Welcome again, beloved friends. I much appreciate you joining me these past few days to remember the events of Holy Week. I love to read and linger over each word in each passage because these events and the great celebration to come in three days are the events on which our salvation rests.
These past few days have been an especially special time for me. This is the first time in a long time that I can grasp the profound reality of what Jesus did on the cross. I knew and believed, but I had difficulty accepting that it was meant for me. How could He mean me? I’ve sinned too much, gone too far, I concluded.
Have you ever thought Jesus didn’t mean you? Dear friends, He does mean you, and if you need proof, it can be found on the cross. So, today I want to focus on just that, the reason Jesus remained obedient and endured what should have been our punishment.
The Voice In My Head
It was a terrible voice that lived in my head. Every time I was in church or listened to people say how much God loves us, the voice told me instead, “but not you.” I felt like a tourist in the faith. I believed it, and it is beautiful, but I would be couldn’t stay. It was not my reality. It belonged to others but not me.
Then a couple of years ago, I reached hopelessness, completely unable to see how much God loves me. But with the help of some friends and the faithfulness of God, the veil fell away, and now I see clearly. Today I want to shout from the mountains about His great love. It didn’t happen overnight, but each day there was a little breadcrumb of evidence God left for me to find my way. He is doing the same for you.
If you feel like God means His love for everyone else and not you, maybe you hear the same voice, please know He absolutely means you, the voice is a lie, and here’s why:
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:9-10 (emphasis mine)
Isn’t that amazing? God has shown us how much He loves us and we don’t have to do a thing. We don’t have to erase the past or pretty up the present. He loves us in spite of all that. Whatever happened in the past does not hold back His love for you. Ever.
In scripture, today’s events started with the Passover meal overnight. Jesus ate and shared the first communion with the twelve. Also, in an act of pure love, He arose from the table and washed the feet of the disciples, each one. “It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” (John 13:1) This humble act was a picture of how much He loved them, that He would sacrifice His kingship to make them clean.
After the meal, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus, in His humanity prayed for deliverance from what was about to happen, but, if not, He tells the Father “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39) Then, He is arrested, brought before the chief priests, delivered to Pilate and Herod and back to Pilate again who sentenced Him to die on a cross, the worst most horrible humiliating way to die.
Because of His Great Love
In scripture, the description of the events of this day is the hardest to imagine. It is most likely that none of us have witnessed the type of brutality that transpired.
All of it, every step was for you–and me.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
He was crushed for our iniquities;
Upon on him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
And with his wounds we are healed.
Jesus laid upon the cross willingly so that we could have peace. The peace that comes from knowing we are forgiven and made right with the One True God. This sacrifice is the result of the greatest love we will ever know.
If you, like me, have been blinded to the truth of God’s love, consider this–if you had been the only person left on the day He was crucified, He would have done it anyway.
His great love means, you too. No matter what happened in your past. No matter what is going on in the present. No matter what might happen in the future.
He did it for you.
Father God, Praise You, Praise You. Let the weight of your great love cover our hearts today as we remember how you Son replaced us on the cross. What was meant for us, in his love for us took our place. Help us to live in the peace that comes from His sacrifice. We are so thankful that in two days, we will rejoice. Amen.