He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.
By his wounds you are healed.
1 Peter 2:24
At this most sorrow-filled time of the year, we gathered together for worship and reflection. Following Jesus from His final meal with His dear friends, towards the humiliation and pain of His crucifixion, how could our hearts not break under the weight of grief and pain.
Moving between four stations, we read and chose a description of Jesus either closest to our hearts at that moment or one which we needed most reminding of. Whether we need hope, protection, companionship or forgiveness, the answer to every human need can be found in Him. We reflected on the truly humbling act of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet – a moment when, facing the imminence of unbearable agony, His parting act was one of service, cleansing and love. Facing the cross, we too faced the reality that it is our shortfalls which created the need for this – the ultimate expression of love. His wounds for our healing. His death for our life. Finally, we sat, knelt, lay before the words of Isaiah (53:5):
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We allowed ourselves to be immersed in the true, complete meaning of this moment – we are healed, we are whole, we are His.
Jesus we trust in you. Your ways are higher than our own.
With the hindsight of 2000 years, we know the cross is not the end. We know there is a world beyond this moment; a world of freedom, of unending hope and joy. But as the hiding disciples lowered their eyes in shame, we cannot assume they felt any of these truths. As Steph so beautifully shared, they surely in that moment must have recalled the events of only hours before when their master had lovingly washed the feet at which they now stared. The reassuring words of Jesus that, yes, He would be killed but ‘on the third day he will be raised from the dead’ (Matthew 12:23) were lost in the pain of Golgotha. As we ourselves knelt at the cross last night, the weight of our sin which required this greatest of sacrifices was almost tangible. The thought that so often our words and actions take us as far from Him as His friends who ran and hid that night, threatened to overwhelm.
But only for a moment. Sunday is coming. This cross, this tomb, this death cannot hold Him.
It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming. Has come. He is with us, for all time, in every circumstance. His wounds have set us free and, to the end of time, we will praise Him for it.
We’d love you to join us on Sunday to celebrate the wonderful hope and joy of Easter. We’ll meet, as usual, at The Dean Trust at 10.30am.