My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But solely lean on Jesus’ Name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

than Jesus blood and righteousness.  Many know this familiar hymn by heart.  But that one line so impresses for it is emphasizes the foundation on which Christian hope is built—the blood and righteousness of Jesus.  Holy Week and Easter bring thoughts to Jesus’ suffering, death on the cross atCalvary, and resurrection celebrated worldwide on Easter morning.  The intense pain Jesus endured proves the intense love Jesus has for you and for me.  The blood Jesus shed during His beating and when He later hung on the cross was holy blood that secured our days in this world and our tomorrows in Eternity.

To read the Bible’s telling of that dark day on Good Friday, to read other commentaries, and to have seen the movie of recent years, The Passion of the Christ, is to learn details of the ordeal Jesus endured for the forgiveness of my sins and your sins.  The blood that flowed from Him was sacrificial blood that would cleanse us from sin and keep us righteous when we one day stand before God.  What Jesus did for you and for me onCalvary was an act of love unparalleled and costly.  Jesus accepted excruciating physical pain, shame, and emotional separation from God so that one day we could be acceptable before God.  Jesus suffered and sacrificed Himself all because of love.   

To say I love you to someone is to come to learn that what follows is what we possess in our hearts in order to live out the love we declare for someone.   Jubilant expressions of love require no thought; they come easily and gladly.  Challenges in love beg more of one’s will and define a character such that love either deepens or ebbs.  However, suffering in love and for love’s sake is the ultimate expression of love for it alone measures endurance and tests our depth of faith and commitment.  When goodbyes reach us because we love someone, grief strikes.  We suffer.  Our heart tells us how much we emotionally invested while we could or grief tells us what we did not give of ourselves while we had the opportunity.  Either expression reveals the degree to which our hearts were involved and tears will flow.

Faith in Jesus Christ ennobles us.  But it does not happen in grand ways; most often in quiet and even sad ways.  There is something about being broken in love and for love that allows us nearness to Jesus’ heart and to gives us access into the fellowship of His suffering (Philippians 3:10).  This is how we realize that love is precious and it depletes us in some measure.  Jesus emptied Himself to give of His love and cleanse us by His blood in the interest of our forgiveness for sins.  When we grieve due to losses in love, we experience a small fraction of the personal cost to Jesus for love’s sake.    Human experiences in loss and love bring us to places of brokenness and vulnerability that allow the Holy Spirit to bring us closer to Jesus. 

For the Christian who grieves this season, it is a time to remember that the Lord availed Himself to death so that we could live and survive the sufferings of life with hope.  This Easter, and each day of our earthly pilgrimage, may we be mindful of the risen Christ who laid down His life and shed His cleaning blood so that we would have a reason to believe that we could rise above grief and life’s losses for love’s sake. 

Jesus, the Holy Week and Easter season  will be more trying for those who have experienced loss.  Lord, You made a way for us through shattered dreams and unexpected losses.  You are the way.  We go through Your heart of forgiveness and compassion to reach the other side of a season of sorrow.  May Thy Spirit serve as a warm and steady reminder that we are not alone in our sorrow but that You accompany us to hope that does not disappoint.  In Thy beloved and risen Christ, Amen.