Reflecting on Easter, I think of Jesus’ mother and the tears of joy and sorrow she shed throughout her Son’s short lifetime. For thirty three years, Jesus was misunderstood and mimicked, hated and heckled; yet, there were those who admired and adored, honored and heralded Him as best friend and beautiful Savior. Imagine the tears Mary and Joseph wiped when wondering what would happen to the Son they were given through a miracle. Imagine the tearful tragedies and joyous celebrations they experienced as Jesus’ example of love and leadership moved Him closer to the cross. His mother, some disciples, and scoffers watched Jesus suffer and die on the cross. Those who loved and believed in Jesus endured pain that turned to joy when words of life rang out joyfully…. “He’s alive”!
After His resurrection, Jesus did not call for a huge celebration or boast of His life after death experience. Instead, He chose to calmly join two men walking home after witnessing his death. They talked of the sad event… grieving the man they believed in, wondering why he had to die, and had no idea He was walking with them! They asked him to spend the night, knowing he was exhausted. Jesus agreed to go inside and dine with them. During their meal, Jesus broke bread and His scars visibly screamed in their hearts, “This man is Jesus. He is alive.” They didn’t believe until they saw His scars, then He disappeared. They went and told the rest of the disciples, but they did not believe them either.
Later, Jesus appeared to the eleven; He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart. He said unto them,
“GO into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe… So, then after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into Heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.” Mark 16
What an amazing love story! The greatest love story ever written in red that caused multitudes to cry during His lifetime and death, rejoice in His resurrection and ascension, and wonder why they did not believe in Him when He walked, talked, performed miracles, and taught ‘by example’ lessons of love relevant then and today in any language. Oh, the tears of heartache and happiness that were surely shed as Jesus left them to carry on the cause of Christ.
In Luke 22:62 we are told that “…he (Peter) went outside and wept bitterly.”
Have you wept lately? Last Wednesday during Holy Week, I wept with a dear lady who came to Tim’s Gift for a case of Ensure. She has come to Tim’s Gift for years as a prayer partner and to receive medical supplies for her brother. Now, she needs supplies as cancer treatments have taken a toll on her body. We anointed her and prayed as sisters in Christ who believe that God still works miracles of healing today! With clasped hands, we cried out for healing in the name of Jesus. She wiped tears and said, “Thank you so much; I needed that”!
Then, she told how her church family shared a story, from my column about her faith, with the congregation on Palm Sunday. Her sweet words and gentle hug humbled me beyond words, and I wept in remembrance of Jesus who died on the cross over two thousand years ago and we celebrated His resurrection on Easter Sunday - April 21st, Tim who passed away fourteen years ago on April 22nd - my daddy who passed away thirty six years ago on April 22nd, Kurt, my brother in law, who passed away April 21stand was buried on Easter Sunday eight years ago, and a dread pounded inside my heart as tears turned to sobs. Grandmother Baggett always spoke of having dreads and told us to pray them away when they hammered our heartstrings. Praying with Mrs. Jackson, a humble woman in need of healing who honors God and helps comfort others even in her travail- and knowing that my daddy, Tim, and Kurt who all passed in April are celebrating along with James, my mother, sister, and other loved ones ‘gone on to glory’ chased my dread away.
My remembrances of Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter remind me how much I love THEM (loved ones in heaven and here, plus people God puts in my path) and THEE (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and how much they love me. Also, I’ll remember tears shed this Easter that have soothed my heart and shown me the power of conviction and cleansing in the name of Jesus!
Tears still trickle down my cheeks while typing this closing by Max Lucado, a gifted Christian writer shares his take on ‘tears’ at the cross where Jesus died.
“There was on group in attendance that day whose role was critical. They didn’t speak much, but they were there. Few noticed them, but that’s not surprising. Their very nature is so silent they are often overlooked. In fact, the gospel writers scarcely gave them a reference. But we know they were there. They had to be. They had a job to do.
Yes, this representation did much more than witness the divine drama; they expressed it. They captured it. They displayed the despair of Peter; they betrayed the guilt of Pilate and unveiled the anguish of Judas. They transmitted John’s confusion and translated Marys’ compassion.
Their prime role, however, was with that of the Messiah. With utter delicacy and tenderness they offered relief to HIs pain and expression to HIs yearning.
Who am I describing? YOU may be surprised.
Tears! Those tiny drops of humanity. Those round, wet balls of fluid that tumble from our eyes, creep down our cheeks, and splash on the floor of our hearts. They were there that day. They are always present at such times. They should be, that’s their job. They are miniature messengers on call 24 hours a day to substitute for crippled words. They drip, drop, and pour from the corner of our souls, carrying with them the deepest emotions we possess. They tumble down our faces with announcements that range from the most blissful joy to darkest despair.
The principle is simple; when words are most empty, tears are most apt.”
I hope your Easter was filled with happiness and honor for our Lord, lots of love and laughter, tons of food, fellowship with faithful family and friends, amazing worship and wonder for God’s Son who shed His blood for you and me… and TEARS of joy - for we know the rest of God’s Love Story!
( I am leaving Tim's Gift to go to visitation for Durwood Boney...so many people are being called home and felt led to send this story to yall. I hope it touches you as it did me. I'm still crying! I thank God for Dwight, who celebrates another birthday (Praise God) next week and Billy, who is home after more hospital stays than most will ever experience and they are both MIRACLES! We are all so blessed; I thank God for LIFE and our Big Happy Family! Happy Easter!