Victim and Oppressor

Русский: Спас Отпечаток лика Христа на Туринск...

Jesus’ actions during Holy Week will be recreated and celebrated throughout the world this weekend. As we put on our recreations, we may add a little bit of “theater” to what really happened in Jerusalem. Forgive us…..we, as Christians get a little bit excited about Easter, plus we feel the pressure to make these events “move” unbelievers.

Have you ever watched an Easter production and thought it looked kind of “fake”; not quite like what would happen in real life?

The events of Holy Week happened in real time in real life. I have realized that the closer those events come to “home” in someone’s life, the more impact they have. I believe that is the reason that the movie, “The Passion of the Christ” had such an impact. Many abhorred its brutality, yet its fidelity to what really happened was what moved so many people. It brought the sacrifice of Jesus into our world and therefore, people felt it’s impact.

This week, many pastors are thinking of how to creatively bring the message of the death and resurrection of Jesus “home” to people’s lives. We don’t have to feel pressure to find a “new” way to give our message – we just have to be faithful to the original account. It carries within it the power to change lives.

Jesus lived His life among the common irritations of us all: dirt, sickness, summer heat, winter cold, etc. He also lived among the more powerful threats of life: thievery, murder, adultery, etc. Before His life ended, He was vilified, rejected, beaten, and stolen from. When He died, He was murdered among thieves in a place known to be a “killing field” for those rejected as imposters and blasphemers. His name was associated with those who were the “problem people” of society; liars, “scam artists”, rebels and the like.

He felt the sting of having His life railroaded by “politics”. He knew the pain of having His mother witness His humiliation. He felt the rejection of having His friends abandon Him at His moment of greatest need. He knew what it was like to pour into people and then see them scatter in their own self-interest. He was stripped naked in front of women and children. He was treated like an animal with no advocate working toward His humane treatment. He had to watch His enemy laugh at His predicament. He lost His position of influence. He was brutalized. He was degraded. He was hurt. He was lied about.

These are the things that bring the story of Holy Week “home”. As we see what He went through, we feel “connected” because we have experienced at least part of what He knew.

I also connect to this story in another way: I have treated others in at least one of the ways in which He was treated. I stand before Him as both victim and oppressor.

What a predicament this puts me in!

I feel both empathy and shame in His presence.

But, the story of Easter is a story of healing for both victim and oppressor. Jesus came to heal the wounds of the victim and to free them in Him. He also came to forgive the oppressor and give Him a new opportunity at life – a life free of guilt and condemnation.

The drama of Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday is powerful, not because of an actor’s portrayal but because it happened where I live. I know it intimately. It is my life.

This week, we will share this drama with a world that can relate. There is no need to “dramatize” what happened – it is their life. Trust God this week and share His life with everyone who will listen!

Happy Easter everyone!

May the pain of Good Friday and the joy of Resurrection Sunday fill you with peace  in our Lord Jesus Christ!


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