"Twenty centuries have rolled by and yet... that one death is the most remembered by most people even today. It all happened to a young Man Who was just thirty-three. He had to His credit several miracles. He made the blind to see and the lame to walk. He walked on water, stilled the storm by a mere word and even raised the dead to life on three separate occasions. Yet His generation hung Him on a wooden cross. The crown of thorns, which punctured the head, marred that face with blood. The lacerated body through merciless whipping was suspended -partly through the nails driven through His hands and feet. He hung there as a spectacle before that sadistic crowd that watched and mocked. He was JESUS. The whole Bible, particularly the New Testament, is woven around this central event -the CROSS.
Why did Jesus die? Why should His death be remembered? Dear reader, the answer is twofold. Firstly, you and I had apart in that death. Secondly, Jesus' death alone has the solution for all our problems. You would soon discover that this twofold answer is the very reason why most people world-wide remember His death even today.
Beneath the masks of religion, region, culture and language, we are basically human, -finite but the most wonderful creatures upon earth. We can smile with justified pride that animals, plants and the material universe can nowhere be compared to our intelligence. We are special. Yet... mankind is the only species that is restless. We have no peace. Hatred, violence, bloodshed, lust, greed are our hallmarks. Even our crimes are high-tech. We are the most frightened lot, looking at people and events with suspicion. Diseases and hospitals, police, courts and jails exist at great cost just to keep humanity going without self-extinction. World Health Organization reported a few years ago that every forty seconds, someone somewhere commits suicide and the tragic, added comment was that only one out of ten cases come to the notice of the authorities. We are a directionless, depressed lot. What a tragedy!
God cares and the Bible names this tragedy as SIN. Sin originates in the heart of man and so the Bible says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer.17:9). God's Word asks us, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil" (Jer. 13:23).
The heart of the problem is the problem of the heart. We are not talking about the flesh and blood heart which any leading cardiac surgeon could rectify. We do talk instead of the heart that is the birthplace of deception, pride, hatred, lust, jealousy and selfishness. The Bible states emphatically three truths about sin. Firstly, we are born in sin. This is genetically inherited. Secondly, we cannot save ourselves from sin. Religions including Christianity and good works cannot save us from sins. We need a Savior. Thirdly, God has provided a Savior in Jesus. He died on the cross to legally settle the
problem of sin. Jesus was made sin for us. That is the story of the cross. Sin brings guilt and guilt brings unrest. SIN is a power that rules us and eventually ruins us. Guilt and
power of sin are the two problems humanity in general faces and the ONLY person who found a solution is JESUS.
In the cross, the demands of God's justice and God's love were fully met. The Lord Jesus Christ took upon Himself the wrath of God which should have justly fallen upon you and me. He died in our place and the only reason He did so was LOVE. "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, CHRIST died for US" (Rom. 5:8). In God's court of justice the rulebook said, "...without shedding of blood is no remission" (forgiveness of sins) (Heb. 9:22). God now forgives any man or woman on the basis of Jesus' blood. "...the blood of JESUS CHRIST... cleanseth (purifies) us from all
sin" (1 John 1 :7).
Did God accept Jesus' sacrifice? Yes, He did. On the third day Jesus rose again. His bodily resurrection, the stunning fact of history, attested by the open tomb in Jerusalem today, is a mute testimony that Jesus is alive. He "was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification" (Rom. 4:25). 'Justification' is a term where God removes legally the guilt of a sinner to offer him righteousness. A sinner is MADE RIGHTEOUS at the cross. This is the essence of the Gospel.
Un dealt and unforgiving sin eventually leads a sinner after death to an eternal hell - a place of unending torment. Jesus paid the price and now the sinner is set free.
Forgiveness, freedom and fellowship with God are now offered at the cross. If there could be any other way man could save himself, then the death of Jesus is the 'biggest blunder' God ever committed. My friend, there was no other way and hence Jesus had to die.
The Lord Jesus, though the POTENTIAL Savior for the whole world, becomes the PRACTICAL Savior to those who are willing to repent and believe this good news. The God of love sent Jesus, to die for you and me. Our sin demanded His death. Our deliverance is provided through His death.
Jesus died for you. Believe it to experience the joy of forgiveness, freedom and fellowship with God.
EVERLASTING LOVE – 2
The Lord's Supper was ordained by the Lord Jesus Christ to enable us in a symbolic way to comprehend the love of God which passeth all knowledge. When we see the bread and the cup on the Table, we are reminded that our Lord gave ALL that He had. He could not do anything more than what He did to save us. He emptied Himself completely to redeem us, to make us His own. He emptied Himself of His heavenly glory, and in a human body came to a humble home. When at last He went to the cross, He gave His whole body. His hands and feet were pierced, and His face was spat upon. He gave His head to be crowned with thorns; He gave His back to the smiters; He gave His ears to hear the words of filthy abuse, which were spoken against Him. Finally He gave His life itself. Thus, He gave all that He had. In the garden of Gethsemane, and on the cross of Calvary, He took upon Himself the sins of the whole world. What a terrible burden it was to His sinless soul! That is why John the Baptist said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1: 29).
The Lord Jesus Christ not only bore physical suffering when He gave Himself, but He suffered in His soul also. He was made sin for us. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (2 Cor: 5:21). All the burden of our sins was transferred to Him. Supposing someone is asked to drink all the dirty water of all the filthy gutters; would it not be unthinkable? No one could even endure the smell of all that filth, much less drink it. But our sins are far worse than that filthy water. The smell of the gutter can be removed by phenyle, but the stink of our sins cannot be removed by any kind of soap or water or disinfectant. Yet the Lord bore the awful filth of our sin and travailed in the garden of Gethsemane, and when He hung on the cross, the sun was hidden and there was great darkness. That is why He cried out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt.27:46). He bore all our sins in His own body on the tree (1 Pet.2:24). This is the first thing we are reminded of at His Table, that our Lord gave Himself for us and suffered willingly. He is not asking you to shed tears for that, for His purpose in suffering was that we might be filled with His fullness. He wants us to think of His love as we partake of the feast of remembrance.
When we have our food, it becomes a part of our body, being changed into blood. That is how we become strong in the flesh. Spiritually, we should receive new life in our spirit, every time we partake of the Lord's Table, and go on doing so till we are filled with His fullness. That is why, when we partake of the Lord's Supper, we must judge ourselves and partake worthily, because symbolically we are partaking of His flesh and blood. He is our life. "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1: 27) and again in Col. 3:4, "Christ, ...is our life", When you partake in the bread and cup, you are saying in a symbolic way to everyone around you, "My Lord is living in me. He is my life, my hope and my food. I know that one day He will make me altogether like Himself". When a child is born you know that one day it will be fully grown; so with hope you go on giving nurture to it, knowing how the bones will grow in the body. So also spiritually, by eating and drinking and feasting on the Lord Jesus Christ, one day we shall become like Him. He is our hope, our life, our joy and our glory, and one day we are going to be like Him.
As we take part in the Lord's Table, we are reminded again and again that God's purpose and plan is to fill us with His fullness, but for this we require the fellowship of fellow-believers throughout the world. It is not the question of merely taking part in the bread and the cup. The Table should remind us of our hope to see our Lord one day face to face. So before we take part, we should spend some time in worship together, that all those who take part may come into the understanding of what they are doing. The more we enjoy fellowship with the Lord together with the saints, the more we understand the
fullness of divine love.