By The Reverend Bob Holland

This is the time of year when Christians focus on the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Spring is a season of new life as His followers remember how He suffered and shed His blood on the cross and after three days He arose victoriously from the grave. To be honest, holy week is not so much a jolly time of celebration but rather calls for serious meditation, humility, and being grateful for the precious gift of salvation. It is bittersweet because it’s never pleasant to imagine an innocent person being brutally tortured, but knowing that Jesus miraculously came back to life, is a demonstration of His infinite power and authority and why we are so filled with humility and joy. Jesus Christ demonstrated His passion by surrendering His life so that we could live. I admit I am an emotional person. I remember going to see the Passion movie when it was re-leased, and I was deeply touched, to say the least. It’s not uncommon for me to shed a tear when I witness something that moves my soul and this was no exception. Recently, I was watching a story about the “Make-a-wish foundation” and how they provide a way for very sick children to experience a happy but most likely last request and I cried through the entire program. As the scenes of what Christ went through were presented, I wondered how anyone could watch this and not be convicted. I’m not ashamed to wear my feelings on my sleeve. I have no desire to hide behind a mask to pretend I’m not spiritually discerning. I often write about how easy it is to become calloused by the harshness of life and the danger of losing the sensitivity of our conscience. I think about the life of Jesus and the reason why He came to earth which is explained so clearly in the sixteenth verse of the third chapter of John. I think about how He was betrayed by those He trusted and was denied by His closest friends. The religious community rejected His message as did the political system along with the demands from the general population, who eventually agreed to publicly execute Him for admitting He was the Son of God. Sadly, things have not changed that much. We know that Jesus existed, that He was an amazing teacher and had the power to demonstrate miracles, but it’s when He rose from the dead that proves He is truly the Messiah and sets Him a part from every other religion in the world. We notice that He was constantly approached by those in desperate need and it was His character to be concerned and compassionate. The world has always been filled with human suffering and He is always ready to respond with love and mercy. Being knowledgeable about the Bible is good but that does not necessarily mean that someone is following Christ. It is what they do with what they have learned that transforms emotions into spiritual obedience. When we see someone who needs help or even an encouraging word, what good does it do to just look at them with pity? Christ was always ministering to those who would reach out to Him by faith and two thousand years later He is still pouring out His grace and forgiveness to anyone that will call upon His name. As His followers, we have been called to focus our attention on becoming more like Him de-spite a troubled world that justifies walking over the wounded and being self-centered. His command to take up our cross includes letting go of our natural way of selfish thinking and willingly allowing Christ to be the hope of glory within us. The more we learn about His life, the more we realize that His love was more than words. As we meditate on His mission this week, His grace gives us a deeper understanding of who He is, and how He desires to live through us. The reverence and awareness of who Jesus is and why He came is heaven’s promise of eternal life, and it’s our responsibility to remain steadfast in our obedience to Him. Beyond the new clothes, the feasts, and the Easter festivities, may we give honorand worship to Christ that rescued us from being permanently separated from God. Dear friend, without being forgiven of our sins, we are carrying the weights and chains of misery and hopelessness. Come to Jesus today and He will set you free, save you, and be with you forever. Learn more about the Christian life at