One of my favorite spots in Israel is a beautiful garden located near the ancient city walls of Jerusalem.
We can’t be certain, but we think it is the likely spot for the tomb of Christ. Just outside the garden is a hillside that looks a lot like a skull. Golgotha? We think so.
The garden tomb is marked with a cross and has been marked since ancient days. Is it the tomb of Christ? It could be. At the very least, it is a tomb like Christ would have been buried in. We will never know because it is empty of bones. That might be the most important proof for that tomb. It’s empty.
John chapters 18–20 tell the story of Easter. The cross is central to our Christian faith, but we usually save those thoughts for the weeks surrounding Easter. However, the message of the cross is one we should consider every day. That message is especially helpful for the busy, often sacrificial years that it takes to raise our kids to be adults.
Your Kids Will Always Be Your Kids
My kids are changing diapers and trying to keep their youngest children from putting gross stuff in their mouths. Soon, they will be running them to school, washing uniforms before their games, and trying to remember where the birthday parties are being celebrated. Then come the years with important lessons about consequences, cell phones, dating, and choosing a college and career.
One day, you will attend their weddings and later watch your kids try to keep gross stuff out of your grandkids’ mouths.
When the doctor handed you that baby, you became a parent -- forever. The years you have your kids at home are the busiest, most challenging, and most abundant years of your lives. But, there will never be a year that you don’t think of yourself as someone’s mom or dad.
There is an eternal message for all of us, from the cross.
The Highest Form of Love
Jesus gave his life so that we could give life to our kids.
One of the things Jesus sacrificed was the privilege of having a family so that your family could be together, forever. The cross is a message of suffering and sacrifice. But when Jesus gave his life for everyone, he gave up all that his own life could have been. That is a message to all of us who love our kids, passionately and sacrificially today.
We have a great example of a parent’s love, from the cross. It is sacrificial, and it is permanent. You will love your kids forever. But, will you have the privilege of loving them eternally?
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” When God watched Jesus go to the cross, he sent a powerful message to all of us. God would do anything to make sure we could be with him eternally. He loves his kids with the highest form of love, the sacrificial love of a parent.
This Easter, consider this important message from the cross. What will you need to sacrifice in order to love your children -- eternally?
- A job promotion?
- A reputation?
- Personal time or comfort?
These are tough, busy, sacrificial years of your lives. There are very few moments that aren’t lived with family priorities. But, the message of Easter is this: Jesus teaches that any sacrifice you make for your child’s eternal life is worth it. That’s what loving parents do.
Your Most Important Job as a Parent
When your schedule is crazy, the kids are fighting, the money is short, and you haven’t had enough sleep -- when you feel like parenting is the most difficult job you have ever taken on -- take a moment and visit the cross.
Look up and see the face of Jesus. Meet his eyes and experience his great love.
Does your life, with its sacrifices, still seem as difficult?
We sacrifice a lot for our kids. But then, we have a great example as our guide. Is there anything more important than making sure our kids know Jesus and live eternally?
The message of Easter provides our answer. Love them with the love of Christ and with his Easter message. Their eternal life is worth every effort, every choice, and every sacrifice.
Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
Our Easter message for parents is this: Jesus thought your children were worth his highest sacrifice.
Is that the cross your Lord would ask you to pick up and carry today?