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In the spring the many dogwoods in my city bloom white and pink in all their glory. In the fall their leaves turn a gorgeous red. During the winter their red berries stand out brightly. I love dogwoods, and have eight of them on my property. The dogwood is Virginia’s state flower.
Perhaps you have read on an Easter card the legend of the dogwood tree. The legend suggests that the wood of the dogwood tree may have been used for Christ’s cross–and that is why the dogwood never grows to be very big.
In each of its flowers’ four petals (which are roughly in the shape of a cross) is what looks like rusty dents, which remind us of the nail prints in Christ’s hands. The dogwood’s red berries are reminders of the blood Jesus Christ shed for our sins. To me the white flowers stand for the way Christ’s blood cleanses us of sin and makes us white as snow in God’s sight. It is also interesting that this tree blooms in the spring, when our Lord was crucified.
Meditating on the tremendous sacrifice our Lord made for us reminds us of His love and convicts us of carelessness in our Christian lives.
Consider these things. Jesus told Peter that He could call ten thousand angels to His rescue. Jesus went through all that suffering because of His love for us. He knew it was the only way we could be forgiven and saved.
Jesus went through terrible physical suffering for us: the crown of thorns, the vicious lashings, the incredible pain of crucifixion. But consider the awful psychological torture He endured: (1) the trumped-up trial to which He was dragged early in the morning; (2) lying testimonies; (3) mocking and spitting; (4) rejection by His people; (5) betrayal by His friend; (6) desertion and denial by those closest to Him; (7) His shameful death by crucifixion.
But the worst suffering He went through for us was this: When our sins fell upon his shoulders there on the cross, our Lord Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” For the first and only time in all eternity, God the Father and God and Son were separated–because of our sins! Oh, to me that is love beyond understanding!
Now if God the Father and God the Son love us THAT much, how in the world can we help but truly love them with all our hearts, souls, and minds! How can this great truth not affect every part of our lives and thinking?
Would it not help us to stay close to our Lord Jesus if we think of the dogwood, and then remind ourselves of Christ’s love and sacrifice? This reminder also can help us to have faith that our loving Lord is with us through every trial of life. Jesus cares. He really cares!
Father God, Thank you for the death and resurrection of Jesus and for the promise of eternity to those who receive Him as their guide throughout life. Thank you for Your incredible demonstration of such great love for me….. even me. May I bask in that love this Easter season and learn to love You back with all my heart and soul and mind. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Questions: As you enter the Easter season on this Palm Sunday, offer the Lord your love with all your heart and soul and mind.