The day before the first Christmas Jesus and Michael were visiting. Michael...Are you going to earth tomorrow? Jesus...Yes. Michael...Are you sure you want to do that? Jesus...Yes. Michael...Isn't the earth still full of anger and hatred and cruelty? Jesus...Yes. Michael...Do you think they might misunderstand you? Jesus...Yes. Michael...They might even ridicule you and beat you. Jesus...Yes. Michael...They may even try to kill you. Jesus...Yes. Michael...Then why are you going? Jesus...Because I love (insert your name here)
JESUS DIED TODAY (Friday) Nailed to a cross, held up in the air So his enemies could see Him there. Beaten and tortured, bleeding and bare Jesus died today. He did not cry out, did not complain. Like a lamb at the altar He was slain, So my sins with me would not remain. Jesus died today. He chose to die...the time and the place. He did it for the human race, the example of God's loving grace. Jesus died today. JESUS IS BURIED TODAY (Saturday) His place is a tomb, cold and alone, A borrowed grave instead of a throne To pay for sins like my very own. Jesus is buried today. There is no marker, no special way To see where Jesus lays today Because He said "Father, I obey." Jesus is buried today. Draped with cloth from his head to his feet The great sacrifice is now complete. Proudly all his enemies repeat Jesus is buried today. JESUS ROSE TODAY (Sunday) Women were first to see it was true. They went to the tomb while day was new. They told others. Soon everyone knew Jesus rose today. He left the tomb so cold and so bare. No need to look, Jesus is not there. The news is joy to men everywhere. Jesus rose today. Death is defeated. Jesus has won. This is the proof that He is God's son. He's the Messiah, the Promised One. Jesus rose today.
To me the term “…poor in spirit…” (Matthew 5:3) means total humility, admitting that on my own I can do nothing (John 15:5.) God loves me regardless of my lack of talent, beauty, skills or possessions. In God’s system I have great value. I am a child in his family adopted through the death of Jesus on the cross.
In the world’s system a thing like this is unheard of. We are taught that we must do something or be something or have something before we are granted the status of “valuable or important.” But God says “You are valuable to me exactly as you are right now.”
Should we ever wonder how valuable we are to Him all we need do is look to the cross. Jesus died there to buy my eternal freedom from the consequences of my sins. God’s grace means love without accomplishment. It seems to be a crazy system, but it is the way God does things and I sure am glad.
AT THE CROSS GOD ...
Allowed Satan to punish Jesus SO Satan can never punish me
Allowed Jesus to die alone SO I never need to feel lonely
Allowed Jesus to get thirsty SO I can drink from the well of living water
Allowed Satan's wrath to fall on Jesus SO it will never fall on me
Allowed nails to pierce Jesus' hands SO Satan's darts will never pierce me
Allowed Jesus to die SO I can live
Abandoned Jesus SO He could adopt me
We can't gain God's love by working for it.
We have to learn to accept it.
Then we are invited to enjoy it
While commanded to always share it.
Science can tell us how to live longer, but only God can tell us why to live longer.
When did Jesus know He was going to die on a Roman cross as a common criminal? At birth? At age twelve? Certainly by age 30.
At some point his divinity gave a fore knowledge of his death. How did his humanity handle this look into a future that promised such pain and suffering? How did He maintain a sense of joy and peace in the shadow of the cross? What allowed Him to laugh, sing, joke and smile during his ministry?
And He did each of those things. Grown men didn’t leave home, family and careers to follow a sour puss. Children didn’t flock to be picked up and held by a grouch. Crowds didn’t contribute their donkeys and cloaks to form a parade for a “gloomy Gus”.
How did He avoid a constant feeling of dread and sadness as He healed and taught the people of Judea and Jerusalem? As he conquered disease and death in others, surely the specter of his own future hovered in the background of his mind.
The answer to the question has to be in his total trust in his father’s wisdom, power and love. Long before Gethsemane his daily mantra was “Not my will but thine be done” (Luke 22:42.) He was fully convinced that only by following Jehovah’s will could He provide a way for the human race to be ransomed from the power of sin. He had heard “With him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17) as He stepped out of the waters of John’s baptism and He had to die to hear it again.
What am I willing to do each day to hear it from Jehovah God?
His son was born?
Rearranged the stars Matthew 2:9
Inspired wise men Matthew 2:2
Sent angels Luke 2:13
Dazzled shepherds Luke 2:20
His son began his life’s work?
Inspired John the Baptist John 1:36
Appeared as a dove Matthew 3:16
Spoke from heaven Matthew 3:17
Gave approval Matthew 3:17
His son needed encouragement?
Revealed His glory Matthew 17:2
Sent angels Matthew 4:11
Sent old friends Matthew 17:3
Spoke from heaven Matthew 17: 5
His son died?
Nothing Matthew 27:46
Cruel? Callous? Uncaring? NO! It was a loving Father allowing his only son to die so that all people could become his adopted children. It was allowing Jesus to take the guilt of all the sins of all people of all time so those people could live in victory on a temporary earth and surrounded with glory in an eternal heaven.
Sins, Adam’s and mine, were a barrier between God and I. Only His “forsaking” of Jesus completed the plan to remove such barriers. All the combined past and future blessings to me from God can never equal the value of turning away from Jesus and allowing Him to die. Thank you. Thank you, Father.