Jesus is amazing.
And I mean that in the most awe-inspiring way.
Recently, in a conversation I had with my husband, I shared that as someone who feels they have been called to encourage others, it is difficult when those I’m trying to encourage don’t listen to what I have to say. I opened up about how it was not only hard seeing a specific friend struggle, but it was even more difficult when they shut me down as I tried to encourage them.
During this conversation and both my husband and I sharing our thoughts about it, my mind turned to Jesus and His time on Earth.
I thought of how Jesus came for a people who wouldn’t listen to Him and that if anyone understood what I was feeling, it had to be him. He came to share the Light and to give all of Himself in human form. He loved with all that He had and showed this in a variety of ways by being in the community: eating with them, listening to them, healing them, and teaching them. He was God-in-flesh who came and showed us how His love is not far away or even unattainable, but His love is right with us in every moment.
I couldn’t imagine how He must have felt when the people He came to show His love to rejected and refused His love. How did He endure it? How could He give His all and invest His time, His love, His heart into people who would eventually crucify Him?
My mind cannot even fathom that kind of love! I was hurt by only one person, but Jesus came not just for one person but for a whole nation, a whole planet of people.
On Easter Sunday (and perhaps even today if you attend a Good Friday service), we read passages of Jesus being beaten, carrying the cross, dying for us, and then being raised from the grave on the third day, but this is the first Easter where I fully comprehended how much Jesus endured as He walked to his supposed death. While I was deeply discouraged and low that this friend didn’t hear my words, I was overcome with an overwhelming sense of awe that even if Jesus was hurting for those who had turned away from Him when all He gave was His everything, He continued to love them by walking to the cross.
I think back on an episode of Violet Evergarden where Claudia Hodgins, who watches over Violet, told her in a mix of pity and compassion that she was on fire due to her past actions. Violet argued that she was not on fire and didn’t understand what he meant by telling her so, but Hodgins assured her that one day she would come to understand exactly what he meant.
And in one of my favorite scenes that makes me cry every time, she comes to the realization of what Hodgins meant, that she is indeed on fire and has no way to extinguish it.
If you read my post on anime characters I want to hug in real life, Violet Evergarden was one of my choices because aren’t we all like Violet in this regard, on fire because of actions we made that brought death and destruction to those around us, no matter how noble the cause?
Okay, maybe not that intensely, but how many of us have said something hurtful to a friend, were envious of what someone had, or jealous of another’s success? I can’t even count how many times I’ve done all of those on both hands!
We, too, had our own fire that was burning us even if we couldn’t see it.
But Jesus did see it, and yet He loved us anyway.
Jesus saw the fire in each of those who beat and abused Him as He went to the cross and endured torture because He wanted to free us. He wanted to show us what real love is by giving us living water that would not only extinguish our flames but give us life. And when He rose on the third day, He did that and more.
May we reflect this Easter on the living water that refreshes our souls and arises to the challenge that we will listen the way Jesus listened and we will comfort the way He did.
That doesn’t mean to put ourselves in hurtful situations, but if we are feeling prompted by the Holy Spirit to not give up and walk away from those who refuse our love, may we listen to that prompting and continue to love and show the greatest love of all: Jesus.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
—1 John 4:10-12