Reading for Fourth Sunday of Easter
Peace be with you!
As Christians, we have to face the cold, hard truth: Jesus had to be crucified, because we would not accept God’s mercy any other way. We join the crowd everyday and yell, “Crucify him, crucify him!” when with turn our backs on God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit—when we lie, steal, spread rumors, cause harm to others, and say yes to Satan. It is the dirty little secret that we, Christians, try to bury under the rug.
We are not proud of our dirty little secret. We do our best to keep the Ten Commandments. We do our best to love God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We do our best to love our neighbors as ourselves. We do our best to follow Jesus’s footsteps. We do our best to care for the poor and the less fortunate. We do our best. However, our best is never going to earn us salvation in kingdom of God, because the wrath of God is never going to allow us in.
But why did Jesus have to die on the cross? God could have given us forgiveness and mercy without sending Jesus to die on the cross. The problem is the wrath of God represents an absent God, and to solve the issue meant sending Jesus into the world to be with us. (1) Jesus comes into the world to show us God’s unconditional love, mercy, and forgiveness by interacting with us in the world of conditions. We get to witness Jesus’s pain, joy, and triumph in the world. God comes into the world to meet us face-to-face through Jesus.
Yet we could not fully understand and appreciate God’s unconditional love, mercy, and forgiveness without Jesus dying on the cross, because we cannot comprehend God freely giving us mercy. The cross becomes the pass we need to be in a relationship with God the Father. We had to see God bear our pain to get a glimpse of God’s view from above.
Our dirty little secret is transformed by God into good news. Through the selfish act of crucifying him, Jesus raises us to new life in his resurrection and ascension to the kingdom of God (Acts 4:10, 12). His resurrection overcomes Satan’s power of the grave and gives us forgiveness, grace, love, and eternal life instead. Through God’s transforming of our greatest sin—crucifying Jesus—we are able to be in a relationship with God the Father.
No one knew what they were putting into action when they were shouting, “Crucify Jesus; crucify him!” God sent Jesus to be crucified as the sacrifice for everyone’s (Jews, Catholics, Gentiles, Samaritans, blacks, Caucasians, Indians, Hispanics, and all other people) sins—past, present, and future sins. Everyone is forgiven through Jesus’s crucifixion, death, and resurrection, because God understands we are broken humans who fall for Satan’s tricks. God understands we cannot earn salvation on our own merits. God understands we need someone to intercede on our behalf. God understands we need Jesus in the world and to die for our sins, so we could begin to understand him as a merciful God.
Therefore, our little dirty secret is the cornerstone of our faith (Acts 4:11). It is what allows Jesus to die for our sins and to offer us eternal life in the kingdom of God. When we repent and give our lives to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, we are welcomed into the kingdom of God. Jesus’s crucifixion, death, and resurrection becomes the way the wrath of God is satisfied. The resurrection shows us how Jesus is the good shepherd who lay down his sheep (John 10:11, 15). He spreads his arms out on the cross and gathers the lost sheep together in a community. Jesus’s work welcomes believers into the kingdom of God, so they are no longer to be under God’s wrath.
Our dirty little secret is not that we crucified Jesus but that we need Jesus Christ to die for sins, so we can be in a relationship with God the Father. The resurrection becomes a sign of God’s promise of eternal life. We may be sinners, but God the Father has made the ultimate sacrifice through Jesus. Therefore, when we repent, we are forgiven and receive grace and love from God.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for sending your Son to die for our sins. Help us to understand why we had to crucify Jesus. Help us to accept your forgiveness as we forgive others who sin against us. Comfort us when we fall and lift us up to everlasting life. Thank you for offering us eternal life through Jesus’s resurrection. Amen.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the behavior covenant by commenting on it.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
- What emotions do you feel knowing you crucified Jesus?
- How will you share the good news: God’s act of transforming our dirty little secret into new life?
(1) Forde, Gerhard O. “Caught in the Act: Reflections on the Work of Christ.” Word & World. (1983: 3/1), 22-31.
Photo Credit: Amber Sue Photography, www.ambersuephotography.com