My Trip Up the Mountain

I was dirty, hungry, and exhausted and had been searching for days with no luck.  I had looked high, low, and everywhere in between with nothing to show for it.  I was just about to give up when I stumbled upon a man dressed in black.  He was a short man with a covered hood.  He had a low raspy voice and skin as pale as a ghost.  He looked down upon me as I lay on the ground in exhaustion and declared:

“Why are you searching so hard?  Don’t you know there are countless ways to find the treasure you are looking for?  How can you be so close-minded!  All you need to do is find your ‘own path’ and surely you will discover it.  Besides, you are plenty capable of getting to it on your own…”

As I looked up to question him, I was dumbfounded to find he had vanished and in his place was the view of a majestic mountain about a mile in front of me.  This mountain was a glorious sight to behold.  Its grass was like that of a fresh spring meadow.  Its trees were as majestic as a castle’s pillars and seemed to reach up to the heavens, and its skies were covered in deep colored clouds like that of an artist’s painting.  The most beautiful part, however, was no doubt the top, which was radiating with a bright flash too glorious to behold.

Mountain I knew what I had to do.  I had to find my way to the top of this mountain to find the treasure I was looking for.  The only question was how?  I then recalled what the old man dressed in black had told me–that there were multiple ways up the mountain and that I just had to find the path that was right for me.  Besides, I was plenty worthy.  Sure I wasn’t perfect, but who is?  I mean it’s not like I’ve ever seriously hurt anyone before.  I’m a nice person who generally does good to others without seriously interfering with their lives.  Surely there was a path uniquely set out for me to get atop the mountain.  This was going to be easy!

The first path I came to had a sign posted that said:  “This path is for all those worthy due to their obedience by not coveting their neighbor’s house.”  I quickly began towards the path, knowing full well that I was plenty worthy.  Upon walking to the gate, a man stepped out.  I recognized this man but I couldn’t recall from where.  He looked down on me with the intensity of a warlord and handed me some wood.  Upon touching the wood, I was shot back and a flash came before my eyes.  I then realized I had known this man.  I had coveted what he had–his job, his family, his persona–and had felt hate towards him in my heart.  When I came to, the gate was sealed with a sign posted stating in big, bold letters:  UNWORTHY.

Wood

The second path I came to had a sign posted that said:  “This path is for all those worthy due to their obedience by not giving false testimony.”  I quickly began towards the path, knowing full well that I was plenty worthy.  Upon walking to the gate, a lady stepped out.  I recognized this lady but I couldn’t recall from where.  She looked down on me with the sadness of a widow and handed me some nails.  Upon touching the nails, I was shot back and a flash came before my eyes.  I then realized I had known this lady.  I had once lied to her–about my life, about my past, about my worthiness of her trust–and had felt hate towards her in my heart.  When I came to, the gate was sealed with a sign posted stating in big, bold letters:  UNWORTHY.

nails

The third path I came to had a sign posted that said:  “This path is for all those worthy due to their obedience by not stealing.”  I quickly began towards the path, knowing full well that I was plenty worthy.  Upon walking to the gate, a boy stepped out.  I recognized this boy but I couldn’t recall from where.  He looked down on me with the innocence of a child and handed me a hammer.  Upon touching the hammer, I was shot back and a flash came before my eyes.  I then realized I had known this boy.  I had stole from him in the past–stole his recognition, his worth, his joy–and had felt hate towards him in my heart.  When I came to, the gate was sealed with a sign posted stating in big, bold letters:  UNWORTHY.

Hammer

The fourth path I came to had a sign posted that said:  “This path is for all those worthy due to their obedience by not committing adultery.”  I quickly began towards the path, knowing full well that I was plenty worthy.  Upon walking to the gate, a woman stepped out.  I recognized this woman before but I couldn’t recall from where.  She looked down on me with the indifference of a dictator and handed me a crown of thorns.  Upon touching the thorns, I was shot back and a flash came before my eyes.  I then realized I had known this woman.  I had violated her in the past–physically, emotionally, spiritually–and had felt hate towards her in my heart.  When I came to, the gate was sealed with a sign posted stating in big, bold letters:  UNWORTHY.

thorns

The last path I came to had a sign posted that said:  “This path is for all those worthy due to their obedience by not putting any gods before Me.”  I quickly began towards the path, knowing full well that I was plenty worthy.  Upon walking to the gate, a man stepped out.  I recognized this man for he looked exactly like me!  He had my face, my body, and my complexion, but also had a bright crown of gold atop his head.  He looked down on me with the hatred of a demon and exclaimed “You Are Unworthy!”  He then spat in my face, causing me to shoot back and have a flash come before my eyes.  I then realized I knew this man.  I had aspired to be him–to be admired, to be envied, to be God….

CrownOvercome with frustration, I then cried out, “If I’m not worthy, then who is?”

Fuming with envy and disgust, I took the wood and fastened Him to it.  I then took the nails and pressed them into His hands.  I then took the hammer and drove the nails into the wood.  I then took the crown of thorns and shoved it into His skull as I spat in His face to appease my pride once more.  Covered in blood, I then placed the crown of gold atop my head as I stepped back to admire my work.

It was then it hit me…I was unworthy!  Astonished at what I’d done, I fell back in exhausted despair.  I laid atop the dry ground beneath me accepting my inevitable defeat.  I had failed and had now passed out in my shame.  And as the crows circled above me, I was as good as dead.

Suddenly, a great jolt went circulating through my body.  I had been lifted up, refreshed, and was now on the move! As I turned to see what was carrying me, I saw Him.  His clothes were a white as snow; His touch was as gentle as a lamb; and His hands had been pierced–the work of a sinner.  My work–the work of one unworthy.

Jesus

“O Child.  Why do you wrestle me so?  Didn’t I tell you that my yoke is easy and my burden is light?  Didn’t I tell you that I am the way, the truth, and the life?  Quit struggling and allow me to come.  For there is no other way.  No path you can climb.  No role you can touch.  For the hill is too steep, the climb is too much.  Can’t you see the only way is for me to come down and carry you up?  Just come and give me your life so I can love you so.  For you are not yet the man I created you to be; you are not yet whole.”

It was then that I realized no one (including me) is “good enough.”  Yet God loves us so much that He created a way for all to come to Him.  Not that we are worthy or deserving, but because He is righteous and just–for He came down to earth and paid the price for our shortcomings.  There is no other way to God, no other way to “earn” your way to Heaven.  The only way is to accept His sacrifice–for no other justification is worthy of cleansing us of our sin.

If you haven’t accepted this gift, my prayer is that you would consider it.  For this is the reason for Easter:  not bunnies and eggs, but blood and sacrifice.  For the punishment that brought us peace was laid upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.

-BH

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