I did a little experiment last night.
After reading through the passages in Scripture about what happened on the Thursday before Easter, I decided to try to get just a taste of what Jesus went through for you and me. That started in the Garden of Gethsemane, wherein Jesus prayed all night, asking for a way out, but also knowing that He would do anything to save His people.
So... I decided to pull an all-nighter.
I've never actually stayed up all night, not even at a sleepover. I don't think I ever will again. I was already yawning at 10:00 p.m. I pulled out my keyboard and did some composing/recording with garageband. I read the Bible. I watched the Jesus Film. I read some more. I shook my head and walked in circles around the room to stay awake. I listened to a sermon by Francis Chan. Or... most of it. Right near the end, I dozed off. Just long enough for the drop of my head to wake me up, but I dozed off none the less. Now I knew exactly why the disciples had all fallen asleep. This was nearly impossible.
By 5:30 a.m., I couldn't think straight, I couldn't even get up and walk around without effort. I just wanted to curl up on the floor. But my thoughts kept turning back to the reason I was doing this. Jesus did this. Jesus, after a small Passover meal, didn't rest all night. And unlike me, He spent the night in terror and fear, knowing what Friday would bring.
And then Friday came.
I slept from 6:00 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. I wouldn't have been able to function. But those 3 1/2 hours didn't get me completely rested, so continually throughout the day my exhaustion once again reminded me of Jesus. Beyond having no sleep, He did not have a chance to eat since Thursday evening. On no food and no sleep, Jesus suffered through one of the most horrific beatings, tortures, and deaths. Physically, it could not have been much worse. And the spiritual burden of sin that He bore is something that I will never be able to even simulate.
Am I being morbid? Here I am trying to model Jesus' sufferings and writing about these gruesome, terrible things. Why am I doing this? I am doing this because I don't ever want to take the sacrifice Jesus made lightly. I don't want to go through Good Friday and just sing songs about the "Old Rugged Cross" without stopping to think about the reality of that rugged cross. Why do I think that's important? Because it's not just "something Jesus did." It's for me. It's for you. Everything that He suffered is what you and I deserved. Every blow, every cut, every nail. That's what was coming for me, because that's what I deserved. I sinned. I disregarded God and His commands. I rebelled. And Jesus? He couldn't bear to leave me without hope. So He, knowing full well what the punishment would be, came and suffered it all. I will never be grateful enough. I can never thank Him enough. And if meditating on and experiencing just the slightest, minuscule taste of that suffering can cause me to praise Him more, then it is all worth it.
Behold the man upon the cross,
My sin upon His shoulders.
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there,
Until it was accomplished.
his dying breath has brought me life,
I know that it is finished.
I know that it is finished.