One of the hardest things for me when I was struggling with Christianity was that age-old question: why did Jesus suffer and die… for me? I had thought of myself (and still like to think of myself!) as mostly a decent person. But, to lay down my life for someone else? That is something that I honestly would not willingly do, save for my closest family members, such as my children.
But Jesus? He laid down his life voluntarily for our sake, though we have pretty much have done nothing to deserve it. And why?
Because we are His friends and He loves us.
Don’t believe me? Check out this bible verse.
St. Paul later expands on this idea later:
So those are the bible verses that come to mind when I see this startling image by El Greco:
There are many, many images of Christ carrying the cross with Him in agony and pain, mind you, which are probably more accurate, honestly, considering the brutal torture that He underwent before He even began to carry His cross. But this image is wonderful in itself for different reasons… and not just because El Greco, one of the greatest Spanish artists ever, made it!
Just look at the little details. The cross seems larger than life, to the point where the clouds seem to part as the cross extends upwards. Christ’s eyes also look upward toward Heaven, with a gentle look on His face which suggests humble acceptance of His sacrifice. He knows what He is doing and why He is doing it. He is not being coerced into suffering, and instead freely accepts it.
And why shouldn’t He? After all, He loves us more than we can ever know. He is God, after all! And even death itself could not stop Him from loving us.
So, let us love one another and keep our hope in Christ! For their is no better thing for us to do in this world than to follow Christ.
Thank You for Your sacrifice and for bringing us into Your love. Give us the strength to follow Your commands and to love other people as You loved us.