March 30, 2013

The Cross Matters

Last night Jeff and I watched the movie The Passion of the Christ.  Although this movie is quite graphic and difficult to watch, I make myself because it reminds me in a very real way all that Jesus endured to not only pay the price for my sin but the sins of everyone in the world. I like to, need to, watch because it brings me back to the very strong reality that the mocking, beating, scourging and His final death on the cross was barbaric, brutal, inhumane and horrifically painful. It was not pretty. It was not a basic and simple execution. It was bloody and violent.

But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. 
He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.

Why? Why would I want to watch this?
Because He did this for me. He paid my debt. Because He loved me - loves me. Because I need to remember just how much. Because I need to take myself out of the center of my life and back into His and the rest of the world. Because I need to remember that all He did is not only for me. Because He did this for all of us. All of you. Because you matter to Him. He did this for you. Because He loves you.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, 
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Although His sacrifice in death was not simple, the truth and our response is: 

God gave. He died. We believe. We receive.

But the story does not end here. Jesus love does not end in death. His death and all He endured would have been in vain if He had only died. But Jesus conquered death and three days later He arose to live again! He lives! And because of the power of the resurrection, we can have life and power to live and overcome.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

I am humbled by and grateful for the gift God has given. His Son died to give this selfish sinful person that I am a second chance. His death offers forgiveness, mercy and grace to start over. And because He lives, the power of His resurrection gives the power to live better, live right and to overcome difficulties and our sinful nature while living in this world.

As we discover and understand more about Him and His love for us we also discover the joy and peace of knowing Him when we choose to follow Him. 

I am super excited about Easter Services tomorrow at church. I have been praying for all those who will attend for the first time and any who have not discovered the life-giving truth of knowing Jesus Christ as their Savior. 

Tomorrow will not only be a day of celebrating the fact that the tomb is empty but also for the many all around the world who will cross the line of faith trusting Christ's work on the cross as they choose to believe and receive His gift for them!

Thank you God for the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you, Jesus for enduring the violent beatings and death on the cross, for paying the price for our sin. Thank you for your sacrifice, for taking our place. Thank you for loving us that much. Thank you for your life. Help us to not move on too quickly to the resurrection without first remembering the cross. It matters just as much as You rising from the dead. Thank you for beating death, for without the resurrection your death would have no power to save us. Thank you for your mercy and grace and forgiveness. Thank you for your love.

How do you reflect on God's ultimate sacrificial gift?

[ Follow this link for additional reading: Sunday Resurrection is not possible without Crucifixion Friday  ]

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