Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:38-58, Isaiah 52:13 to 53:12, Matthew 27
Jesus didn’t want to die. It is at the same time the most comforting and most unnerving aspect of the Gospel. Jesus was fully God, and he was fully man. On “Good” Friday, He would face the most challenging day of his short life. Though he knew no sin, though he loved perfectly, despite his mercy, compassion, and devotion [or maybe because of ] he now faced false accusations and did not utter a word. As Isaiah had foretold, more than 600 years prior to this day, like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so the Savior of mankind would be silent and not answer his accusers. He had become less to be more, he was denying himself in order to transform the heart of man, his story was exploding forth from the act of self-sacrifice, the example that being right is not the pinnacle, and that life is more than the whisper that we desperately cling to.
O’ death, where is your victory, O’ death where is your sting – swallowed by triumphant life!
My life has always followed a path – peace like a river – that cuts through the landscape before me – my story exploding forth from my actions. Sometimes those actions were self-sacrificial, often they were self-serving. Not until my soul discovered its counterpart did I fully understand the gravity of life and death, the real-life act of self-sacrificial Love that Jesus so boldly defined through his life and teaching. I have become one flesh with another flawed human being, and together we have embarked upon the greatest adventure known to man – we have together made life. I have never been afraid to die – I am made whole in Jesus and am invited to enter into his presence [existence] upon my death – let’s go! However, God has revealed to me that life is not all about me. Have I done what is needed to secure eternity for my entire family – and not just them, but for my entire self? You see, no longer do I exist as just my SELF – I have intertwined my soul with another and through Love have become ONE. My death has forever changed from a personal encounter with God to a shared encounter with those God has joined to me. Jesus looked to God and said, “Why have you forsaken me? Is there another way?... Yeah, that’s what I thought… I Love you and I Love them… Let’s go!” I don’t want my family to ever hurt, feel pain, or die [even though I know they must and will] … I do, however, want my family to know God [LOVE] forever. God has revealed to my heart and my intellect – my soul – that death is the collective doorway to eternity.
For as long as I can remember, my biggest fear has been death. As a child I would have nightmares about my siblings dying with my attempts to save them to no avail. I would sob uncontrollably at the thought of myself dying. At twenty-six my life was turned upside down. During that year I lost both of my parents, all my grandparents, and an aunt. All of them would succumb to my biggest fear – death. It became up-close and extremely personal. There were no words spoken or hugs given that could bring me comfort – I was lost. When I was thirty-three, my life was changed once again. I met and fell madly in love with my husband. He challenged me physically, intellectually, and most profoundly, spiritually. I started to feel again. I rediscovered my heart and my soul. I learned of Jesus’ life, and then of course his death. When I read what he went through and think about death now, I see with an entirely new perspective. Jesus didn’t want to die, yet He knew that it was inevitable. He knew that there would be great suffering, and still he made the sacrifice for us all. Wow! Reunion Community, God’s Word [Jesus], my amazing husband, and beautiful children – they all bring me comfort when I think of death now. I am no longer lost because of what God has revealed to me… because I followed His call, and I found Him.
Todd and Amy Bookout
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Reunion Community Church is a non-denominational, Bible teaching Christian church located in Peoria, Arizona. We are centrally located to Surprise, AZ, Glendale, AZ and Phoenix, AZ just off the 101 Freeway and Cactus Rd.