Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Prayer Of Our Great High Priest John 17

Sitting outside this morning and reading the Word. This was part of my reading—it is one of my favorite portions of Scripture. I wanted to share it with you because it stirs my heart each time I read this High priestly prayer flowing from the lips of my precious Savior—the altar of incense. I pray that as you read it too, He stirs your heart and that you are overwhelmed with the Love of the Father. 
Jesus loved us so much for this prayer to leave His lips and raise straight to heaven’s throne. What is so remarkable to me is that He prayed this beautiful prayer knowing that He was leaving this holy, sacred place into the heart wrenching betrayal by one of His friends whom He had just lifted to the Father in prayer {Ps. 55:12 HCSB}. The betrayal of a friend can be the worst pain, yet Christ prayed for him before the kiss of betrayal. Jesus knew that the son of perdition was lost because of what he was about to do, but this broke His heart. May this prayer bless you today.

The High Priestly Prayer

“Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.  This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.  I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.  I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have come to know that everything 

You have given Me is from You; for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.’”

The Disciples in the World

“But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.
I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

Their Future Glory

“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Resurrection Day! He Is Alive!

The Resurrection

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living One among the dead?  He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again” {Luke 24: 1-7 NASB}.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Sabbath Sanctuary: Holy Saturday Why did Jesus have to die?

It sits nicely tucked away in its box—the bronzed cross which hung on my wall for many years as a symbol of blessing for my home. I packed it away after redecorating the place it hung and came across it this morning.

Remembering that His hands were pierced instead of mine.

 Bronze the representation of judgment—Jesus took upon Him the wrath due me on the cross. A cross to bless my home came with a great price by God who sent His Son. 

Yesterday we remembered Christ and His crucifixion; His holy sacrifice for our filthiness and sin. Every sin I have committed, every idle word I have spoken was nailed to the cross yesterday. There seems to be a void after the horrific crucifixion scene the previous day, and the celebration of an empty grave on Sunday. Sabbath Saturday seemed quiet; the dust settling from the events and commotion of the traumatic events of the previous day, and a quiet hush seemed to hold the city captive. It looked like everything was dead. Everything the disciples hoped for is gone—their dreams died and were buried with Jesus. The perceived injustice broke their hearts and surely the question had to well in their spirit—why did He have to die?

Many have asked this question through the centuries since He laid down His life for the world. It was foretold through the Old Testament “they are striking the judge of Israel on the cheek with a rod. Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; One will come from you to be the ruler over Israel for Me. His origin is from antiquity, from eternity” {Micha 5:2 HCSB}. This speaks to His eternal nature—from the foundation of the world, the pre-existent Christ—the Lamb that was slain {Revelation 13:7-9}came in the flesh. Jesus told His disciples that everything written about Him in the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled {Lk. 24:44}.

Christ has sinlessly borne the sins of the world. In His innocence he has submitted first in the full waters of the Jordan and then in the bloody waters of the cross, to baptism for sin’s repentance becoming cursed for us in order to deliver us and save us from our sin.[1] 

Some may argue that this sacrifice is cruel and sadistic, but they are misguided. It was a price motivated by the love and compassion of the only wise God. A Just God who could have chosen differently. He could have chosen to leave us in our sin awaiting judgment, displaying His perfect justice. He could have chosen to save no one. But God, in His love chose to redeem instead of leaving us to wallow in our sin. As a consequence of His choice to redeem, Christ’s atonement was necessary. Jesus prayed in the garden to let the cup of His death pass from Him {Matt. 26:39}, if only there was another way…but He always prayed according to Father’s will and in fullness of faith. This is evidence for us that it was not possible for Jesus to avoid His death and the cup of His suffering if He was going to fulfill the Father’s purpose and redeem mankind.

Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him” {Isaiah 53:1-6 NASB}.

But this is not the end of the story. Friday happened, but Sunday is coming! The Suffering Servant has been rewarded—His suffering is over:

He will divide the spoils with the strong. This means that we share in Christ’s inheritance. We are co-heirs with Jesus, according to Paul, because we have been adopted into the family. We are God’s children. ‘Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if we indeed share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory’ {Rom. 8:15}.[2]

Why did Christ have to come to earth and die for our sins? The answer is found in His character—His love, and His justice. In His goodness, He chose to not leave us in sin but to redeem us.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life {John 3:16}. But His justice required a way for our sins to be paid for, for He is a holy God and cannot allow sin to go unanswered. Paul tells us that this was why God sent Christ to be the propitiation {Romans 3:25}, the only perfect sacrifice to pay for our sin. The love and justice of God were the ultimate cause of the atonement.

On this Sabbath Passover Easter weekend, reflect on God’s holiness and justice and rest in His love that chose to redeem you and make available His promises for your life. In His holiness He saw your sin, in His justice, He provided the sacrifice for you through Christ and because He loves you He redeemed you.

Saturday is almost over…Sunday is Resurrection!

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[1] Alan E. Lewis, Between Cross And Resurrection: A Theology Of Holy Saturday (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001), 45.
[2] R.T. Kendall, Why Jesus Died: A Meditation Of Isaiah 53 (Oxford: Monarch Books, 2011), 185.