Stacy Voss

See life differently. Live courageously.

Tag: Easter (page 1 of 2)

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.

 

 

 

Forsaken: The Curse of Easter

Forsaken

Forsaken

If someone has committed a crime worthy of death and is executed and hung on a tree,the body must not remain hanging from the tree overnight. You must bury the body that same day, for anyone who is hung is cursed in the sight of God. In this way, you will prevent the defilement of the land the Lord your God is giving you as your special possession.” Deuteronomy 21:22-23, NLT, emphasis mine

Did you read the verse above? No, really read it. It’s a verse so profound that when someone told me about it, I immediately had to look it up. I mean, Good Friday is bad enough knowing that Jesus took the sins of the world upon himself. Surely, He didn’t do it in a way that would cause him to be under God’s curse, right? Wrong!

The phrase “hung on a tree” isn’t limited to a noose-type death. It means any form of wood, including a wooden cross. The premise is that this form of capital punishment was so grotesque that the body had to be taken down before the birds could peck at the decaying corpse or the wind or elements could do their thing.

For anyone who is hung is cursed in the sight of God.”

Makes me shudder to think of Jesus, the Messiah, being cursed by the very one He’d enjoyed sweet fellowship with since the beginning of time. With this in mind, reflect on the last words Jesus spoke before He died:

At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46, emphasis mine

Forsaken by God. It’s an event many of us fear, thinking we might do something so grievous that God will turn His back on us, yet the reality is He won’t. Hebrews 13:5 offers us a promise that couldn’t even be given to the Son of God:

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Why would God forsake Jesus and not us?

Simply, because Jesus took all of our sins upon himself as he hung on the cross. The filth of all our evil desires, the hurtful things we say, the ways we–or can I just say I, for my gunk is more than sufficient to have caused all of this–try to make myself god and forget to magnify the One who is most deserving of glory.

It all clung to Jesus.

And in that moment, that’s all God could see.

The blackness of it was so profound that God had no choice but

to turn His back.

On His beloved Son.

And let Him die.

An agonizing, undeserved death.

The enormity of these truths are so powerful that I sit here in stunned silence, unable to add any more words to the most unthinkable, selfless act of love.

Let’s dwell on these things together as we prepare our hearts for Easter.

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© 2017 Stacy Voss