A personal walk with God and stuff learned on the way

Posts tagged ‘Jesus death’

When life doesn’t make sense

For Christians, the death and resurrection of Jesus is the pivotal event in history which changed everything.  It was God’s plan to save us by allowing Jesus to take the punishment for all we had ever done and would ever do.  When we read the gospels and the words of Jesus, we read it in this light and it is easy for us to understand God’s plan because we have the benefit of perspective.

For those that encountered Jesus during his life, however, it was a different story.  Everyone, including the disciples, thought that the Messiah’s mission was to save them from the current occupation by the Romans.  After all, during the times of the judges, God had raised up individuals to save them from their current oppressors, such as the Philistines, and everyone thought that this was what God had for them this time.

Matt27It is not surprising, then, that when Jesus was arrested, tried and then crucified, some people even up until the end thought that Jesus was going to be saved himself. After all, how can you save anyone after you’re dead?

About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink.  The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”  (Matt 27: 46-49)

This can be compared to a movie when the hero is about to be defeated by the villain and it looks like everything is lost, but at the end the hero recovers, defeats the enemy and saves the day.   We expect a happy ending and this was the case for those watching the death of Jesus.  They thought, “This is our Messiah. He can’t possibly die. That just can’t happen.”, so when he did they must have been dumbfounded at this unexpected turn of events.

confusionWe have our expectations of how we think things should turn out in our lives when God is involved, and when it doesn’t, we can be disappointed and our faith can waver.  When this happens, God is expecting us to trust him with all and every circumstance.  He can see the big picture and he knows the end from the beginning. God’s ways are higher than our ways and this is true when things appear to go badly. It was God’s plan all along for Jesus to die because he had a much higher purpose than just rescuing the Jews from their current set of circumstances.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.  (Is 55: 8-9)

God requires us to trust Him with our disappointments.  Deposit yourself with God and thank Him regularly that He is in control.  When doubt and confusion threaten, you will have to say repeatedly, “God, I don’t understand this and why this has happened. It really hurts and I wish it didn’t, but I give it to you to make something good out of it. I believe that even now you are working to turn this around in ways I can’t see now, but will do later on”.

What was intended for evil, God intended for good”.  (Genesis 50:20)

Living a life that honours Jesus

Back in 2002 the BBC broadcast a programme called Great Britons in which they listed the results of a poll to find the 100 greatest Britons in history. This made quite interesting viewing because it showed that there were men and women in history who, by their lives or work or example, often paved the way for us to live the lives and even enjoy the freedoms that we enjoy today.

One of the memorable entries on this list for me was the suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst who lead the movement to give women the vote in the early part of the 20th century.  The programme also told the story of Emily Davison who, whilst attempting to highlight their cause, died when she threw herself in front of the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby in 1913.

I was amazed at what these women went through in order to simply have the right to vote. Emily Davison, in particular, was an example of someone who paid the ultimate sacrifice for something she believed in. I don’t consider myself a political person, but when elections come around I remember these women and think that if they endured all that they did, to not vote myself diminishes what they sacrificed to give me.

Jesus, of course, paid the ultimate sacrifice for us on the cross.  When we were separated from God by sin we had no ability to bridge the gap between us and God. Instead Jesus had to do it and, in dying, He gave us what we couldn’t get ourselves by any amount of effort on our part.

John 10:10 tells us that Jesus came for us to have life and have it abundantly. If we don’t take hold of everything he provided for us, every promise, every blessing, every provision, we are diminishing his great sacrifice and living our lives at a lower level than the one he intended for us.

Philippians chapter 3 describes our response in the light of this

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Phil 3:12

Since Jesus endured the suffering that he did to free us from sin and to give us this abundant life, to not seize hold of what he died to give us dishonours and belittles what He went through.

Seek to live a life that honours Jesus’ sacrifice

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