Journey with Jesus Lent Devotional – Easter
by Sheila Sekela
Easter is such a time of mixed emotions for me. “He is risen!” What a glorious declaration on this side of the first Easter, huh? But, oh, all that our Lord had to go through to get to the other side of that cross. Jesus’ Passion Week just breaks my heart for Him and for those who loved Him while He was incarnate. To understand the magnitude of our salvation, though, we cannot shrink back from Christ’s suffering on the cross.
Do you want to know my favorite part? Jesus’ compassion for those around Him as He suffered on the cross brings me to my knees. I won’t go into all He was suffering physically, though it is nearly unimaginable. In the very midst of all that suffering, however, He noticed Mary standing there with John and made sure His mom was going to be taken care of. I guess that is somewhat understandable since she was His mother. The amazing thing is that He forgave the thief crucified beside Him, even as He was bearing that man’s sins in His own body. Even more amazing, He forgave those responsible for His suffering. “Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
What amazing grace, huh? Suffering pain, humiliation, injustice, and abandonment, His heart was still a servant’s heart, a savior’s heart. His focus was on His mission—to bring to everyone the possibility of reconciliation with God. It wasn’t an abstract thing, a group thing; it was very individual and relational and personal. He came to save the whole world, and at the same time, He came to save the thief. He came to save me. He came to save you.
How comforting to know that no one is beyond His grace: not the thief, nor the crucifier, nor me. Nor you! If you have never received that grace, you absolutely can right now. If you already have, yet struggle to rest in it, please know His grace is for you every moment of the day. Jesus suffered and died for that very thing, and you can’t really mess it up. We can all live grateful for His grace, love, and forgiveness.
Do you let your sin, the sin in your life that is really persistent and so difficult to overcome, rob you of the peace of knowing you have been saved by grace? Let me encourage you to take comfort in the love and compassion of our precious Lord. That doesn’t mean you don’t continue to tear down strongholds of sin in your life. “For it is written, be holy, even as I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). Just know that as you grow in holiness, you can go to Jesus for grace, forgiveness, and help to become more like Him.