"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for her..."- Ephesians 5:25
I hope you had an enjoyable Easter! A time filled with family, church (maybe), food, and other activities. I hope it was a great time for you and your family to reconnect and possibly reflect on the resurrection of Jesus.
This Easter was different for me, but not due to activity. I worked with the youth from my church to do a Good Friday service. My family and I went to church Sunday and participated in worship. The weekend before we had a community wide Easter egg hunt. We went to our parent's house for dinner and family time. So, there was nothing really abnormal about my activities.
However, my thinking about the event we were celebrating shifted. For some reason I started to think of it from the perspective of being a father and a husband. These were two things Jesus never became, but His life was a reflection for both roles.
As I reflected on the cross and considered the sacrifice made by our Savior, I could not help but to look at Him through the lens of His Father. He saw His Son, who had done nothing wrong, who served with love, compassion, and mercy, who walked with the least and brought value to those who were pushed aside. Then, He had to watch as His Son was turned on by His Own creation and sacrificed for the cleansing and renewal of their very lives.
Then, I look to my son. My son who I tell every night before he falls asleep, "You are going to do great things someday." A son I look at with joy, love, and compassion. I know he is going to be great for God's glory...some day. I look at him and I imagine what the sacrifice must have been like.
You see, I know I would change for my son, if I needed to. I would be a stronger man for my son, if I needed to. I would die for my son before my son would die for me, if I needed to. Yet, I struggle to change for the Son of God who was willing to change to flesh for me? I am unwilling to strengthen myself in Him, when He was willing to become weak for me? I would rather Him die for me, than me die for Him? Really?
Then, I look at my wife. I love my wife. She is beautiful, smart, compassionate, strong, a woman striving to love and live to honor Christ, and she is mine! In my marriage, as a man, I am called to be strong and provide. I am called to love and encourage. I am called to lift up and empower. I am called to spiritually guide and support. Why? Well, because she is my wife.
Then, I turn to the cross on which my Savior died. I am called to love her, just as Christ loved the church. I am called to sacrifice myself to love, care, empower, nurture, support, and honor my wife.
This is how I need to love my wife. I may be called to be all the things I listed earlier, but ultimately I am called to sacrifice myself. This does not mean I lose my self or I don't have needs. In fact, this means my needs are met and I gain myself because I love her as I love myself.
Christ's sacrifice was a standard set for all of us. As I reflect on the cross, I see myself. My sin, my shame, hanging by three nails. Those three nails that held the weight of the world. Those three nails that showed me how to love and serve as a husband and a father.
This is Easter. Our redemption and reconciliation was found in the cross and the tomb. However, our standard for living with love, compassion, and sacrifice was set on that day as well. My Easter will never be the same.