Once, when I was 10, I was visiting the water park section of a big amusement park and got a 3 inch wood splinter lodged in the bottom of my foot while on their boardwalk. I screamed bloody murder. Splinters are annoying at best and miserable at worst. No one ever likes to get them yet I think everyone around the globe has suffered through at least one. Why else does every drug store cell tweezers?
There’s something about a splinter that’s really lodged…you always know it’s there. You can’t forget it. It keeps reminding you over and over of its presence and if you’re like me you usually stop everything else to deal with it until it’s gone.
Easter is just a few days away and while you are preparing your heart to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus let me offer you a few spiritual splinters I’ve received from the Easter season.
1. The shouts of the crowd were my shouts.
It’s so easy to get comfortable with the Easter story. The people celebrate his coming but then quickly turn on Jesus. They call out for his death. As I read that story I’m tempted to think how foolish those in the crowd were. But as I begin to walk down that road in my mind I feel a sharp prick in my heart. It’s a spiritual splinter. It’s reminding me that those words were my words. That if I had been there I would have shouted too. In fact, for many years in my life I shouted “crucify him” every day with my actions. That prick hurts. I can’t get around it. But it’s good in the sense that the pain causes us to make sure we’ve dealt with the problem. This week as you read the story don’t forget that apart from the grace given by Jesus we could only identify with the crowd.
2. The cross of Jesus was my cross.
Here I am talking about spiritual splinters when Jesus carried the own means of his execution up the hill to die. Here again we read the story with so much familiarity that we hold ourselves up and think for a moment that, had we been there, perhaps we would have been like Simon. Simon was picked, at random, from the crowd to carry Jesus’ cross up the hill when Jesus could no longer continue on his own. But then there’s that prick in my heart again. Don’t we get it. Jesus was our Simon. The cross he bore on Calvary wasn’t his cross it was mine. My sin had sentenced me to death, but Jesus stepped in and took my place. Jesus died when I should have died. Let’s remember this Easter who died on whose cross and come once again with thankful hearts to the feet of our risen Savior.
Splinters are pesky but sometimes they can be helpful. They remind us to take care of the wounds. I don’t know what kind of wounds you have this Easter but let me encourage you to deal with them. Maybe you are struggling to understand what a real relationship with Jesus is all about or maybe you’re just trying to keep the meaning of Easter fresh in your life. Either way don’t ignore those pricks in your heart. …Back when I was 10 and I got that really big splinter, you know what happened?… A park nurse pulled it out and patched me up and before I knew it I was as good as new. That’s what Christ wants to do. Pull out the pain, patch up our lives and make us new.
HE IS RISEN!