Stacy Voss

See life differently. Live courageously.

Tag: crucifixion

The Five Love Languages of the Cross

I’m assuming that most of you have heard of Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages. In it, he describes the five fundamental ways in which people primarily give or receive love. They are: gifts, physical touch, acts of service, quality time, and words of affirmation. The gist of the book is that each of us have one or two of these areas in which we really feel loved when someone expresses it through that forum.

And conversely, we really feel hurt when love is withheld from us in that category, or worse yet, when someone we care about does something that we perceive as negative in our primary love language. For example, I’m all about words. Splatter a few tidbits of encouragement my way and I’m good to go for the week. But cut me down. Degrade me or place a label on me and I’ll fall under its weight.

As I was once again trying to prepare my heart for Easter, to try to grasp something that is so enormous that I honestly admit I’ll never fully get it, I noticed one startling thing:

Jesus experienced rejection in each of those five areas in the days or moments leading up to the crucifixion.

In other words, it doesn’t matter if Jesus had a primary love language (after all, God is love. Period). It isn’t about guessing if there is a way in which we can or can’t show our love in a way that resonates to the Most High. It’s that Jesus experienced the negative effects in each of these categories.

Physical Touch

The cat of nine tails clawing at his back, intentionally being thrashed into his flesh over and over.

Thorns pressed deep into soft flesh.

Nails. Driven down, down, down.

Oh, and the lack of air. Yes, the gasping over and again, desperate for just one. more. breath.

Words of Affirmation

“Crucify. Crucify!”

Mocking, ridiculing, taunting.

The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, ‘Prophesy! Who hit you?” (Luke 22:63-64)

Quality Time

The very men Jesus poured everything into had a choice as he faced his darkest hour. Endure the trail with him or skidaddle.

Most fled.

One denied. Over and over and over. “I don’t know the man.”

Can you imagine that? Right as things get hard, you overhear your best friend say, “nope. I don’t know her. Never met her.” That’s pretty much what the Rock said. Let’s add that line to the lack of words of affirmation category, too.

Acts of Service

Purple designated royalty, and for once a robe of that color graced Jesus’ shoulders, but only in mockery. The closest the masses came that day to paying him respect was riddled with sarcasm and disdain. Nothing kind was done to Jesus that day. But everything unkind was.

Gifts

That sharp crown pressed much too deep.

The purple robe, a vivid display of mockery.

And a beam weighing 30-40 pounds, laid upon his back to carry to the place where he would die. Or at least carry it as far as his tortured body would allow.

But What About Love?

Like I said, when someone we love does the opposite of our primary love language, it pierces deep.

But these people obviously didn’t love Jesus, right?

Probably not, or at least they didn’t display it in those moments.

Be he loved them so very, very much.

Us, too.

A love I won’t begin to understand.

A love that became the reason to endure pain reaching levels our minds can’t fathom. Willingly, so.

 

What is your love language? How do you respond or feel when someone you care about hurts you in that vernacular? How does that enhance your view of Easter and Jesus’ five love languages of the cross?

 

 

He Chose to Sing

When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” Matthew 26:30

I can’t get this verse out of my head. I mean, sure it was the Passover and just like every one before, Jews sang Psalms 113-118. I get the tradition of it as they remembered the day their ancestors killed a lamb and smeared its blood over the door. The Passover was a celebration of life as they praised God for sparing the lives of their firstborns. But this particular Passover would be different.

And Jesus was fully aware of it.

And yet, He sung. Listen to some of the words that rolled off his tongue:

The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Lord, save me!” Psalm 116:3-4

Jesus knew the cords of death would soon entangle. He was fully aware of what would happen in the next few hours. He was overcome by death and sorrow when He went to the Garden of Gethsemane. No doubt He called on the name of the Lord, while knowing that He wouldn’t–couldn’t!–be saved from the mocking and brutality He was about to endure.

Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his faithful servants.” Psalm 116:115

His death was on the near horizon. Did He see it as precious at that time?

It was custom to sing these hymns as part of the Passover, but Jesus wasn’t confined to customs or laws. Remember how he and his disciples picked some heads of grain on the Sabbath (which was forbidden since it was considered to be work) and he replied, “For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:8)? He easily could have said He was also Lord of the Passover.

Guys, I just really don’t feel like singing this year.

But Lord, we always sing on Passover.

I know, but I just can’t this time around. You won’t be able to understand now, but you will soon. Tonight, let’s just share our favorite memories instead of singing, okay?

But He didn’t.

He also could have said He was Lord of death. He could have saved in some other way, like waving a magic wand or something.

But He didn’t.

Instead, He chose to sing.

 

 

 

The Pain of Glory

The Pain of Glory

The Pain of Glory

Some friends recently joked that they wanted groupies and a paparazzi. Me? This introvert wants to go wherever she wants without a crowd. Forget the flash photography, please. But the glory? We all want it on some level, don’t we? Don’t we long to be the center of attention at least for a bit? To know that we’re valuable beyond compare? Sign me up.

But there’s one thing I forget.

Glory comes with a cost.

There is a deep, heart-wrenching pain of glory.

Years ago, gratitude overflowed in hearts to such an extent that a crowd burst into celebration. It was the first rendition of a flash mob, except this group didn’t just dance. They grabbed whatever they could find to use as party favors. Surrounded by palm trees, they tugged at the branches and laid them on the ground for their King. Sure, it wasn’t a red carpet or even a yellow brick road, but it worked. Their King didn’t care about those details. He just received the praise that was so overdue.

As the long-awaited one humbly rode by on donkey, the crowd filled the air with chants of praise and honor.

“Hosanna! (which means ‘save’ and became a term of praise)”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Blessed is the king of Israel!” John 12:13

You know the story, right? The celebration was short-lived as just a few days later the chants changed to a desire to crucify. But here’s the part I rarely see:

At first his disciples did not understand all this.” John 12:16a
That’s a relief to me. I mean, if the guys that hung with Jesus on a daily basis couldn’t grasp what was going on, it frees me on the many, many days when I just can’t make sense of something too incredible to truly comprehend. But hang on. Here’s where it gets really interesting:
Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.” John 12:16b, emphasis mine
Whoa–hold on there! That one verse apparently skips pages and pages of our Bibles. You see, “only after Jesus was glorified” is a much too-simple way of condensing the pain and agony Jesus went through as:
  • one of his friends betrayed him. To death. With a kiss.
  • he was whipped in such a way that it tore at his flesh and almost left him for dead.
  • God temporarily turned His back on him (more on this next week. It made my mind reel when I learned about this and it’ll probably do the same to you).
  • hung on a cross under God’s curse (yes, God’s curse. More to come on this, too).

Despite all of these and many more horrific events, Christ’s resurrection, his coming back to life after being killed by hanging on a cross, is defined as being “glorified.”

I don’t know about you, but it sure makes me rethink my desire to receive any form of glory.

In fact, more than anything else, it makes me want to give Jesus even more glory.

Thank you, Jesus, for going through an agony I can’t begin to comprehend because of your great love for me. Please forgive me for the many times I desire recognition and glory, and instead help me to glorify you more everyday. Amen.

© 2017 Stacy Voss