I have thought a lot lately about why we as Christians feel such guilt over the crucifixion of Christ. Yes, His life was a sacrificial one. Yes, He suffered greatly. But to what end, truly? Did He die merely because we are sinners? Was His death simply a tool to guilt us into behaving better? Or was there more to the path He took through His death and subsequent resurrection?
I believe that Jesus came to the world to show us the way to truly follow Him. We get so caught up in daily life and worldly things that we tend to forget that there is more that lies beyond this world, beyond this life. We forget that we are made in God’s image, that within us resides the Holy Spirit. Which means we are destined for more. But we must be shown the way and taught what to do in order to become all that God desires for us. This was why Jesus came to live among us. We need this reminder that more exists for us than what we can perceive right now. And so although we mourn at the suffering and passion which Christ endured in order to teach us, I maintain that we must move past it and into the resurrection, which is the beginning of the journey to which Jesus invites us. We must follow the path He laid out for us, or else his suffering and death and resurrection truly mean nothing. And that would surely be something to feel guilty about.
My days are few, oh fail not with thine immortal power
to hold me that I quail not in death’s most fearful hour;
That I may fight befriended, and see in my last strive
thine arms to me extended upon the cross of life.
– “O Sacred Head Sore Wounded”
Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676)