A while ago, I read the most incredible series that literally changed my life. I know, that sounds dramatic. :) It's the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers.
If any of you have spent time with me recently, you know how much I talk about these books. Probably to the point of being obnoxious.
But the main character, Hadassah, astounds me. Actually, everything about these books impacted me. They take place in 70 AD, just a few decades after Jesus died on the cross. The details included in these historical fiction books make the entire Bible come alive. When I read Romans now, I can picture Rome. I can visualize the wickedness, the idolatry and the promiscuity in this vulgar society.
When the book takes you to Corinth, all of a sudden, everything in the books of Corinthians seems truly legitimate. The call for purity and holiness was urgent and necessary.
But, the best part of the book was the story of forgiveness. **Don't worry, I won't give anything away, since I'm sure you'll want to read these books!**
We all know the story of when Judas betrays Jesus. I couldn't even tell you the first time I heard the story, but I would guess around the age of 6 or 7. Either way, the meaning was lost on me back then. And I somehow lost the imapact of the story. Every time afterward, I read about Judas' betrayal and it came as no surprise. I expected it. So it was almost like the emotions were removed from my experience. I didn't really think about how Jesus felt when one of His best friend's chose to turn Him in to the Pharisees, ultimately leading to His death on the cross. Did Jesus feel unloved? Used? Inadequate? Insecure? Even being fully God, Jesus was fully man. So he felt all the emotions we do.
In the Mark of the Lion, there is a betrayal not unlike what happened to Jesus. And this time, I didn't expect it. For the first time, I really imagined the situation. I could picture Jesus' face when Judas kissed him on the cheek. I could see His gentle eyes, filled with sadness. I felt His heart aching in His chest. Even the tears stinging His eyes.
Jesus had been innocent and pure, but still, He hung on a cross until death. For us. At any point, He could have called down a legion of angels. We wouldn't have stood a chance. But, He chose to be the final sacrifice. Our Savior. He destroyed death, so that we could spend eternity with Him.
Us. You and me. Even though we ridicule and mock Him, dishonor and disobey Him.
Isn't there so much glory in that? So much LOVE.