Tag Archives: Jesus’ death

The Full Extent Of His Love (John 13)

I love what John said about Jesus in verse one of this chapter:

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

The full extent of His love.

Have you experienced that love for yourself? We read what that looked like in the Gospels’ account of Jesus’ last days on earth in a human body.

He shared that last supper with His disciples where He asked them (and us) to remember Him every time we eat the bread and drink the cup which together represent His suffering. He washed his disciples’ feet and told them (and us) to serve each other in the same way. He said words of comfort, knowing they (and we) would face hardships because of Him. He prayed for them (and us), and promised He would come back for them (and us).

Then we watch as He is arrested, beaten, lied about, ridiculed, tortured, and then nailed to a cross. He was betrayed and abandoned by people closest to Him. He died a painful death, when the truth is He went through all of it willingly. He could have stopped it. But His love wouldn’t let Him.

What is the extent of His love? Read John 13-21 and experience it for yourself. Jesus’ love of you caused Him to feel real pain, both physical and emotional. His love of you allowed those soldiers to beat Him mercilessly. His love of you let them drive those nails into His hands and feet. And finally, His love of you kept Him on the cross until your sin debt, the death penalty that is yours, was paid in full.

I would say the extent of God’s love for each of us is limitless. If you are a believer you understand what that means, and I imagine you are rejoicing in the privilege of experiencing that love for yourself. If you don’t know Him, I pray you will take the time to read these chapters today, knowing that everything in there was said and done for your benefit. Jesus did all of that for you.

Oh what wondrous love is this!

Once and For All (Leviticus 16-18)

When I read about all the different kinds of sin sacrifices, and all the different regulations for each, I can’t help but think of Jesus.

When Aaron lays hands on an animal and then slits its throat, I see Jesus’ blood dripping down His face, drops of blood from His hands and feet dripping down the cross to the ground below. When Aaron sprinkles blood on the altar or touches an ear or thumb with blood, I know Jesus’ blood was applied to me.

I think it’s important for us to read the Old Testament account of the sacrificial system which God provided for dealing with sin. When we read all the regulations, all the intricate details, we can better understand what Jesus’ death did.

Because it is nothing short of amazing to know that Jesus fulfilled every regulation, every detail perfectly…

once and for all!

November 6: The Man Standing Before Rulers

Matthew 27:1-10; Luke 23:1-12; Mark 15:1-5; John 18:28-38

You do know Jesus could have stopped this, don’t you? He could have defended Himself against the lies being told about Him. He could have easily convinced both Pilate and Herod He wasn’t guilty of anything. But He just stood there, like a sheep before the slaughter.

Don’t kid yourself. Jesus was NOT a sheep before the slaughter. He knew exactly what He was doing and where His silence would take Him. And He wanted to go there.

I know there are many who are convinced that Jesus, while in the garden, asked His Dad for an alternate plan at the last minute, that He went to the cross out of stoic obedience. But I look at the Man standing before rulers, hearing the lies and slander, feeling the force of blows to His body, and I know He didn’t want to be anywhere else.

It’s what He’d come for.

As I look at the Man standing before rulers, knowing He had the power to pulverize His accusers, understanding He stood there absolutely guiltless, I realize how loved I am. With every blow, Jesus expressed love and grace. With every lash, every lie, every insult, He was saying loudly and clearly: “I love you!”

As I look at the Man standing before rulers, I can almost see the pain in His eyes. He felt the blows. He felt the rejection. I imagine His body, His heart and soul ached, cried out in pain. But my salvation was more important to Him than the pain. He walked through that abuse so He could get to the cross because my sin debt needed to be paid there.

As I look at the Man standing before rulers, my heart is filled with love. No one has loved me like that. No one could except Jesus.

I love the Man standing before rulers.

Luke 22-24; In The Garden

Every time I read the Gospels’ accounts of the crucifixion I find myself loving Jesus even more. This Man willingly died for me, a sinner. My God who has every reason to hate me, loves me and gave Himself for me.

For me.

But I will tell you I get a little sad when some people talk about the events surrounding the cross. Especially when they talk about Jesus’ prayer in the garden. I get a little offended at what they say about my Lord. I know I’ve shared this before, but it’s on my heart again.

First let me ask you this: How would you describe Jesus’ character? His mission? His passion? Is there anything in Jesus’ character that would suggest He was tentative about why He was here?

Some people cut the garden prayer out and lay it along side of everything they know about Jesus. I just can’t do that. Jesus was fully God and fully human. There is nowhere in Scripture that even hints that that balance ever changed. So when people say that during this garden prayer, Jesus’ humanness was taking over, I totally disagree. Point to a verse that supports that idea. You won’t find one. We’re so accustomed to hearing that Jesus was praying that the “cup” of the cross would be removed, we actually believe it.

Yes, it was Jesus the man who knelt there in anguish. But it was also God kneeling there, preparing to die for me. Jesus prayed to the Father, “Let this cup pass from me.” But, friend, He didn’t need God’s permission not to go to the cross. God could have gotten up off His knees and ascended into heaven at any point.

But this God/Man felt pain. He was tired to the point of death. It could have ended right there. But Jesus didn’t come to die in a garden. Yes, He prayed that this cup be removed. I believe it was. God the Father sent an angel to minister to God the Son to strengthen Him to do what He’d come to do, by removing the “cup” of anguish and physical torment Jesus was experiencing at that time. It was that “cup” that could have prevented Jesus from going to the cross. And that God/Man didn’t get up off His knees begrudgingly. He didn’t “suck it up” and walk toward His death because He HAD to.

If Jesus had second thoughts about going to the cross He could have answered the liars who accused Him in court. He didn’t. He could have called 10,000 angels to rescue Him. He didn’t. I know with all my heart that Jesus wanted to go to the cross. I believe He always wanted to go to the cross. And nothing was going to stop Him. Not exhaustion. Not pain. Not humiliation. Not betrayal. And I believe that prayer in the garden was answered so He could.

When I read about the crucifixion and the events surrounding it, I see my Savior who – for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, discounted the shame. He was willing to suffer great pain and humiliation for me. He was willing.

I know I’m not going to change many minds concerning this. That’s ok. It’s not a matter of heaven or hell. Just know that when we gather around the communion table tomorrow and remember what Jesus did, I’m going to remember His willing sacrifice, His unwavering determination to pay for my sins. I’m going to thank Him for that garden prayer that highlights His passion to do the unthinkable, die a very painful death for a worm like me.

Every time I read about the crucifixion I love Jesus even more.

 

November 12 – Humbled

Matthew 27; Mark 15

Every time I read the account of Jesus’ last few hours on this planet, I am humbled. He endured it all for love of me. He quietly listened to the lies, was punched and kicked and spit on. He heard every insult, and felt the pain of those nails tearing through His flesh. He even experienced what happens when God the Father turns away.

It takes about ten minutes to read about it. But Jesus lived it one minute after another, one long hour after another. Jesus suffered excruciating pain, and died a humiliating death – because He loves me that much.

I believe that as He breathed His last, His mind went ahead to 2016, and He saw my face. And your’s. That’s why He did what He did. He died so we could be forgiven.

Charles Wesley wrote a hymn the speaks to me every time I hear it. In it he asks a question: Can it really be that Jesus Himself shed His blood for me, the one who cause His pain in the first place?

The angels can’t even understand the depth of love that put the Immortal God on the cross to die. Jesus left heaven, took on mortality, and emptied Himself of everything except His love for me. And it’s by His grace that forgiveness found me.

It was like I was imprisoned by sin, chained to desires and actions that caused me pain. But I met Jesus, and those chains fell off, my heart was free. I’m alive in Him. I’m clothed in His righteousness. I got up off my knees a free woman, and followed Jesus.

Now I don’t fear judgment. Jesus, His righteousness is mine. I can boldly approach the God of the Universe, washed clean by Jesus’ blood. And I can claim the Son of God as my own!

Amazing love! How can it be, that You… my God… should die for me?

I am humbled. I am grateful. I love my Savior!

It’s Not A Common Thing

The book of Hebrews is rich with mind-boggling, heart-thumping truths. I challenge you to read the whole thing, slowly, intentionally, asking God to reveal Himself a little more clearly as you do. I know He will. He’ll convict you, and lift you up in the process.

In chapter 10 of this amazing book, the writer tells us that if we willfully sin after receiving God’s grace, there is a “certain fearful expectation of judgment…” He says, if the Old Testament Jews rejected Moses’ Law and died without mercy, how much more so we who consider “the blood of the covenant by which (we are) sanctified a common thing.”

Let me say that again. If the Old Testament Jews rejected Moses’ Law and died without mercy, how much more so we who consider “the blood of the covenant by which (we are) sanctified a common thing.”

Do you consider what Jesus did on that cross, the suffering He endured, the blood He shed, the humiliation, the death, a common thing? No big deal? A nice gesture like giving someone a puppy? Then why act like you do? Why willfully sin after you have received His grace?

The writer tells us it’s like trampling Jesus under our feet when we take sin lightly.

Ezekiel, in chapter 22, said God couldn’t find any man to stand in the gap, to build a wall on behalf of the land so God wouldn’t destroy it. The picture I get of someone standing in the gap is one with arms stretched out to both sides.

Like Jesus on the cross.

God is serious about sin. God hates sin. God punishes every sin. And every sin results in death. Every. Sin.

Jesus didn’t die on that cross only to say 2000 years later, well maybe homosexuality is really no big deal after all. Or, if you are spiritual you don’t really have to accept Jesus. God hasn’t changed his mind in 2015.

God is as serious about sin today as He was in the garden with Adam and Eve. He’s spelled out exactly what sin is and what the consequences are.

Death without mercy.

Have you ever sinned? Lied? Lusted? Hated? Cheated? Got drunk? Used coarse language? Even just once? Then you are condemned to die without mercy.

Unless you allow Jesus to stand in the gap. Unless you accept the fact that Jesus died without mercy on your behalf. Unless you repent and accept His loving gift of grace. Unless you are as serious about sin as He is.

Heavenly Father, I pray for your people today. May we be as serious about sin as You are. May we hate sin, run from it, stand against it. May we honor what Jesus did on the cross every day with the choices we make. You command us to be holy as You are holy. May you find us eager to accept your holiness, and to live our lives obviously different from everyone else. I, for one, never want to treat what Jesus did on the cross for me as though it’s no big deal. I never want to trample my Savior under my feet by choosing to sin. I want to show you with every breath how much I appreciate You for saving me.