And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” – Revelation 21:3-5
I watched the Passion of the Christ last night. I’ve seen the movie several times, but I still find myself moved by the powerful portrayal of the great sacrifice Jesus made on that horrible day. One scene in particular strikes a chord with me, prompting me to think more deeply about the personal nature of Christ’s actions.
Allow me to admit right up front that this scene is found in the Gospel according to Mel Gibson. According to the Scriptural accounts, this didn’t happen. Christ is making His way to Golgotha; betrayed, beaten, humiliated, and struggling under the enormous weight of the tool that would be used to end His life. Following Jesus along the route is His mother Mary. As you would expect from any mother, Mary is terribly grieved by what her beloved Son is being put through. She runs ahead of the procession, wanting to get close to Him to help Him in the only way she can – by letting Him know she’s there.
As she waits along the road, Jesus appears. Weakened by the beating and the exertion, He stumbles and falls. Lying on the ground in agony, we are shown a flashback to Jesus’ childhood – a time where as a little boy He trips and falls. As any good mother would, Mary rushes to her child, wraps Him in her arms and simply tells Him, “I’m here.” Overcome by this memory, expressing the great love that only a mother can hold for her son, she once again rushes to her fallen child. The guards, the crowd, the chaos – it all fades away as she kneels before Him, gently lifting His head and tenderly reminding Him – “I’m here.” It is as touching a moment as the movie can provide. Tears well up and heartstrings are tugged. But it doesn’t end there. That’s merely the human side of the story, and this tale is centered around the powerful love of God. Jesus, the son of Mary and the Son of the Most High God returns her meager offering of love with something far greater than the human mind could devise. Paraphrasing Revelation 21:5, Jesus looks up at Mary and declares,
“See mother, I make all things new.” (Click here to watch the movie clip)
All things new. Throughout this entire ordeal, Christ knew that His purpose was to set things right, to change the direction of man’s destiny from one headed toward destruction to one culminating in joy – from prison to paradise. His statement shows the depth of the love that He has for His people. His sacrifice represents the crown jewel of God’s plan to earn back the part of creation He loves above all others. It is another amazing thought, another gift unlike any gift ever given. But once again, it doesn’t end there. As I sat in church yesterday, praising God once again for this great gift, I was given yet another truth to consider – and this last piece is without question the most important part of the Easter story that you and I must know.
Bishop Ben Gibert of Detroit World Outreach shared the story of a conversation he once had with his mother. As a child, he was celebrating Jesus’ Easter victory by saying Christ rose to save all of mankind. He wasn’t entirely wrong, but his mother wanted him to see it from a different perspective. So again, with the love that only a mother can know for her son, she reminded him that there was more to that story than Christ dying and rising to save all of mankind – Christ died and rose to save you. You. Individually, personally, and specifically you. The truth of it is this: even if every other person in the history of our planet refused the gift, Christ still would have done it all for you. This wasn’t a store bought, one size fits all, generic, mass produced act. It was a personal gift, given out of a sacrificial love deeper than we could possibly comprehend. What greater act of love has there ever been? What greater act of love could there possibly be?
As the memory of this year’s Easter holiday fades, remember that by His death and by His resurrection, He has truly made all things new.