God demonstrates his love for us in this,
while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
It was just Easter. I didn't do anything specific to observe Lent. The time slipped by quickly, like any other 40 days. But God has His way of not letting His people sit idly by. A few things have been going on:
- Our pastors have been preaching through the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6.
- I've been reading/studying the early chapters of the book of John.
- My friend's sister died suddenly a couple of weeks ago.
- The Spirit has been gently reminding me to choose forgiveness over grudge holding.
- Resurrection eggs & reading the Holy Week and Easter stories with Elizabeth.
These things all came together to impress upon me the gravity of Good Friday and the glorious beauty of Easter.
I won't go into all of in here. But I would like to share what's jumped out at me from John. Throughout the first 6 chapters, Jesus begins his ministry and performs some miracles. They attract many and repel others. It's coming out that He's more than just a carpenter's son from Nazareth. There's certainly something different about Him. Everyone has an opinion. He's got a following.
What has stood out to me in this reading as more profound than the miracles, is what Jesus knew:
- 2:24 - "He would not entrust himself to them because he knew all men."
- chapter 4 - He knows the woman's life story, from the number of husbands she's had to her spiritual thirst
- chapter 5 - He knows what the Jews are thinking
- 6:15 - He knows that the people intend to come and make him king by force
- 6:64 - "For Jesus had known from the beginning (!) which of them did not believe and who would betray him."
That last one really got me. Jesus knew from the beginning (from the beginning if time) that he was going to be betrayed and by Judas. YET HE LET JUDAS EAT WITH HIM, WALK WITH HIM, REST WITH HIM, AND SIT UNDER HIS TEACHING, JUST LIKE THE OTHER ELEVEN, FOR ALL THREE YEARS OF HIS EARTHY MINISTRY. Who does that?!
Jesus was/is something much more than a really nice guy with great philosophical principles. He came into the word, as Matthew 1:21 says, to save his people from their sin. And to do so, he had to walk, talk, eat, sleep, and breathe with the very people who would betray him, turn their backs on him, sin against him. I don't know that I have the proper words to convey how this is hitting my soul. But I will continue.
JESUS KNOWS ME! And not just the stuff that I like Him to know, but the dirty stuff: the idols I worship, the times I blatantly choose to disobey Him, the jealousy, anger, bitterness, malice, hatred, selfish ambition, etc, etc, etc.
That's Jesus. Jesus knew and Jesus knows.
He knows me; He knows you.
He walked this earth with those who treated Him so poorly, but needed Him so badly. With a depth of love I don't know if I'll ever comprehend, He was determined to rescue us, that we may be drawn back to Him, in right relationship, for all eternity. THAT is what Easter is all about.
Jesus knew. He knew all the dirt on all the people throughout all of history, even those of us in the future, and he walked the via dolorosa to save His people from their sin. There was no other way than the way of the cross. It was that bad.
Then, gloriously, early on that Sunday morning, the tomb was opened, death was undone! And we can have hope that God is making all things new, through His Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit: God the three-in-one.
Perhaps today you wonder if God is angry with you. As my pastor has often quoted, "If you come to God, He will not be angry with you." Jesus drank the cup of His wrath, that through faith in Him we might have eternal life, eternal communion with God. Jesus knows exactly what's going on in our hearts and minds, and He's not afraid of our questions, fears, doubts, and anxieties. He will carry them; He will transform us. The Cross and the Resurrection give us the assurance. All He asks is that we trust Him.
There's no one else who loves us like Jesus, nor is there anyone who knows us like He does. Today will you repent and believe? You won't regret it; I sure don't.
Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again!