By DR. BILLY HOLLAND
I admit I am an emotional person. I recall going to see the Passion movie a few years ago and I was disturbed to say the least. It’s not uncommon for me to shed a tear when I witness something that moves my soul and this was no exception. Recently, I was watching a program about the “Make-A-Wish Foundation” and how they provide a way for very sick children to experience a happy but most likely a last request and I cried through the entire program. As the agonizing scenes of what Christ went through were presented, I kept thinking how could someone watch this and not be deeply stirred in their soul? I feel the same way about the Chosen series. I’m not ashamed to wear my feelings on my sleeve and have no desire to act tough and pretend that expressing emotions is a sign of weakness. If we are not careful, we can become hardened by the harshness of life and lose our spiritual sensitivity.
Remembering the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ should be more than an annual holiday. For the Christian, it should be a constant awareness of His love. Once again we are bombarded with the celebrations of eggs, rabbits, baby chicks, baked ham, and new clothes that can be distractions from the focus of Christ suffering and dying on the cross and resurrecting three days later. The incarnation is another celebration where worldly traditions attempt to deflect and compete for attention. These holy seasons are a reminder of the gift of eternal salvation. We realize it’s never pleasant to imagine an innocent person being brutally tortured, but the fact that Jesus miraculously came back to life proves His infinite power and authority and why we are so filled with humility and encouragement. Jesus Christ did not just talk about love, He demonstrated His mercy and compassion by suffering and surrendering His life so that we could live.
When I think about Christ and the reason why He came to earth, it’s a comfort to know this was not a spur-of-the-moment idea, but rather it was a carefully planned mission by the Father to restore our fellowship with Him. Jesus willingly left the glories of heaven, submitted to His Father’s will, was betrayed and denied by those He trusted and mocked as someone delusional. The religious community rejected His message and the legal system along with the demands from the general population overwhelmingly agreed to publicly execute Him without a reason other than they hated Him. Sadly, these negative attitudes have not changed.
We notice that Jesus was constantly approached by those in desperate need and it was His perfect nature to be concerned and compassionate. The world has always been filled with human suffering and He is always ready to respond in love and mercy. Being emotional and even knowledgeable about the Bible is fine, but that does not necessarily mean that someone is following Christ. It’s what they do with what they have learned that transforms considerations into spiritual obedience. When we see someone who needs help or even an encouraging word, what good does it do to just look at them with pity? Christ was always ministering to those who would reach out to Him by faith and two thousand years later He is still pouring out His grace and forgiveness to anyone who will call upon His name.
As His followers, we have been called to focus our attention on becoming more like Him despite a troubled world that justifies walking over the wounded and being self-centered. His command to take up our cross includes letting go of our natural way of selfish thinking and willingly embracing His character and nature. The more I learn about His life and His message, the more I realize that I am far from being who I need to be. As we meditate on His truth, we are given a deeper understanding of who He is, and what He wants to accomplish through us. The reverential fear and awareness of who Jesus is and why He came to earth is our only hope and it’s every Christian’s responsibility to keep their spiritual eyes focused on Him. Beyond the festivities and the feasting, may we consider spending time concentrating on the one who loves us and came to save us from being lost forever.
Read more about the Christian life and check out Dr. Holland’s new book about miracles at billyhollandministries.com