|Posted by Lorraine Serra on March 13, 2013 at 10:40 AM|
Why the sacrifice on Good Friday? Why a sacrifice at all? Jesus endured such torture and humiliation for our salvation that it boggles the mind. Let's read another account of the last days of Jesus in Mark 14 and 15.
Have we understood all that was at stake? Has the scope of His sacrifice pierced our hearts and evoked the response of gratitude, humility and worship that He deserves?
The seeker or non- believer may wonder why it is important at all. It is a good thing that Christmas, Holy Week and Easter roll around every year so that we may pause to consider the wonder of this grace in which we stand, and offer the invitation to those who have yet to discover it.
Grace is the reason for the cross. Grace is the undeserved favor and lovingkindness of God towards us. It is a gift of forgiveness from a loving God Who desires to place us in relationship with Him as His child.
Not because of who we are or what we have done. We can never earn it. Only because of who He is...Love, Perfect Love. When Jesus opened his arms willingly on the cross, the embrace of God was revealed. We must only respond to this gift and receive it.
Let's look at some of what drives us to respond to the gift and understand more about it.
As Christians, it is so comfortable to move through this life praising God for His many gifts: life, love, salvation, forgiveness, right standing before God. It is comfortable, and we begin to take it all for granted, especially if we have grown up in the faith.
Oh, it is indeed awesome to enjoy the promises of God, and His blessings and His power at work in us each day. These gifts are ours because of Jesus when we acknowledge Him and receive Him! Truly, we ought to rejoice! Yes, indeed, he whom the Lord has set free is free indeed!
Yet, our history lessons have opened our eyes to understand that freedom isn’t free at all. Just as there have been great sacrifices made by soldiers around the world for the benefit of the innocent, the defenseless and oppressed through two World Wars and many others in between and after, there has been one Great Sacrifice to achieve justice and peace between men and God.
Our focus on the Cross of Christ is not to make us morose, but overwhelmingly grateful, and yes, a bit uncomfortable. The cross makes it possible for us to enjoy the fullness of Life in Christ, at the expense of the life of Christ.
Why was the cross necessary? Peace with God. Riches of God. Wisdom of God. Strength of God. Purpose of God. Power of God. Glory of God. There are so many benefits of the Cross of Christ. Many people focus on just the first. The first makes possible all the rest, the abundance of life in Christ.
For today, let's consider our need for Peace with God.
Maybe I don’t feel like I’m at odds with God at all. I’m a good person. I work at being kind and generous and avoid hurting others. Well, it is true that most of us fit that picture. But, if we are honest, we will admit that we also have been known to lie, cheat or envy just a little. We are less than perfect, aren’t we? We all have things in our lives that make us less than proud of ourselves.
The crazy thing is the apostle Paul wrote to the Romans in chapter 3 to discuss not perfection, but the fact that there is no one that is good, no not one. Nobody in history past, present or to come is righteous as the Lord requires according to the law. All have weaknesses and choose wrongly. All have a tendency to be selfish and protect their own territory.
Most of all, we fail to honor God with our lives. We tend to depend on our own resources, rather than seeking God and being aware of His constant presence. We naturally tend to want to go our own way. This is rebellion. It is a battle of wills, and we have the choice to surrender to Perfect Love, and learn of His ways.
God calls this rebellion and these actions and attitudes "sin". And sin has caused a separation from God that we cannot remedy on our own.
Here is a reality check, not a theology check, to help us understand.
In everyday life, don’t we seek justice, or appropriate punishment of someone who rips us off, or breaks our heart, or lets us down? If someone wrecks your car, don’t you expect them to pay? The law requires it. Murder, arson, all types of crime require restitution. When BP polluted the Gulf of Mexico with a huge oil spill, the whole world expected them to make it right!
Everyone is expected to take responsibility for their own flaws and failures. It is not only the civil law, it is an unstated but understood law of human nature. We demand justice. We want restitution.
If you have a fight with your spouse, your brother or your friend, do you want the cold shoulder silent treatment, or do you want understanding, healing, reconciliation and restoration? Mercy or justice? It is a painful and destructive thing when that brokenness is allowed to remain.
We so easily pass judgment over friends, family, politicians, foreigners, and the guys on the street we don’t even know! So, if we feel it is our right to pass judgment, and demand restitution when needed, then why not the Creator of Heaven and Earth? God, the perfectly holy and righteous Judge must require restitution, or He is neither just nor holy.
God loves us all right, enough to provide our complete acquittal by offering His own Son, Jesus Christ, as the One who took the punishment we deserve. The blood of Jesus, the innocent sacrificed for the guilty, has satisfied the judgment of God. He has declared us “not guilty”, because God knows, in His great mercy and love, that it is a painful and destructive thing to allow our brokenness to remain. It breaks His heart.
Jesus came to heal, and to save the lost. That’s me and that’s you. Think on how much you need Him. Let His Spirit awaken in you a new sense of wonder at His grace. This song says it all in a film clip of Jesus rescuing the prostitute, Mary Magdalene from her accusers.."Amazing Love".
Thank you, Jesus, precious, sinless, holy Son of God. You have made our peace with God the Father. I love to honor You. Amen.
Categories: Lenten Meditations - Journey to Victory