The entire Christian story revolves mainly around one week in history. I think that is simply amazing. A week where many prophecies were fulfilled, Jesus gives up his body as a final sacrifice for all, and then he does what no other God or prophet has been able to do by rising from the dead. I think that grace is the unique quality of Christianity. Unfortunately, due to being human we cannot conceive of having something so life-giving without doing anything for it, so we have not spoken as much about grace. The truth of the matter is that the beginning of grace also includes the cross, the unique characteristic of living in Jesus.
Grace has many beginnings and one of those is due to the cross. You really need to understand that crucifixion was a means of torture and humiliation. It was Roman invention, not a Jewish one. The victims would be stripped naked (for humiliation) and nailed through their wrists and feet (For torture). It is believed by many that suffocation was the cause of death as the lungs filled up fluid. It was a slow and painful death that played out on a hill outside the city where everyone could walk by and see. This was Rome’s way of saying don’t make the same mistake.
I think it is safe to say that Jesus would rather be doing anything else than being crucified. I think sometimes we have this picture in our heads that Jesus was excited about the cross. We believe that since he talked about it and prophesied towards it, that he wanted it. That Jesus just couldn’t wait to be a sacrifice for all humankind. Well, there is a difference between living out God’s will and wanting what that may mean. If there is any indication at all that the thought of having to go through such horrendous torture was agonizing for Jesus, it was his prayer in Gethsemane. Jesus didn’t want to go to the cross, but He did want to do his father’s will. And for Jesus the will of God always won out.
Now back to Bobby. I knew that what my mom had suggested was the right thing. We both knew that this might not change anything in the fighting relationship we had. But sometimes you do what you don’t want to do, because it is the right thing to do. So we took our gift and headed across the street. I timidly knocked on the door and his dad greeted us. Needless to say that he was surprised, but in the moment of crisis there seem to be no memory of wrong and a strange absence of bitterness. I remember walking to his room, exchanging hellos, and handing him the gift we brought. We sat and listened as he told the story of his accident through heavily medicated and foggy eyes. He was grateful, you could tell and as we left he made a strong point to say thank you! It was the only time I was ever in his house. There was never another incident between us. And even through reluctance I learned that day not only what grace means, but what it looks like too. Grace begins with sacrifice!