While I was in Israel, the message of the gospel and the passion behind it became extravagently more real and personal to me.
It was hard to wrap my mind around all the things I was seeing and experiencing. I found myself standing in the places where Jesus was, knowing that the sacrifices he made there were for me.
Knowing full well the agony ahead of him, he gave his “yes” to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane. He knew this was the only way to redeem my rebel heart back to himself. He was willing to pay whatever price was needed.
He was led away, arrested and placed in jail, awaiting a trial which held no basis of truth against him.
Pilate’s House: he was thinking of me there, in the place where he was whipped, beaten, mocked, and spit on. He was unjustly accused and condemned. Here in this courtyard I could almost hear the whips snapping on his back. I could almost see the blood and sweat flowing from his wounds, this picture of the full outpouring of his love for us drenching me in the most real and sobering way.
He took up his cross, surrounded by crowds shouting insults and hurling more false accusations at him. His legs collapsed under the weight of his beaten body and the burden of his own cross. He fell, three times.
I can just imagine being there in the crowd. I can hear the jeers and the laughter surge after each time he fell. But he kept going. His voice was silent. He knew full well the weight of what he was about to do. He was about to die the most brutal death, but not without reason. He was satisfied in his coming death, knowing that by this sacrifice he would “make many to be accounted righteous, and bear their iniquities”(Isaiah 53:11). He would die to make us righteous, even the very ones who were beating him, those who blatantly rejected him and handed him over to death.
He carried that cross to Golgotha for me.
As I stood on the street corner where Jesus fell for the third time, all of these thoughts and emotions crashed over me. I felt and saw the relentless love of Christ for me in a brand new light here.
I could almost see him, through his agony, lift up his weary, beaten head, look me in the eyes, and say, “You are worth it, Joanna. I will go to the farthest lengths that I must in order to win you back. I love you. I love you. I love you.”
I stood there on this spring day in 2017, redeemed, washed clean of my sin, safe, righteous, and full of hope all because of what Christ poured out for me on that very street over 2,000 years ago.
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)
He is love.
I am loved.
He is victorious and will forever be glorified.