why did He have to die?

It’s been quiet around here lately.

Partly because my body has – quite literally – been twice mended in the last two months.  Twice cut by surgeons, twice put under anesthesia, twice numbed and stretched and torn and steri-stripped and re-sewn.

I was happy to accept the first “mending,” if you will.  I had appendicitis.  I was feverish and in pain, nauseous and dizzy.  So when the nurse finally wheeled me into surgery after tossing and turning all night in the ER, I felt nothing but gratitude.

But I’ve had a harder time submitting to this second “mending” –

I had no noticeable symptoms – yet, doctors assured me that there was a mass growing inside of me, a “lump” (as I described it to my children) that might be more harmful than even appendicitis.

“But you don’t even seem sick…” my five-year-old reasoned.  “Why do you have to have surgery again?”

She couldn’t comprehend why something so drastic – so painful – so violent as cutting open my stomach would be necessary when I seemed…well…well enough.

That’s how I feel about the crucifixion sometimes.

During Holy Week, when we pull out The Passion of the Christ, when we gaze upon the frail face of Jesus dripping with blood, when we watch church reenactments of the flogging, the mocking, the flesh being torn from Jesus’ back, hands, and feet… a small voice in my head whispers, “Was this violence…this torture…this pain really necessary…when I feel…well, well enough?”

That’s the lie, isn’t it?

That I’m well enough.

That my sin isn’t as dark as Judas selling his friend’s life for money.  That my sin isn’t as painful as pouring vinegar onto Jesus’ cracked lips as he gasps for breath.  That my sin doesn’t require a sacrifice.

The suffering of Jesus doesn’t make sense – can’t make sense – until I face my own profound brokenness, until I sit face-to-face with my own selfishness, and envy, and self-righteousness, and pride.

I won’t be able to accept that God Himself needed to brutally die until I acknowledge the brutality tucked away in my own heart.

But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
Isaiah 53:3, NLT

He had to be whipped so we could be healed.

I had to be cut open so I could be healed.

So as I watch my Savior stumble on the road to the cross this week…I will look into my heart.  I will put on my surgeon’s gloves.  And I will take what’s hidden in darkness and pull it into His glorious light.




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