I was fortunate enough to spend Easter weekend attending plays portraying the life and death of Jesus. Though both obviously told the same story I was impacted by different aspects of each.
Friday, Good Friday, we went to Central to see their adaptation of Jesus. It was beautifully done with great effects and scenery. I enjoyed it but was really just a spectator as with any other play- until the crucifixion scene. Or maybe more accurately the earthquake after Jesus dies.
Jesus' cross much higher than the others and also rigged w/hydraulics. As those who know the story remember when Jesus dies the earth is darkened and earthquakes shook the land...the play had the cross shake for the earthquake and on it the lifeless body of Jesus.
There was something about seeing the dead body of Jesus shaking ever so slightly with the manufactured earthquake that struck me deeply causing me to gasp "thank you, thank you my Jesus. I'm sorry I'm so so sorry" realizing just what he went through for me. For me specifically.
He was beaten, mocked, spat upon, bloodied beyond human recognition and nailed to a cross left to fight for breath as his lungs collapsed under the weight of his own body to wash me of my sins against him.
I know all this on a daily basis but seeing it brought to life made me realize like the first time, exactly what this man, this Son of God did for me and what it cost and it broke my heart again.
The second play also beautifully done was at Mt. Ridge by my friends' church Potters Place. While their beating and crucifixion scene may have been longer and more detailed something else resonated with me.
They played the song "The Word Is Alive" by Casting Crowns while Jesus walked the streets healing people and teaching and performing various miracles ending with the healing of Jarius' daughter who had died just before Jesus reached her. I've read all those stories time and again but it was just beautiful to see them reenacted before us almost like we were in the crowds 2000 years ago as Jesus passed through and people pressed in for just a touch of his garment to feel that healing power. Being able to watch as Jesus (also known as my friend Ken) walked among the people talking, hugging and healing brought my Savior out of the sacred pages of the Bible and to life before me. It was just a play, but just like the other one, it was an opportunity to feel like Jesus was walking in flesh before us again.
I love Easter week because it brings us back to the truth that we know but so often neglect to reflect upon.
Jesus was here, he wasn't a story- lifeless words on a page. He walked the earth teaching, healing and dying- for you and me.
The beauty of this is that still , 2000 years later, his words teach us, the stripes he took upon his back heal us, and the blood he shed as he died for our sins delivers us.
The Word is Alive because Jesus lives, moving among us and we are free to approach him and ask him to intercede on our behalf. We can talk to him and hear his words speak life into our weary hearts. We can feel his presence as worship him for the King he is.
The Word is Alive, Jesus is Alive and because of that I am free and ever so grateful for all he did and continues to do.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.