In the Native section, we have this saying “If you don’t know, now you know.” And we use it mostly in comical situations. But that saying resounds so much when I think of all that I’ve learned this semester. Especially in my New Testament class. I thought I knew about Christ’s ministry on earth. I thought I knew all the miracles. I thought I knew all about His atonement for me. I had no idea.
About a year and a half ago I went to an Easter sermon at a local church in Albuquerque. It was an amazing service, no doubt, but the thing that got me the most was the video that Pastor Dustin showed in the sermon. He showed just about an 8 minute clip from the movie The Passion of the Christ. I thought I knew what Christ’s crucifixion looked like. I had no idea. If you haven’t seen this movie, I definitely recommend it, but be prepared for the mind blowing part of it and to be an emotional wreck. I truly thought that I knew all that Christ had suffered for me. He suffered greatly in the Garden of Gethsemane for me, He was spit upon, He had a crown of thorns placed on His head, and He hung on the cross for hours for me. But, even with all those unpleasant things, it all seemed okay. That might not sound right, but it all just never came into my mind that Christ would be disfigured and covered in blood when He was hung. But seeing this video changed my whole perspective. While some of the images are honestly so disturbing, and Christ is bloody and disfigured, I believe there is truth to this video. Seeing this video brought a while new light to how much Christ truly suffered for me.
Growing up in the church, I always saw such beautiful pictures of Christ’s atonement for me. There was no sign of abuse, or beating, or anything; just a peaceful and strong Christ. And while my God is peaceful and strong, He endured more than anyone ever has that day. It is said in Isaiah 52:14 that Jesus will be marred more than any man. My teacher taught me something amazing with that. In Hebrew, they do not put vowels into the writing, just consonants. The word “marred” in Hebrew with certain vowels in it means “marred,” and with others it means “anointed.” Isn’t that amazing?
Sorry, I just needed to throw that little bit of fact in there because I found it so interesting. But one thing that my teacher asked in the middle of the lecture when we were talking about the cross and the crucifixion of Christ is “Have we overlooked the cross?” Let me tell you, I certainly have. I always knew that Mormons didn’t wear the cross on their necklaces or jewelry or have it on the church for some reason, but I never really understood why. Now I know that we don’t do those things because we look at the symbol of the church of Jesus Christ not as the dead and dying Christ, but of the living Christ.
Despite that, I do think that sometimes the cross and the torture that Christ endured is overlooked. I wish that I had been shown the Passion of the Christ earlier in my life, so I could have had a better idea of what Christ suffered for me.
As I have said a number of times before and I have even stated in my video, Christ lived for us. He set the perfect example for us. He died for us. He was beaten, bruised, spit upon, abandoned, alone, crucified, and killed for us. He not only endured physical torture, but also emotional and mental torture in the Garden. Christ knows all my joys and all my sorrows. He knows exactly how I feel when I’m at my lowest of lows. He loves me. He died for me. And I have no idea why a perfect God would die for me when I am so imperfect. But I know it’s because He loves me. And Christ committed the greatest act of love for me, a sinner, because of his eternal love for me.
I thought I knew Christ and all He did on earth. But I had no idea. And I think I know all that Christ suffered for me, but I still have only an inkling of an idea of what He went through for me. I know what I know, but I don’t think that there is any way in this life that I will ever be able to wrap my small little mind around the immensity of God’s love, grace, and sacrifice for me.