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The journey to the cross – the collision

Day 39 of 40 days to Resurrection day

Today’s suggestion:

Read about Jesus’ crucifixion: Matthew 27:27-66, Mark 15:21-47, Luke 23:26-56, John 19:17-42

the cross

Today I defer to Oswald Chambers whose words about the cross of Christ stagger me.  His depth and wisdom about the event that impacted all of eternity are enough today.

Stand in awe at the price God paid for the redemption of your soul.

The Collision of God and Sin

Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree.”  1 Peter 2:24

The Cross of Jesus is the revelation of God’s judgment on sin.  Never tolerate the idea of martyrdom about the Cross of Jesus Christ.  The Cross was a superb triumph in which the foundations of hell were shaken.  There is nothing more certain in Time or Eternity than what Jesus Christ did on the Cross.  He switched the whole of the human race back into a right relationship with God.  He made Redemption the basis of human life, that is, He made a way for every son of man to get into communion with God.

The Cross did not happen to Jesus:  He came on purpose for it.  He is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”  The whole meaning of the Incarnation is the Cross.  Beware of separating God manifest in the flesh from the Son becoming sin.  The Incarnation was for the purpose of Redemption.  God became incarnate for the purpose of putting away sin; not for the purpose of Self-realization.  The Cross is the centre of Time and of Eternity, the answer to the enigmas of both.

The Cross is not the cross of a man but the Cross of God, and the Cross of God can never be realized in human experience.  The Cross is the exhibition of the nature of God, the gateway whereby any individual of the human race can enter into union with God.  When we get to the Cross, we do not go through it; we abide in the life to which the Cross is the gateway.

The centre of salvation is the Cross of Jesus, and the reason it is so easy to obtain salvation is because it cost God so much.  The Cross is the point where God and sinful man merge with a crash and the way to life is opened—but the crash is on the heart of God.

— My Utmost for His Highest, April 6th

Remember His suffering

Day 6 of 40 Days to Resurrection day

Today’s suggestion:

Read Isaiah 53 about our suffering Savior

In the movie, The Passion of the Christ, Jesus’ suffering is apparent in the opening scene.  He is praying in the garden to His Father, agonizing for relief.  One disciple remarks to another, “What’s wrong with him?  He seems afraid.”

The men who had walked with Him for three years had never seen Jesus shrink in fear.  He had faced down the Pharisees and teachers of the law.  He spoke with an authority that shocked and amazed people.  He had no fear of wind and storm or the demonic living in graveyards.

How could He, the Son of God, be afraid?

Yet, that is how it appears, at least in the movie.  Already Jesus seems to feel the weight of sin-soaked humanity, blood-thick sweat revealing His battles to do the will of God.  Satan appears, offering Him an easier way, a way out of the suffering that Jesus knows is ahead of Him.

I’ve heard people say they’ve never seen the movie, can’t stand to watch the graphic display of the life nearly beaten out of Jesus, the blood and gore of it.  The movie’s R-rating is well deserved.

While my body physically reacts to the movie every single time, I need to watch it, need to be reminded.  I need to get a picture of how much God loved me that He would allow His Son to pay such a high price.  I can only do it once a year, but once a year I must.

During Lent, aren’t we supposed to reflect on Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness while fasting and praying before His public ministry begins. Aren’t we to be reminded of His suffering for us?  Aren’t we to consider the great cost of our salvation?

So we give up caffeinated drinks, certain activities, and Snicker’s bars.  Yeah, we’re really suffering here.

As I reflect on the nightly news, Christians around the world being martyred and persecuted, I wonder if I can even identify with real suffering?  I am not acquainted with true persecution.

What will happen when I am?  What will my response be when questioned “Are you a Christian?” with a gun pointed at my face or a blade ready to sever my head from my body?

In the movie, after the garden prayer, the scene changes.  Jesus stands resolute, his gaze fixed upon the cross that will come.  His crushing blow to the head of the serpent demonstrates a triumphant act of courage and determination.

The Son of God, the Darling of Heaven, the very Word who was in the beginning becomes a Savior. Our Savior. My Savior.

He was beaten.  He was bruised.  He was wounded.  He was mocked.  He was humiliated.  He was forsaken.  He bore my horrible sin.  He did it for me.

What I can do right here and right now is consider Him and live my life in the power of the Holy Spirit, a life that will reflect my Savior.  In His suffering.  In His death.  In His resurrection.  In His glory!

Isaiah 53 from The Message

Who believes what we’ve heard and seen?
    Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this?

The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
    a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
    nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
    a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away. 

We looked down on him, thought he was scum.

But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—

    our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
    that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
    that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
    Through his bruises we get healed.
We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.
    We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong,
    on him, on him.

He was beaten, he was tortured,
    but he didn’t say a word.
Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered
    and like a sheep being sheared,
    he took it all in silence.
Justice miscarried, and he was led off—
    and did anyone really know what was happening?
He died without a thought for his own welfare,
    beaten bloody for the sins of my people.
They buried him with the wicked,
    threw him in a grave with a rich man,
Even though he’d never hurt a soul
    or said one word that wasn’t true.

Still, it’s what God had in mind all along,
    to crush him with pain.
The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin
    so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life.
    And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him.

Out of that terrible travail of soul,
    he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it.
Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant,
    will make many “righteous ones,”
    as he himself carries the burden of their sins.
Therefore I’ll reward him extravagantly—
    the best of everything, the highest honors—
Because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch,
    because he embraced the company of the lowest.
He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many,
    he took up the cause of all the black sheep.

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