Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Jesus Died On Our Behalf

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53: 4-6).

It is Good Friday! On Thursday evening two thousand years ago, Jesus had the Last Supper with His twelve disciples. At supper, what hurt Him most was the betrayal of Judas, one of His disciples. Jesus did not condemn him. However, He said, “Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!” He did not say, “Woe to Judas by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!” He was actually giving an opportunity for him to repent. Unfortunately Judas did not make it. And for just 30 pieces of silver, which was the price of a slave, he betrayed the Lord whom he lived with for three and a half years.

As Christians, we too have betrayed the Lord in one way or another. Say, some Christians are so embarrassed to identify their belief in front of others. Or for some, when their lives are threatened (especially in situations where persecution is prevalent among antichrist governments), would choose to deny Jesus. Or even for some, their faith in the Lord is getting colder each day. Such move is likened to crucifying the Lord once more.

Good Friday is a time for Christians to check their lives for any areas that are not pleasing to the Lord. It is also a time for the world to see how miserable their states of life are. Jesus was nailed to the Cross. “He must be a great a sinner,” thought the crowd at Calvary, “For He had to suffer such a cruel punishment from God!” They were ignorant that Jesus laid down His life for them on His own initiative. John 3: 16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Two thousand years ago, Jesus forsook His riches in Heaven. “And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a Cross.” (Philippians 2: 5-8).

Jesus was sinless, but yet He had to bear the sins of mankind. There had been a great struggle deep within His spirit. Soon after the Last Supper with His disciples, He prayed fervently in the Garden of Gethsemane. Three times did He negotiate with the Father to let the cup (death on the Cross) pass from Him. And for each round of negotiation, He too pleaded, “Not as I will, but as You will.” The Bible says, “His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22: 44). It shows that behind the scene, there was a great spiritual warfare going on. Jesus confronted Satan. The third pleading was final, and Jesus had determined to drink the cup! He won the war. No other forces (including the persuasions of Pontius Pilate) could change His mind to embrace the suffering of the Cross.

God made our ancestors, Adam and Eve, a sinless mankind. When they had consumed the forbidden fruit, curse was sent upon men – the curse of death! “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners.” (Romans 5: 19). When Adam sinned, not only was mankind accursed but the ground as well. Subsequently, in pain, men shall eat of it all the days of their life (Genesis 3: 17 – 19).

Thank God, “By The One Man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5: 19). Should Jesus be disobedient to the Father in embracing the Cross for mankind, we would never have salvation. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’.” (Galatians 3: 13 – 14). Chapters 27 to 30 of Deuteronomy tell us more about the consequences of curse, including deaths, pestilences, poverty, etc.

When we received the sacrificial work of Jesus, we are saved. He had taken from us curses which He hung on the tree at Calvary. “But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1: 12). What you need to do now is to make this simple prayer, and mean it in your heart. “Lord Jesus, I am a sinner. I ask of You to forgive me. Now I want to invite You into my heart to be my Savior and Lord. Amen!”

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