In the past, I’ve often mocked the disciples for not anticipating (and for not understanding the reason or the necessity of) their Lord’s crucifixion. We are told that Jesus predicted his death on multiple occasions, and I can easily picture the disciples nodding their heads as if they understood—but when it came time for Him to die, it was clear that this was not the outcome they’d expected.
First, the disciples’ reaction should say something of the human qualities that we share with them—that we too may know God’s Word to be true and yet struggle to believe it in our hearts. That being said, I’m not quite sure the Lord expects anything different from us in these dark moments. For although Jesus scolded his disciples on many occasions, He did not shame or berate them for expressing genuine grief at His death.
But it also shows that Christ’s death was not an easy pill to swallow for his followers—not then, not now. Lest we are tempted to forget why He came to earth in the first place, God gave His Son the Name above all names; one that still holds the same weight and power for those who embrace him today: “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save his people from their sins.” And I don’t think a rose by any other name would have smelled as sweet.
As this Easter approaches, I would like to invite you to consider with me the following question:
Why (should) we still struggle with Christ’s crucifixion?
“Perhaps the sacrament of communion is a reminder that our suffering Savior will always be a hard pill to swallow. A crucified God was and is a foolish notion; a sharp rock upon which the world stubs its toe.”
“Sometimes I catch myself making the death of Jesus out to be a gorgeous painting. I stand before it, contemplating the depths of mystery and meaning behind each swath of color and think, But of course, it had to be that way. His self-sacrifice is so ripe with beauty, so filled with portent and etched with glory. But while its design may appear obvious to us now, we must remember how absolutely senseless it felt to those who followed Him then. The disciples’ disillusionment shows just how wrong, ill-timed, and unpoetic Christ’s death was at the time.
That next morning in the upper room, the disciples were not nodding at each other in meaningful knowing. There was no burst of inspiration where Christ’s prophecy was illuminated, giving way to sparkling anticipation of His resurrection. No, I would imagine their Lord’s death felt more like a Band-Aid stripped off a gaping wound or like a hard green fruit snatched from a tree—like a child taken by a sudden, irreverent illness. It was nothing short of terrible and traumatic.
Perhaps the sacrament of communion is a reminder that our suffering Savior will always be a hard pill to swallow. A crucified God was and is a foolish notion; a sharp rock upon which the world stubs its toe. And for those of us who continue to follow in the shadow of His cross, even though we already know how the story is supposed to end, Christ’s death still represents the confusing and unexpected—those unsettling moments when we aren’t quite sure that everything will turn out all right after all.” (excerpt from the article linked below)