Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.
As Easter Sunday rapidly approaches, and the study of Matthew in BSF comes to a close, my mind has been filled with thoughts of the Savior’s sacrifice for the sins of the world. As we read the gospels, and witness through the testimony of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the horrific events that took place leading up to the resurrection of Christ, we should all be humbled by the fact that the Lord God Omnipotent, the One Who reigns forever and ever, left His throne in glory, came to the earth, lived the life that we should have lived and could not, then died the death that we should have died and did not, all so that we could be redeemed back to Himself after we fell into sin. How incredible is that…
Let’s just take a few moments and walk through Jesus’ last hours here on earth. He had eaten dinner with his friends for the last time here on earth. He knew what was coming, so He told his friends that someone near and dear to Him would betray Him, and someone else would deny Him three times, after vehemently professing his loyalty to the Master. Jesus took His three best friends, Peter, James and John, with Him to the Garden of Gethesemane to pray. These were the three who had been closest to the Lord, and though He asked them to watch and pray for only one hour, they could not control the temptation to sleep during one of Jesus’ most desperate hours. Jesus prayed to His Father, and the Bible says that He was so passionate at this point that His sweat was like great drops of blood…and then He comes back to find His friends asleep on the job.
Shortly thereafter, one of those “friends” comes into the garden with the chief priests and scribes, ready to arrest Him. His friend kissed Him on the cheek, and then Jesus was arrested. He was taken to a mock trial, where false witnesses came to testify, and they couldn’t even get their stories straight, but nevertheless, Pilate released Barrabbas instead of Jesus, after having heard his wife say that he should have nothing to do with Jesus’ conviction. She said that she had had bad dreams about it, and she did not want her husband to pay for making a bad judgment call. But just a side note: making no call at all is just as bad when it comes to standing for Christ.
So, Pilate washed his hands, symbolizing the fact that he wanted nothing to do with Jesus’ sentence. Jesus was convicted and sentenced to die. He was beaten mercilessly; slapped around like a nobody. He was spit upon: how disgusting. If I may interject my own personal thought right here: had I been Jesus, spitting on me would have ended all of it. Jesus had already said that if He wanted to, He could call His Father and get a legion of angels to stop the whole thing, but He did not do that. But I would have, because being spit on would have been more than my proud flesh could have handled. Thank God that Jesus is not like me…
Jesus endured having His beard pulled out of His face. He endured the mocking: they put a mock robe around His shoulders and bowed in jest, calling Him the King of the Jews. They braided a crown of thorns and pushed it down on His head. He had nails driven into His flesh, and the cross was stood up with Him hanging on it. It was not the neat picture that we see in the art stores; it was bloody and gruesome and unpleasant. He suffered humiliation, in that, while He hung there on the cross, He was not draped in the neat little loin cloth that you see on the paintings of Jesus. He did not have that luxury. He had a spear driven into His side. As He hung there, scientists have suggested that the pressure of hanging on the cross with the weight of His body bearing down on His chest would have made it difficult to breathe. His legs were bent so that He would naturally push back against the cross, making the experience even more painful. He was called a blasphemer and a liar…He watched His mother as she stood at the foot of the cross, devastated that the Child that she had borne from her body was being crucified for crimes that He did not commit. He had also been left by His friends; the ones who said that they would never fall away from Him.
The Lord Jesus Christ endured all of that for all of the world. I used to think that Jesus died for the Christians, but the Bible says that Jesus died, the just for the unjust. So, if He really did die for the Christians, it stands to reason that He died for the sins of the world because each of us were once enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season, and we were sinners that had not yet been saved by grace through faith. He died for each person who has confessed that He is Lord, and He died for the ones who have not yet confessed Him, but someday will…He also died for the ones who will never confess that He is Lord.
I read a blog post earlier today that said that God does not exist, and the proof is in the fact that there is a ship out in the ocean that was carrying a boatload of high school students, and it sank….there is a plane that took off a few weeks ago, and it disappeared without a trace. So may other horrific things are happening, and there are those cynical people who want to blame God every time something goes wrong. My response to that attitude is this: God is as real when everything is going bad as He is when everything is going good. Are we going to bask in His blessing and never endure any burden? Are we going to experience all the pleasure and never any pain? I never hear anyone acknowledging God publicly when the sun is shining, but when the rain comes, it is all God’s fault. I pray that those with that attitude will search the scriptures so that they can come to know the truth.
But I digress…Jesus gave His life as a ransom for many. If you do not know that, or if you do know it, but you have not confessed your sins to Him, and asked Him to be the Master of your life, won’t you do so today? Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. The Bible says that we do not know the day nor the hour when the Son of Man will appear, and I know that I do not want to look up and Jesus is riding on a cloud, while I am in sin. Don’t let this moment pass without dropping to your knees, crying out to the Father, asking Him to take you as one of His own. He has never rejected anyone who sincerely wanted Him to be the Master of their lives. He gave His life as a ransom for many, and you are one of them…
Happy Resurrection Day!!!