power to take it away and restore it as well. Furthermore, these climactic events in the end of the course of Jesus’ human life confirmed the He is The Prophesied Messiah, The Promised Deliverer, The Savior. [Psa[Psalm 22, is arguably considered by many as a foreshadowing of Jesus’ persecution and crucifixion as revealed in the New Testament account in Matthew 27.]>
So now that we know the reason for the Holy Week’s celebration, what then can we teach our children when they ask us what the cross stands for in order for them to gain a greater understanding and better appreciation of “Easter” besides from egg hunting? Many great things, but what stand out for me are these three in particular: love, sacrifice, and forgiveness as revealed in John 3:16, the most popular verse in the Bible.
“For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Jesus Christ’s death on the cross stands for God’s great love for us in sacrificing His Son to pay for our sins so we will be forgiven. Jesus had to die on the cross so we don’t have to, because “the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23). In the Old Testament people are depicted to fall dead or turn to ash when they sin. Others were stoned to death.
But it doesn’t end there. God loves us so much that He did not just send His Son to die in our place. He also offered us a free gift of Salvation through believing in His Son, Jesus. The verse after, John 3:17 states: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” Because of the cross, we are not just forgiven for our sins, we are also saved from the consequence of eternal damnation and we are being offered life everlasting in Heaven.
Wow. How great is God’s love? Can you imagine? It is hard, right? But picture this, as a parent: can you let your child die for someone else? That’s how much we are loved. We are not just forgiven, but our sins also forgotten (Psalm 103:12). Can you forgive someone so much that you have no recollection of how he/she has wronged you? God really loves us, in our sinfulness He still seeks to reconcile us with Him. The cross really stands for love, above all. This is the great and indescribable love I felt and accepted when I decided to surrender my life to Jesus in August 2011 and declared it publicly five years later, on December 4, 2016.
I hope you all had a blessed Holy Week. Let us not just reflect and live out God’s love during the past season but everyday.