The Man. The Mission. The Motive.

Isaiah 53:3 says: But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,and with his wounds we are healed.

As we all know, Easter is coming up. As a Christian, this is one of the most joyful and holy holidays that my faith is built on. We recognize the greatest act of love and sacrifice by Jesus Christ for us all. Laying down His life, that we might have eternal life and not be separated from The Father
Jesus, who had humble beginnings, being born in a manger, belonging to a blended family (in that Joesph was not His biological father), being human like us, but also being The Son of God. Jesus, who performed miracles, fed the hungry, healed the sick, raised the dead, and lived a sinless life. Jesus who was talked about, persecuted, lied on, tempted, tested, mocked, brutally beaten, and crucified.

John 19 speaks about His crucifixion, and verses 28-30 say: Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. when he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

He willingly laid down His life with us on His mind, and stripped death and the grave of it's victory (1 Corinthians 15:55). 3 days later, when a couple of women went to look for Him in His grave, He was nowhere to be found. 

Matthew 28:1-7 says: After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

A lot can happen in 3 days y'all, and while yes Jesus was doing the work of His Father all His life, somewhere between "It Is Finished" and "He Is Risen" everything changed for us. The rules changed. Instead of being separated from God, and having to go through doing certain things that we read about in the old testament (like making certain sacrificies and whatnot) to approach anybody can go through Jesus and be saved. No matter where you come from (or even who you come from), what you've done, how you've been living, our debts and sins payed by His Blood. This is that amazing grace that we so often sing about. This is the blessed assurance, that gives my soul peace. To know that by His blood I am covered, and by His mercy and grace I will make it through, and that one day His grace will me home.

The crazy thing about this grace, this mercy, this sacrifice is that it can't be earned. This fact kinda goes against what we find easy to understand, due to our human nature. It's easy to believe that we could possibly earn something great by being good, doing good things, being a good person...and I hate to burst your bubble but no matter how "good" you try to be your own goodness isn't what's going to get you into heaven. 

Ephesians 2:8-9 says: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast

But why? Why would He do this? Why would a Man, who lived a sinless life choose to lay it down for billions of people who lived the quite the opposite. Why be beaten, mocked, and killed in effort to make provision for grace, mercy, and forgiveness for people that might not ever even acknowledge His sacrifice and gift, much less accept it. 

Because, He loves us, far too much to leave us without hope and a future. Far too much to be eternally separated from us by sin and death. Far too much to leave you how you were when you first met Him. Far too much to abandon you. When Jesus rose again 3 days later, He rose victoriously and through Him God extends victory to us as well (1 Corinthians 15:57). 

So this morning, if you aren't on the winning team...I invite you to join us. Know that Jesus loves you unconditionally, and everything that He did, He did for you. Amen. 

I write these devotionals, and share them every other Sunday on WBRU during their morning Gospel program (95.5FM). Be sure to tune in!

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