In his book, Six Hours One Friday, Max Lucado writes of his experience as a college student spending a summer in Brazil and seeing the statue, Christ the Redeemer, in person for the first time. Though he had seen pictures of the monument in National Geographic, he quickly realized that no magazine could capture the splendor of the statue that stood ninety feet tall positioned on a mountain one and a half miles above sea level overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro. With camera in tow, he made his way up the mountain to capture the moment for personal posterity. As he looked through his telephoto lens, two ironies caught his attention. The first was blind eyes. No pupils to suggest vision; no circles to suggest sight. It was as though the sculptor intended that the eyes be blind. The thought raced through his mind, “What kind of redeemer is blind and unable to see the people around him?” The second was the open cloak with a heart shaped like a Valentine heart – but made of stone. Another thought raced through his mind, “What kind of redeemer has a heart of stone and not one of passion and love?”

Lucado goes on to surmise that many people may not admit to having a blind redeemer with a stone heart, but their actions show otherwise. For some, Jesus is simply a good luck charm – a picture on a wall or a statue glued to a dashboard. No need for a relationship, only a point of reference in a time of need. For others, Jesus is simply a deal maker. In exchange for attending church and enduring Sunday services, he provides blessings in this life and beyond. No commitment, no sacrifice, no service – only blind eyes and a stone heart.

The New Testament’s version of the redeemer is anything but blind and having nothing of a stone heart. With eyes of compassion, he looked down on a world condemned by sin, saw the pain and suffering, and took action to relieve us of our predicament. With a heart of love, he willingly went to a cross and paid the penalty for your sins and mine so that we might have the opportunity to have new life in him. What a savior! What a redeemer!

As we enter the Easter season, take the time to consider the wonder of the cross and the savior who stretched his arms out wide and said, “I love you this much.”

With a thankful heart,

Pastor Bill