Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday 2010

I have thought much this week about our Savior, his life, death,burial and ressurection. It is truly amazing that Christ lived a perfect, sinless life while here on earth, never once diverting off of the mission His Heavenly Father gave Him (John 4:35-40). He obeyed perfectly even to the point of death (Philippians 2:7-8). Such pure dedication, such selfless dedication.

How often do we falter when the smallest of obsticles presents itself to us? How often do we complain if the task God has given us requires some discomfort to us? Christ suffered death and never left God’s will. Reflections on our Saviors death brings such conviction to me because it gives me a greater understanding of my own shortcomings, my own failures and points me to Christ as my only hope of overcoming them. I hope it does for you as well.

Today we remember the greatest sin ever committed in human history, the murder of Jesus. Christ, who was perfect, holy, without sin, and righteousness did not deserved to be crucified. He did no wrong therefore He deserves no punishment. Yet as we all know He suffered a horrific, underserved, death.

Scripture tells us that before Jesus was crucified He endured suffering that would kill most. He was flogged, had his beard pulled out, punched, tortured, ridiculed and mocked. Through all of this beating we know that He didn’t utter a word (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:12; Luke 23:9). How did He do that? To remain quite during all of that was an act of God.
To add insult to injury after that beating He hung on the cross and most all of the people that were closest to Him scattered. Out of all of the disciples and close associates only His mother, Mary Magdelene and John were with Him when He hung on the cross, all others scattered as a fulfillment of prophecy (Zechariah 13:7).

That begs the question - Why? Why did Christ have to endure all of this? What was the cause of Him giving up His life? To find the answer I need to look no further than at myself. Jesus endure all of this because I am a sinner in need of a perfect sacrifice. He did it because of my sin not because of any sin He committed. I am reminded of John 15:13 - No greater love has a man than when he lays down his life for his friends. Christ’s sacrifice was the greatest act of love in the history of mankind.

This reminds me of when people complain about life not being fair, particularly how they get punished for someone else’s wrong. I wonder if they feel the same about Christ since He died for sins He didn’t commit. Do they wish that God would remove their sins from Christ and take them back? If so, God will punish them instead of Christ for their sins.

The best part of Christ’s death is that it isn’t the end of the story. After three days in the grave He gains victory over death, victory that assures each of His children the salvation of their sins they need.

Passion Week is a week each year that I draw closer to Christ. I am gladly convicted of my failures and gain a better understanding of my Savior. It’s my prayer you experience the same.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Holy Thursday 2010

Today is a special day of remembrance for those who belong to Christ, a day that we call Holy Thursday. On this day 2000 years ago many events occurred that are instrumental in the fulfillment of God’s plan for redemptive history.

To begin, it is the day during Christ’s last week here on earth that He institutes the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20). This is a meal that we are to continue to partake of until the Lord returns (I Corinthians 11:23-26).

It is during this meal that Christ reveals who his betrayer would be (Matthew 26:21). Remember that all twelve disciples were with Christ at this time. When He declares that one of them was going to betray Him I can only imagine what the reaction of the disciples was. Were they saddened? Were they enraged? Or were they too stunned to even speak? We get the sense that they were confused (John 13:28) but I have to venture that there were more feelings than that. Truly one of the most amazing events in human history.

Then after the meal Christ takes His disciples with Him to the Mount of Olives so that He can go to the garden of Gethsemane to pray (Matthew 26:26-46). During this prayer Christ prays intensely and is full of anguish, an anguish that you and I will never experience. He has this anguish because He knows that He will soon have God’s full wrath poured out on Him on the cross, the wrath that you and I so rightly deserve.

As Christ prays He prayer becomes more intense. He reaches a level of anguish and intensity that causes His sweat to became like drops of blood (Luke 22:44). Clearly this is no ordinary prayer. He is pouring His heart out to His heavenly father, connecting to Him like no other human in history has.

I am moved every time I read of the events that take place in Gethsemane. It tears me apart to know that my Savior was suffering like this even before He suffers such horrific physical pain, pain because of the punishment my sins require (Romans 6:23).

It is my hope that as I read and reread about this time in Christ’s life that I will be drawn closer to Jesus. I pray that I will grow in understanding of His sacrifice and never let it become just another historical event to be studied. I came across a quote by Frederick S. Leahy from his book “The Cross He Bore” that describes my desire perfectly: “Gethsemane is not a field of study for our intellect. It is a sanctuary of our faith.” Lord, forgive us for the times we have read about Gethsemane with dry eyes.