A recent book by Charles Martin asks a simple question: What if it’s all true? “Years ago, I opened my Bible and began wrestling with this question: What if every single word of this story is absolutely true and I can trust it?”
Of course, I believe it’s all true, but I quickly lose the wonder at how staggering this truth really is, never more than the time leading up to Easter as Jesus moves, knowingly and deliberately, closer to the cross.
At our church, we’ve been working through Jesus’ Upper Room Discourse as we approach Easter. In a year of bad news, it’s been refreshing to see Jesus reveal his heart. I can barely get through a single pericope without having to put my Bible down, amazed at Jesus’ love for us.
Take just one example: Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. As Charles Simeon points out, this event isn’t just a single event in Jesus’ life. “We must see it as exhibiting in a very lively manner his general character.” It illustrates his incarnation, the whole tenor of his life including his death, and even his heart toward us in his exalted state. “There is no one upon earth so mean and vile, but this exalted Saviour is ready to visit him, to dwell with him, and to minister unto him: nor is there any office which he will not gladly execute for the good of our souls,” Simeon writes.
I understand this mentally, but at a different level I don’t understand it at all. How could Jesus be so kind to us? How is it possible that Jesus is so ready to serve us so freely, that he could love us so generously?
And that’s just one example. At each moment, leading to the cross, I’m overcome with who Jesus is and what he did for those who don’t deserve such kindness. I can’t get over it.
Time to Marvel
I sometimes find Christmas and Easter to be challenging times as a pastor. I blame, in part, the busyness. Both involve extra services, responsibilities, and pressures. But I also sense that it’s due to the weightiness of handling the profoundest truths — of not only grasping them ourselves, but preaching them so that others grasp them too.
Pastors face an occupational hazard. In handling holy things, we can lose our own sense of wonder at God and his grace. “I know how easy it is for serving God to replace knowing God,” writes Joe Rigney, even at a time like Easter.
So here’s my prayer for all of us — particularly pastors — this Easter. Set aside time to marvel at Jesus’ goodness to you. Find one Scripture from the week of Easter, and let it sink deep into your soul. Marvel at Jesus’ heart of love, and ask yourself, “What if it’s all true?” Because it is, and the truth is great enough, writes Edmund Clowney, that even angels peer “over the battlements of heaven to behold what God has done in Jesus Christ.”
Feed your soul on the riches of his grace this Easter.