Categories
Life Theology

Passion Week – Good Friday

This is a re-post of the Passion series from last year.

1 Peter 3:18:

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.

2 Corinthians 5:21:

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Jesus did not come to make you a good person with upstanding morals and decent ethics.  He came to make you a perfect person. How does he do this?  He died in our place and bore the concentrated wrath of the Father that we deserved for our sin.  Our sin was credited to him; his righteousness was credited to us. Whoever believes in him, by faith, is presented to the Father, not as a “good” person, but as a completely holy and perfected person.

Hear these penetrating words from C.S. Lewis.

God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them. He creates the universe, already foreseeing — or should we say “seeing”? there are no tenses in God — the buzzing cloud of flies about the cross, the flayed back pressed against the uneven stake, the nails driven through the mesial nerves, the repeated incipient suffocation as the body droops, the repeated torture of back and arms as it is time after time, for breath’s sake, hitched up.  If I may dare the biological image, God is a “host” who deliberately creates His own parasites; causes us to be that we may exploit and “take advantage of” Him. Herein is love. This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves.

Father in Heaven, let me feel the weight of glory of Christ’s crucifixion. This is no game. My sin is serious, and it put the God-man to death. Yet that is the only way I could be made perfect, the only way I could be right with you. Thank you for your Son. Thank you for the Cross. Let my eyes always be on the Cross.

Categories
Life Theology

Passion Week – Wednesday

This is a re-post of the Passion series from last year.

John 19:12-13:

From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.”  So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha.

Jesus was on death row, and Pilate was very close to letting him walk free.  He said a handful of times that he found no guilt in this Galilean pauper.  But when the chips were down, Pilate had no courage.  The Jews pushed a button.  What button did they push?  It was the praise of man button. Everyone has that button, and the Jews knew exactly where Pilate’s was and how hard to push it.

Pilate’s problem was that he considered his kingdom to be more significant than Jesus’ kingdom. His problem was that he loved the praise of the Jews, Caesar, and the hostile crowd more than God’s praise.  Had Pilate released Jesus — whom the Jews were accusing of being a political rebel and spiritual blasphemer — he would have practically forfeited his governorship.  Why?  Jesus called himself a king, and “everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar” (v. 12). Just the threat of some Jews telling Caesar on him a made Pilate shrink back and say, “Okay, okay. You want your so-called King crucified? You can have it.”

Crucify a carpenter to start the weekend or risk losing your job and face treason charges? It was an easy choice for Pilate.

Hold on, though. What about me? Jesus wasn’t crucified because Pilate loved man’s praise and wanted to build his own kingdom, or because the Jews were blind and stiff-necked, or even because the disciples ran away. No, Jesus was crucified because I love man’s praise.  Jesus was crucified because I love my kingdom. Jesus was crucified because I run away everyday. Of course, Jesus died for other people’s sin, too. But if I’m pointing fingers and shaking my head at Pilate, I’m missing the point.

Almighty Father, help me desire your praise and hate the praise of man. Help me feel how ugly my sin really is. Make me realize what it meant for you to be crucified for me. Help me grieve over my sins, great and small, and point me to that blessed Cross, where all my sins were washed away.

Categories
Life Theology

Passion Week – Tuesday

This is a re-post of the Passion series from last year.

Daniel 7:13-14:

I saw in the night visions,
and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.

And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.

The kingdom of God is about one Man, namely, Jesus.  In our meditation yesterday, I wrote, “Jesus is bringing [the disciples] in [to the kingdom], not so that they can be the king, but so that they can be a part of Jesus’ kingdom. We, by grace, get to be participants. It’s all about Jesus.  Not me.”

In Luke 22, when Jesus is standing before the council, he implicitly refers back to this passage in Daniel by calling himself the Son of Man.  When Jesus says, “From now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God” (Lk. 22:69), he means that he is going to reign over his kingdom — the kingdom that God the Father, the Ancient of Days, has given him.

Jesus will not reign as a weak, feeble, doormat king.  No.  He will reign in power.  The first time he came, he was abused and mistreated and murdered.  Now he reigns with the Father after completing his work on earth (see Heb. 1:3).  When he returns the second time, it will not be in meekness nor will it be to save, but to judge and establish his throne upon the earth (see Rev. 19-21).

Daniel tells us that the son of Man — Jesus Christ, the God-man — has been given “dominion and glory and a kingdom.”  His dominion is everlasting, and his kingdom will not be destroyed.  His kingdom will reach every kind of people with every kind of language in every kind of place.  And Jesus purchased this kingdom, these people who serve him, by dying on the cross on Good Friday and raising from the dead on Easter Sunday.

Lord God Almighty, I praise you for giving your Son dominion, glory, and a kingdom — a kingdom of people he purchased with his own flesh and blood. Remind me daily that I am a part of this kingdom by grace and no merit of my own.

Categories
Life Theology

Passion Week – Monday

This is a re-post of the Passion series from last year.

Luke 22:24-30:

A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

“You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

As I read this passage, my own pride rushes to the surface of my heart.  It’s plainly exposed.  And you know what?  It’s ugly.  Jesus said, “Let the greatest among you become as the  youngest, and the leader as one who serves.”  Do I do that?  Am I that?  Most days, I am not.  I crave applause and recognition.  I want people to know my name and face. I want people to read my blog and visit my Twitter.  I want people to be impressed with what I know or how I present myself.  I want people to like me. But, it’s not just addiction to acceptance, as psychologists might put it.  Most fundamentally, it’s idolatry.  I idolize myself instead of worship God.

Jesus ends the disciples’ dispute in our passage by saying that the Father has given him a kingdom, and Jesus is giving that kingdom to his disciples so they may “eat and drink at my table in my kingdom.”  Jesus is bringing them in, not so that they can be the king, but so that they can be a part of Jesus’ kingdom. We, by grace, get to be participants. It’s all about Jesus.  Not me.

Father in Heaven, forgive me.  Help me be humble. Pride is a damning thing, and if I want to be great, I need to be the least. Let me be a servant in your kingdom; help me be like you.

Categories
Theology

Passion Week – Good Friday Meditation

Part 5 in a 7 part series. View series intro and index.

1 Peter 3:18:

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.

2 Corinthians 5:21:

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Jesus did not come to make you a good person with upstanding morals and decent ethics.  He came to make you a perfect person.  How does he do this?  He died in our place and bore the concentrated wrath of the Father that we deserved for our sin.  Our sin was credited to him; his righteousness was credited to us. Whoever believes in him, by faith, is presented to the Father, not as a “good” person, but as a completely perfected person.

Hear these penetrating words from C.S. Lewis.

God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them. He creates the universe, already foreseeing — or should we say “seeing”? there are no tenses in God — the buzzing cloud of flies about the cross, the flayed back pressed against the uneven stake, the nails driven through the mesial nerves, the repeated incipient suffocation as the body droops, the repeated torture of back and arms as it is time after time, for breath’s sake, hitched up.  If I may dare the biological image, God is a “host” who deliberately creates His own parasites; causes us to be that we may exploit and “take advantage of” Him. Herein is love. This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves.

Father in Heaven, let me feel the weight of glory of Christ’s crucifixion. This is no game. My sin is serious, and it put the God-man to death. Yet that is the only way I could be made perfect, the only way I could be right with you. Thank you for your Son. Thank you for the Cross. Let my eyes always be on the Cross.