Last night I preached on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is no more a humbling experience than for one to preach on the crucifixion. It is an emotional task, one that makes you weak, one that makes you cry. I do not believe that one should preach the death of our Lord dispassionately. Each of the gospels builds to it with deep emotion. The weeping women who meet Jesus on the road to Calvary. Jesus beholding his mother. The centurion declaring, “Truly, this man was the Son of God.” The immense suffering of our Lord! His scourging. The humiliation of the cross. His dying — his dying. The evangelists are consumed by Christ’s suffering. Without… it is difficult to explain… let me say that one must see the suffering of Christ in order that one might preach upon the crucifixion, that many might believe. The preacher must abandon himself to God. He must stand before the cross.
At camp last night (Camp Victory), I told the story of the widow and her son. This event, which Luke recounts, prefigures Christ’s own death. The Lord sees the woman and has compassion on her. I see in this story Christ on the ross, his mother weeping below. Of the seven sayings of christ, two are given to his mother and to John, who is then to care for her. Expanding on this thought, I told the campers that Christ cares for each person personally; that he died, not merely for his disciples, but for the whole world. And I asked the children if they believed. (“From the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky.”) I asked them to bow their heads and to pray with me. I asked them to raise their hands. (Can you see God being praised?) Many did, and some not for the first time. They repeated with me the sinner’s prayer and many tears were shed.
That was not me preaching, but rather the Spirit. And the Spirit gives me voice.
And so we are reborn, made anew and kingdom-bound. I thank God that he counted me worthy to preach his word. I feel broken. (Lord, change my heart that I might always keep my eyes on the cross. To you, Lord, I give thanks.)
- None Found