“I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”
John 16:28 (NIV)

It’s Easter week. For Jesus and His disciples, a week of sorrow, suffering, and grief. But then Sunday came and it turned into a week of victory, joy, and revelation. I love that Jesus warned His disciples about what was coming before it happened. I’d like to think He warned them to prepare them to handle His departure well. But looking back, I don’t think that was it. 

They didn’t handle His arrest well. Peter cut off a guy’s ear, everyone else fled, then Peter lied about even knowing Jesus. After His crucifixion, they hid themselves away. I admit, I’ve been there. When a deep grief hits  you, that’s our natural reaction. Take cover, choose a few who are sharing in your grief, and hide from everyone else. 

Hindsight is 20/20, and I think this is why Jesus gave them the heads up. Not so they could handle His death well, but so they could handle His return well. So they would know without a doubt that He was in control the entire time. 

It didn’t look like God was in control when they arrested Jesus. It didn’t look like He was in control when they beat Him. It didn’t look like He was in control when He was nailed to the cross. And it didn’t look like He was in control when He cried out in despair from the cross. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

The words still pierce my heart. I have felt forsaken in my grief and suffering. Even Jesus felt alone on that cross. It didn’t look like God was in control. It didn’t feel like God was in control. It didn’t feel like a win.

God’s plans don’t look like our plans. His love doesn’t look like our love. The reason is simple, God is God and sees more than we can. He knows more than we know. He takes into account every soul that will be touched along the way. 

Jesus is the perfect example. Our first human instinct is to protect ourselves and our loved ones. When struggles arise, we’ll often sacrifice our own comforts, luxury, or safety to help others. Rarely, will a loving parent freely send their child into harm’s way knowing they will suffer horribly and die an agonizing death. 

But God did. Jesus was with God in heaven. God willingly sent His Son to earth to live a human life that would end in agony. Jesus willingly gave up all the perfection and luxury of heaven to be born in a manger, work as a carpenter, travel dusty roads, be rejected by many, abandoned by His friends, and killed by the very people He came to save. 

Pain and death looked like a loss to every human who watched. But God didn’t stop there. He saw beyond the cross to the people who would find life in Him. Jesus was willing to sacrifice His life because He saw your face on the other side. 

Jesus came from the Father. He died for you. He returned to the Father. He paves the way for you to join Him in the Father’s presence. This is the purpose of Easter. Bringing you home. 

Father, thank You for sending Your Son to die for our sins. Thank You, Jesus, for giving Your life so we could have life. We thank You and praise You for who You are: The giver of life, the creator of all things, the King of the world. You arose victorious and lift us up as Your forgiven, chosen children. Help us to live worthy of the name, Child of God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Spread the spark of hope everywhere you go,

Michelle

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