Today we recognize the greatest sacrifice the World will ever know. Jesus Christ, God's perfect Son, came from Heaven to earth to die. He didn't have to, no one asked Him to, and yet He did it. Never mind most of those He died for will never realize it, or even care. There are those that deny His existence, or the need for Him in their life. There are those that persecute those who do call Him their own, and there are those that use His teachings as an excuse for hatred and violence. Yet, He still died for them.
He also died for me. And I am far from perfect. I have my temper tantrums, my selfishness, my hateful thoughts, I'm not always forgiving. I am not worthy of His forgiveness, and yet there He was battered and bruised hanging on a rough wooden cross...
While He was the Son of God, He came through the 'back door'. He was born of a young virgin maiden. She was, at the time, betrothed to a man named Joseph - who was no doubt surprised to find his beloved to be with child when they had yet to be together. He was ready to 'put her away' for committing the sin of adultry, but was told by a messenger of God to take Mary and the child as his. That the child was the Son of God come to save the world. Through faith, Joseph became Jesus' adotive father.
He taught the boy the family craft of carpentry, He loved Him, cared for Him, provided for Him. All the while probably not understanding completely what Jesus had come to do.
Jesus also came to die for them, for - unlike Christ - they were born into Sin. Christ was blameless as a baby, and as a man.
Jesus grew up and when He heard His Father's call he answered. He began to teach God's Word, and His Will. What Christ said was Truth, it wasn't always just happy go lucky "God-Is-Love" stuff either. Jesus said there were rules, and he even explained and expanded upon them further. Jesus taught that God's Law, and God's Will, were the ONLY way to get to Heaven. His words and actions were sometimes offensive, they were hard to hear. Hey, they're STILL hard ot hear. And people in high places began to not only take notice but take action.
They arrested Jesus, brought him before the Roman court, and demanded he be put to death. The Romans wanted little to do with this Jewish man, he was not posing them any real threat, and yet the people were adament that He needed ultimate punishment.
They beat him, to the point where He was near death and unrecognizable. The soldiers tormented and teased him, they put a crown of thorns upon his brow and mocked him. Calling Him the King of the Jews.
Through it all, Jesus took the punishment that He did not deserve. He didn't have to. Even Satan had tried to talk him out of it. He had the power of the Heavens! He could have laid waste to the entire nation. And yet, He loved them. Through the pain and anguish He gave Himself entirely over to whatever they were going to throw.
They led him down the road to Golgotha. A heavy cross on His back, His human body was weak from the beatings... as well as with the weight of the World. When he could no longer walk, and fell, a soldier grabbed a man from the crowd to take up the cross and help Christ along. Jesus died for that man, too.
Jesus was not the only one set to die that day. Two criminals walked with him. He died for them, too.
They climbed the hill, the soldiers nailed His hands and feet to the wood. They lifted the cross and put it into place. For hour upon excruciating hour He struggled just to breathe. The crowd taunted from below, He died for them. His family and friends, those that dared to even let themselves be known as such, watched in tears - as He died for them. The criminals also chimed in. One screamed for Jesus to show himself as God. To come down off the cross if He said who He was. The other asked Jesus to remember him to God. Even in death, one could not - or would not - see the Truth. Yet, Christ still died for him.
When Jesus died, a storm blew in, and the ground shook. The temple's veil was torn - signifying we were no longer seperated from God - Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice. We could all come to God through Him.
One of the Roman Soldiers recognized the significance of it all, proclaiming that surly Christ was the Son of God. Jesus died for him.
But Jesus didn't stay dead. That's only half of the story. After He was taken from the cross and laid in a tomb, He rose. Just as the prophecies said. He came back, He made Himself known. He did the impossible. Because He was and is God. He's there in Heaven with His Father, and He is our one AND ONLY way to God. And... He's coming again. We don't know the day or the hour, but we know He is coming.
Because He said so. And He is who He has always claimed to be.
Christ is Love, I hear that all the time, and while He loved us unconditionally and died for us, that in and of itself is not enough to save us. He gave, but in order to be given a gift one must RECIEVE that gift. We don't just get it because of our good looks, or because we have a sense of moral view, or because we're 'good people.' Even Hitler, in his twisted sense of thinking thought he was doing good. And certainly the thousands and millions who followed him believe they were doing good. Certainly followers of other faiths believe they are right. But what do they have to show? A bunch of decaying, selfish leaders.
Christ was selfless, BLAMELESS, everything we're NOT. And so I hope those of you who have accepted his gift remember just all He truly gave on that day on Calvary so many days ago. And those of you who don't, I pray you one day do understand. There is no greater love, there's no greater power. When all else fails, when everyone around you leaves, He is still there. He is faithful and Just. He is comfort, He is a peace that passes all understanding. He is GOD, and He will never let you down.( The videos within are some of my favorite to remember this time of year.Collapse )
This post is unlocked because I know that this message is for any and all, not just those I might pick and choose.