I am writing this on Good Friday. I have often reflected on the Cross in recent days. I think about the incredible pain Jesus endured on the Cross—not the physical pain, but the searing emotional pain He suffered when separated from His Father. The Trinity enjoys perfect oneness, intimate fellowship, unblemished love—for all eternity. The Father, Spirit, and Son are BFFs.
But on the Cross, the Trinity willingly separated, severing their eternal communion so we could join God’s family. Jesus knew what He faced at Gethsemane. He foresaw the agony of grief—the unimaginable pain He would suffer when the Father forsook Him—but He bore it all for the Father’s glory and to right the wrong of our sin. He didn’t just endure one death, but millions of eternal deaths—for us.
I have often thought these last two weeks of Jesus’ pain on the Cross—because in a small way I have had the privilege of sharing in His sufferings. I have felt the pain of my heart being ripped out, of the separation from my own BFF. During the early hours of April 3, 2014, my sweet, dear husband—father of our preteen and teen girls—walked without his cane into Jesus’ arms—and out of our lives until we reunite with him in eternity.
This pain reminds us of its source: sin and death. Jesus hated sin and its consequences. Even though He knew that He would soon raise Lazarus from the grave, Jesus wept at the utter devastation their brother’s physical death brought to Mary and Martha. Perhaps He wept in anticipation of the eternal deaths He would soon bear for us.
Death reigns today—Good Friday—but Easter is coming. The writer of Hebrews reminds us that we must keep our eyes on Jesus, “the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne” (Hebrews 12:2, NLT).
Jesus did not stay in the grave. Sin and death did not triumph. Jesus rose from the dead, His relationship with the Trinity restored! He endured the painful separation because He looked forward to a wonderful reconciliation.
Here’s the amazing part. Jesus did not just return to a seat beside the Father, He brought us along! The writer of Hebrews also tells us:
God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation. —Hebrews 2:10
Jesus endured far more pain than I will ever endure—and He did it for you and for me, so that He could bring us to glory! Jesus returned to the Father after the Cross—a joyous reunion, made all the more joyful because He brought us, His children, along.
Though my girls and I now experience the earthly pain of grief, we know that Rick no longer knows the pain of his broken body and spirit. We rest in the wondrous words of Revelation:
…I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” —Revelation 21:1-5a
My husband and I had my closest girlfriend read these words from Revelation at our wedding. We knew then that our marriage in some dim way should mirror the ultimate marriage of God and His Bride.
And I had the same passage read at my husband’s memorials. He now experiences the renewal of all things as He worships before His God, as he basks in the Father’s glory, as he lives beyond sorrow and pain.
The pain Jesus endured on that Good Friday thousands of years ago made this new life possible for my husband. Jesus took his sins—our sins—and willingly broke His own heart to pay the penalty of our eternal separation from the Trinity. He did this so that we might receive new hearts and enter into eternal relationships with the One True God.
Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, my husband and the Trinity now enjoy the eternal Celebration!
I cannot think of ANY higher calling than that which our loving Father has bestowed upon believers. He calls us to tell others this story, to share the truth that Jesus suffered so that they might be reconciled to His Father, now and for eternity.
Yes, my daughters and I feel deep pain and loss. But our pain reminds us of Jesus’ gift. Yes, we miss our husband and father, deeply. But we know that Jesus’ pain means we will one day meet again.