Friday, April 3, 2015

C for Christ

Today is Good Friday and the letter for the A-Z challenge today is C.  I have wrestled with so many subjects starting with the letter C, but I keep coming back to this subject:  Christ.  So, I give.  Here it is.

The word Christ means "Messiah."  The word, "Messiah," is used by the Jewish Nation to name the deliverer of the Jewish Nation as promised in the Old Testament.  The word Messiah also refers to the leader or savior of a group or cause.  The word Christ represented the unknown personage who would be sent to save the descendants of Abraham in the Old Testament.  When Jesus came, his followers referred to him as Jesus the Christ.  This translates to Jesus the Savior or Jesus the Redeemer, Jesus the "Anointed One."

As a child, I thought Christ was Jesus' last name.  Like Robin Hogue, there was Jesus Christ.  I thought that somewhere out there there was a whole Christ family.  It wasn't until I was an adult that I found out the meaning of the word "Christ." I also never understood why we needed a Christ.  Why did He have to live and subsequently die for us?   Jesus was such an influential person that even other religions recognize him as a prophet.  This may surprise some, but even Islam recognizes Jesus as the al-Masih, or "Messiah." Christianity, Judiasm and Islam all predict a Messiah coming to save us all at some point in the undetermined future.  Christianity believes the Christ has already been here once and will return again. 

I am a Christian of sorts.  To be exact, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Some people don't think of us as "Christians," but I do.  My intent of this entry isn't to preach, proselytize or convert anyone.  I'm probably even going to say some things that won't be consider solid doctrine of my faith.  This is about what Christ means to me and the lessons I have learned about Him and why I need Him.

So, why did He have to live and die?  If he were, in fact, sent to us by our God or Heavenly Father, Allah, whatever you want to call your Higher Power, why did He then have to die.  Why did we need that?  Why was it necessary?  In my search for answers to these questions, I have come into some personal revelation as to why. 

The answer I have is simple.  Jesus "gets it."  He lived like we do.  He had to get up every morning, get dressed, tend to his hygiene, learn the family business and struggle with the day to day happenings as a human being on Earth.  I can only imagine that Jesus fought with his siblings on occasion, had bad days, fell down, scraped his knees, got splinters and felt hunger and thirst. The Bible tells of Jesus teaching in the temple at the age of 12.  Jesus not only had to live with the daily hassles of survival, he also had the burden of teaching, converting and saving all of us on Earth.  And he knew he was going to die for this. "To this end was I born."  Man, I thought I knew what pressure felt like, but that was a burden and a half.

So, in order for us to pay attention to what God says, we needed someone who knew us and what we were all about to tell us what God expected from us.  If you read and believe in the Bible, look at all of the prophets on Earth prior to Jesus.  We listened for a little while and then we all went back to our old ways of doing things.  We behave just like children of our Earthly parents.  As a mom, I find myself saying, "Why does nobody listen to me?"  or "If I have to tell you ONE MORE TIME, you will be in serious trouble."  I only have 5 children.  God has billions.  I often imagine God doing one huge facepalm when he sees what we are doing down here.  He gave us pretty simple rules.  Ten of them to be exact.  I have more rules than that for my children.  A LOT more.  We had one job:  follow those ten rules.  We can't even do that. 

Jesus came along and said, "Look.  I will live like you and I will follow the rules.  I will face all of your difficulties and still manage to do what I'm asked to do.  I know it's going to be difficult and I'm going to have to repeat myself a million times, but I'm going to show you how it's possible."  Jesus was one of "us."  For me, personally, it is comforting to know that He understands me.  He knows what it feels like to have people disrespect him.  He knows what it's like to want one more hour of sleep when he has to get up in the morning.  He knows what it feels like to work hard all day and still have to tend to the needs of his family.  Christ gave me hope.  I know that when I mess up here on Earth, he's up there with my Father in Heaven saying, "Dad, you have no idea how hard this is.  Trust me, she's doing the best job that she can."  I also know that I can talk to Him about anything and he can say, "I know exactly what you are saying."  His apostles even fell asleep in the garden when they were supposed to have His back.  He knows the exasperation I feel when I say, "Because I said so."  

He taught us how to treat others.  Not once did Jesus say, "I don't like what you are doing, so I won't talk to you."  He never refused service to anyone because of their beliefs.  Not once did he say, "I don't want you to listen to me or eat my food because you are a sinner."  He said, "Come follow me."  His one great commandment was to love God with all our hearts and love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  We can't even do that much.  But He knows how difficult it is.

So on this Good Friday, the celebration of the day that Jesus suffered and died on the cross, I want to tell everyone how thankful I am for Him.  He surrendered his life so that we would pay attention.  Would I believe his teachings if he died quietly of old age somewhere in a house surrounded by family and friends?  Probably not.  He suffered and died to show us that as long as we have faith, everything is possible.  We can endure so much more than we even know.  He died a spectacular death so that we would notice.  I am most thankful for the greatest gift He has given us:  life after death.  Because of Him, I know that death is not the end.  I can tolerate all of the losses here on Earth knowing that He will make all things new again.  There's no such thing as a hopeless cause.  He's begging for us to follow him.  He loves us so much that he died to show us what was possible.  

Are you paying attention?