“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” -John 19:30
Last night we had our first service in the newly remodeled sanctuary. I can’t imagine a more fitting time to reveal its completion than Easter. Our building remodeling is not yet complete, there’s still a lot of work to be done, and yet, walking into that sanctuary, it’s once yellow walls now white as snow, reminds us all of rebirth. That our old sinful selves have died, nailed to the cross that day when Jesus took the full weight of our punishment upon Himself. Now, just like the church walls, we are white as snow, and this idea of renewal, bringing dry bones to life, is at the very heart of what we are called to do.
We have been commissioned to change the world, one soul at a time.
And so, on Good Friday we all gathered together to remember what our Lord did for us, worshiping and reading the last words Jesus spoke before He died.
One thing stood out to me that I had never thought of before, though I knew in my heart that it was true. Jesus gave up his spirit. Just as we read earlier when Jesus was being tempted, He had the power, at any time, to call angels down from heaven to rescue Him (Matthew 4:6). Even when He was arrested and beaten, that power remained in Him, and finally, as He was nailed to the cross, and the people taunted Him saying, “if you are the Son of God, come down from the cross and save yourself!”(Mark 15:30), Jesus chose to remain there.
His final words that He called out for all to hear, profoundly demonstrated that THEY couldn’t kill Him, He CHOSE to die, to surrender His spirit and endure their punishment. In that way, Jesus became a true sacrifice.
Jesus was fully man and fully God, and so He suffered the cross as any man would, enduring pain we can’t even fathom, feeling alone and separated from His Father, and even turning down a drink of medicated wine (Matthew 27:34) that would have at least taken the edge off His suffering when He was so badly beaten He could barely stand let alone carry the cross.
Our Lord endured the worst suffering imaginable…and didn’t once change His mind, didn’t once hate the men and women who spat in His face, who beat Him and cursed Him, laughing at the sight of Him. That is love like we have never seen before, would you do that for a stranger? For your enemies?
This Easter, remember Jesus’ sacrifice, take a moment aside from family and friends to truly be alone with God, alone with Jesus. Read the story for yourself, watch The Passion of the Christ or Son of God movie. Let your heart be moved, your passion awakened, and the truth of the good news really sink in.
God bless you all this Easter and always.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”