“Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.” John 13:1
Christmas and Resurrection Day are the two holidays we celebrate that define our lives in every way, temporally and eternally. We celebrate the birth in December and the celebration of Resurrection Day falls in April. As spring arrives, nature itself seems to cry out the hope and joy of new life as we celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As we watch creation that has died during the cold winter months of darkness resurrected during warm spring days full of sunshine and spring showers, we are reminded we too can be born again as nature itself teaches. The same power that enables its newness of life does the same for us through the love of the Son who chose to do the will of His Father above His own. No one took Jesus’ life. He was not a victim, but He made the choice to lay down His life in the Garden of Gethsemane.
We can see from our verse Jesus knew the plan. Jesus knew after the Passover He would be crucified for the sins of all mankind. If you want a really good description of the crucifixion we must go to Isaiah 53. Isaiah was written long before the birth of the Messiah, and yet we see it articulately fulfilled to the most minor detail.
You must get your Bible and get alone with our Lord and allow the Holy Spirit to bring the verses to life as only the Holy Spirit can. He did not only die for our sins, but our griefs, and our sorrows. He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. The chastening of our well being fell upon Him. The scourging He endured was for our healings inside and out. Yet, He was totally innocent and holy in every way.
Anytime I am tempted to feel sorry for myself, or am treated unfairly, betrayed, forsaken, and not valued by the ones I love most, I run to this chapter in my Bible, and it puts things in perspective. Jesus warned His followers if they hated me, they will hate you. Our job as His followers is to respond as He did. In Isaiah 53:7 we read how Jesus responded:
“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb that was led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.”
Now let’s read the last three verses in Isaiah 53:10-12:
“But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering; He will see His offspring. He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand as a result of the anguish of His soul. He will see it and be satisfied. By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, and He will divide the booty with the strong, because He poured out Himself to death and was numbered with the transgressor; yet He Himself bore the sin of man and interceded for the transgressors.”
We must understand Jesus is now ascended back into heaven with the Father seated at His right hand on the throne of God. Go to Revelation and take a peek into heaven as He is being worshipped. Revelation 4 reveals the 24 elders casting their crowns before Jesus as they cry out:
“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”
In God’s economy the reward is always greater than the sacrifice. Let us be reminded in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18:
“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Let us remember these words as we purpose in our hearts to do as Jesus did loving His own till the end. I believe this specifically refers to our families. We must focus on the ones God gave us in our families as we all are definitely approaching the end at some point. Let us pray at all times, and not lose heart. We are warned most people’s love will grow cold as evil increases. If we are His followers that must not be said of us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.
“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
Happy Resurrection Day!
In His love.
During a run this week around Comer’s Rock near Elk Creek Virginia, I saw so much beauty as always. I particularly love watching tiny wildflowers in their process of resurrection as this little flower known as “blood root.” The first little one’s stem is still wrapped in its tiny leaves barely surfacing all the fallen leaves from the trees. The second one’s delicate white petals are fully expanded, fully risen, proclaiming the message of the cross if you are listening to a still small voice that will give you eyes to see and ears to hear. Slow down and be attentive…