There have been many amazing inventions and technological innovations made over the past couple of decades. But there is one invention that stands above them all, at least in some people's minds: the Digital Video Recorder.
The DVR has changed forever the way many people watch TV. No longer do we have to miss an episode of our favorite show, or rearrange our schedule so we can catch that playoff game. Instead, we can simply TiVo whatever it is we want to watch, and then enjoy that program whenever it's convenient for us.
But perhaps the best part of digitally recording TV shows is the fact that you can skip the parts you don't want to watch. Obviously, that would include the commercials, which now, through the magic of science, can be completely dispensed with. But viewers are also tempted to fast forward through other things, too. You can watch the beginning of a show or a game, but then skip all that stuff in the middle and go right to the end. No more having to deal with the suspense and drama that come before the mystery is solved; no more biting nails or pacing nervously as the game goes into overtime. Now we can fast forward through all of that and go right to the good stuff at the end.
Sadly, many Christians seem to want to do that when it comes to the events of Holy Week and Easter. This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday. On that day, we recall how Jesus entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, greeted by wildly-cheering crowds who hailed him as a hero. It's exciting to celebrate the palm branches and cloaks that laid at the feet of our Savior, and join with those crowds in shouting "Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"
But then comes all that stuff that happened afterwards. Following his triumphal entrance, things turned ugly. Four days later, Jesus found himself betrayed, arrested and proclaimed worthy of death. And then things spiraled quickly out of control, as Jesus was stripped naked, mocked mercilessly, beaten bloody, spit on, and finally, had nails driven through his hands and feet, fastening him to a wooden cross. There, he would suffer inexpressible horrors, feeling not just the physical torture of such a cruel death, but experiencing the agony of hell itself, as he was forsaken by the Father with whom he had been one from all eternity.
Our natural inclination is to turn away. We'd much rather go from the Palm Sunday high to Easter high, when Jesus rose triumphant from the dead. It's so tempting to "TiVo" through Holy Week, fast forwarding through the nasty, awful suffering of our Savior. But please don't. Don't skip from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. Actually, what happened in between is the "good stuff." In our Savior's suffering and death, we see the horrible reality of our sins, but also the incredible depth of Jesus' love for us. We see the price of our guilt paid in full. We see the payment for our sins completed.
Follow your Savior to the cross this Holy Week. Then, on Easter, you can truly rejoice at the good stuff.