The events in the life of Jesus bring meaning to the events of our own. Theologians call this Identification with Christ. I call it discoveringYour Easter I.D.
“One of the reasons we exhibit very little spiritual power is because we are unwilling to accept and experience the fellowship of the Savior’s sufferings, which means acceptance of His cross.” —A.W. Tozer
“May I see your I.D.?” These are familiar words to us today in our security-conscious world. Before boarding an airplane, the most important item we must have in our possession is some legitimate form of identification. Otherwise, we won’t be allowed on the flight.
Someday at heaven’s gates, we will be checked to make sure we have the correct “identification” as well. I call it our Easter I.D. When we have a correct Easter I.D. we live our lives in view of his, the way God wants us to—as “hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3).
The events in that final week of Jesus’ ministry on earth—the Garden, the Cross and the Resurrection—serve as a roadmap of reassurance for us. When we have a correct Easter I.D. we do more than simply believe in Jesus Christ; we identify with him and correlate the events in our lives to the events in his.
Christ crucified: He identified with us
Jesus’ life and ministry on this planet were all about identification—identification with mankind, with you and with me. From his humble manger birth to the wilderness temptations, he identified with our humanness, our struggles and our weaknesses. As the Bible says, “We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin” (Heb. 4:15, The Message).
Against the horrible backdrop of Christ’s cross, something glorious stood out like a brilliant diamond against a black-velvet display case. The harder Jesus’ body was hit with grief and torture, the more his radiant spirit shone, especially seen in the three prayers he prayed from the cross:
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
On the cross Jesus displayed such a loving perspective. Nothing is more loving, or more difficult, than forgiveness. Jesus looked into the faces of his mocking executioners and felt compassion for them. He looked beyond their cursing mouths and saw tongues yet untamed; He looked beyond the pounding of the nails and saw hammer-holding hands yet uncleansed; He looked beyond impassioned anger and saw hearts he came to save.
Jesus had every right at the cross to judge those men who wounded him, to annihilate them for their blasphemies and crimes. He chose instead to forgive. What we deserved was judgment; what we needed was forgiveness. Jesus forgave freely. The diamond sparkled, but few on earth even noticed.