What does an ancient middle-eastern culture, temples slaying sheep, a dirt-caked, hairy Man of the first century have to do with an 18 year old girl in a materialistic, flashy world? While she's going to school, following society's violent urge to get a college degree, while she's posting Instagram pictures of her good outfit days, while she's visiting family; being a beach-bum, scavenging for the latest styles and trends -- what does a history-lesson about a controversial Man who over-threw tables, questioned religion, heated leaders' prides, and told ridiculous stories have to do with her?
She hears the story: how this Man awakened the dead, dispersed shame, and made everyone who followed Him feel special, maybe even worth dying for. She hears about the murder: how this Man did not one thing wrong, and yet His skin and marrow was torn and twisted, spiked and stabbed. It saddens her, yes. It was an unjust murder. Those who spill innocent blood are indeed vile creatures. But what does the sticky blood, the agonizing incline, the two bound beams of bark-wood, the cold metal nails, the involuntary grunts of a heated body -- what does it all, all of it 2,013 years old, have to do with an 18 year old girl living half way around the world, struggling with having to move out of home, trudging through an ugly-pretty, seemingly carnal, culture which is always looking forward. Look back? To the past? That's funny, not happening.
What does this Man, with a crimson and black mixture sticking His hair to His broken face have to do with this 18 year old girl? As He was on the splintery lumber cross, He had something on His mind. The pain washing over Him threatened to distract His thoughts, but He fought and He brawled and He grappled at this mental image of His. He needed to remember why He never attempted to escape His captors, He needed to caress close to His memory the reason why He let His murders come upon Him.
And like brisk falling water in a burning desert, His mind's canvas brings His spirit hydration and His heart healing -- if even for a moment between the angry people's shouts of satisfaction. He remembers the beauty of His mental image, a being coming in the future. He thinks of the passion, the glistening eyes, the musical laughter, the blissful dancing, the cherishing, a being worth protecting.
Then, she realized it! She felt it, she engraved it on her heart: this Man is not random, this Man is not misplaced in her present struggles, culture, and joys. What bridges the dirt, the hair, the blood, the rust, the bark all with the flashy, the material, the social, the self-indulged is: His Love -- not what we call love -- but His sacrifice, His passion, His selfless strength through the simply inconvenient, which is real Love.
Because that thought, that imagery masterpiece that Jesus held close to His heart while He endured a murder He did not deserve was: her.