|Posted by Lorraine Serra on April 1, 2014 at 11:25 AM|
We are considering the cross of Christ this month. 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.
Last time I called our attention to the fulfillment of some prophecies about this mission of Christ as we read Matthew 26 and 27. Let's read another account of the last days of Jesus in Mark 14 and 15.
You will find an incredibly similar account in each of these Gospels. During these last two days of Jesus Christ on earth, prophecy confronts us, and we must take notice; these predictions and their fulfillment confirm the truth of this wonderful plan of salvation by our God.
In these two accounts we learned that the plot was being hatched to destroy Jesus. The Pharisees, chief priests and teachers of the law, jealous of the powerful impact Jesus’ teachings had on the people, feared losing their own positions of power. They had to bring Him down!
It crossed my mind that nothing has changed: today we have seen foreign leaders crush the enemies of their power through assassination, military coups, and all out war. Even in America, by use of the media, politicians crush their adversaries with scandalous accusations on TV and Radio ads.
But, it was hard to find anything scandalous about Jesus, so an insider betrayal was necessary, and trumped up charges, and ultimately a “legal” death sentence arranged as part of the festival tradition. Three times a year, as part of a Jewish festival , Rome exercised a great public relations move: a prisoner was set free…acquittal…freedom…an act of undeserved favor, that which we call “grace”.
Does that strike you as odd, or at least, interesting?
Barabbas, an insurrectionist and murderer, was offered acquittal in contrast to Jesus Christ, healer, prophet, teacher. Of course, the chief priests and Pharisees had already bribed the crowd to achieve their goal. And so, the march to Calvary began.
Every step of the way, we see the picture of prophecy from Isaiah 53 played out: read it, meditate on it, weep over it, give thanks to God for it. I call our attention to verse 5 in particular:
"But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; the punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds." (HCSB version)
IF you have just spent time with the Isaiah passage, then, have you 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?
PEACE WITH GOD is the reason for the cross. Peace achieved for us, in spite of us, and our willful rebellion against the holiness of God and God’s instruction for His creation.
Our sin, transgressions as they are called in Isaiah, needs to be washed away that we might be cleansed to draw near to the God who created us to enjoy His blessings and guidance.
Jesus took our place. Blood was shed. His life was destroyed, but would be raised up again to fulfill what Jesus Himself prophesied and promised back in Matthew 26 verse 32, and Mark 14:28, the verse that Peter and the guys seemed to miss! They didn’t even comment!!
“After I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
The seeker or non- believer may wonder why all this 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 was purchased for us at the cross. Grace is the undeserved favor and loving-kindness 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.
Like Barabbas, we are guilty of offenses against God and others. If you can honestly say “I always love God and love others. I always treat others as I want to be treated”, well, then I must say you are ignorant or a liar. That statement is impossible for any human soul on the planet.
Like Barabbas we need a grace moment, a gift of Divine Kindness.
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, Perfect Grace.
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. Without it, we can have no part of God or His kingdom plans for us.
Next time, a look at the woman who anointed Jesus with oil and different accounts shared with us in the Gospels of John 13 and Luke 22. LISTEN AND PRAY TODAY: The Wonderful Cross and grab hold tightly of the immensity of God's love for YOU. Blessings to you, friend, in Jesus' Powerful Name.
O LORD JESUS CHRIST, MESSIAH, SAVIOR, PRINCE OF PEACE, LOVER OF MY SOUL.....reign in me! Amen!
Categories: Journey To Victory - The Cross & The Crown