Saturday, April 18, 2009

He Is Risen Indeed!

I am still reflecting on Easter. The words of a hymn that we sang Sunday morning keep running through my mind:

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain.
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
sin's curse has lost its grip on me.
For I am His and He is mine,
bought with the precious blood of Christ.
from In Christ Alone

I find it interesting that the glorious moment when Christ was raised from the dead was not witnessed by any man. God was quite content for the resurrection to take place quietly as the sun also rose. Man, who is redeemed by this great event, lies sleeping - unaware of the cosmic victory that was won. God promised a redeemer when man fell in the Garden, and now, that redemption is made sure and certain.

Hallelujah, the victory is won. Christ is risen. He is risen, indeed!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

We call it Good Friday. And since it is when Jesus died for our sins, it is a very Good Friday.

But it wasn't good for those who actually lived through the events. Can you imagine what this day was like for them?

As Jesus suffered, His mother Mary stood faithfully beside Him watching these events unfold. She witnessed the treatment He received from the Roman soldiers; she saw them nail the spikes into His hands and feet; she saw them raise the cross and slam it into its hole in the ground. She saw her son take His last earthly breath. On that Friday she experienced what Simeon the prophet had foretold many years before: "a sword will pierce your own soul." [Luke 2:35] That Good Friday her soul was pierced.

This day was not a Good Friday for the disciples either. One of their trusted friends, a comrade they had shared life with, turned into a betrayer. Consequently, Jesus was ripped from them. Fear gripped their hearts. Peter pledged to stand with Jesus no matter what happened. But within a few hours, he denied that he even knew the Lord. And the rest of the disciples? Most of them had already fled the scene by the time Peter denied Jesus.

And on that Good Friday, Jesus suffered. He suffered at the hands of the Jews; He suffered in the hands of the Romans. He prayed that if it be the will of the Father that this cup would pass from Him. But it was the will of the Father for Him to bear the shame, the mocking, the beatings, the desertions. And beyond all understanding it was the will of the Father to turn His back on His holy, beloved Son as the sin of the world was cast upon Him.

Therefore Jesus cried,
“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

I can still hear that cry echoing through the pages of time. The holy, beloved Son was alone, separated from His Abba, Father as He bore my sin.

..."why have you forsaken me?”

How can it be that you and I are the answer to that question?

"The Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen." [Galatians 1:4] Amen and amen!

It is Good Friday.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

When (Since) Life is Hard

Reflections for my friend:

“Thou hast taken account of my wanderings;
Put my tears in Thy bottle;
Are they not in Thy book?
Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call;
This I know, that God is for me.” Psalm 56:8-11

He, the Creator of all worlds,
He, the Alpha and the Omega,
He, the Master of the universe…

…takes into account my wanderings?
…captures my tears and puts them in His bottle?
…He – is for me?

I am overwhelmed by these thoughts. God sees my wanderings through this life. I do not wander alone; nor do I wander out of His sight. Not only does He see my journeys, He takes them into account – He notes them, recognizes them, understands them. He remembers them as He interacts with me.

God also sees the pain that I struggle with. He doesn’t just observe my tears, He collects them. My tears do not flow unheeded or without response. God gathers them and stores them in His own bottle; they are valued by Him.

Why does God care about my wanderings and tears? Why does He take the time to relate to me on this level? It is hard to comprehend.

But David goes even further in this Psalm. David boldly declares, “God is for me.”

God is for me.

O, God, grant that I may know – deep within my soul – that You are for me!

In another passage, David is reflecting on similar truths: God knows when he sits down, when he rises up, what he is thinking, what he speaking. God knows it all.

The truth is that God knows all about me. God knows all of me, yet He still loves me. And He still is for me. I exclaim, as David did, when reflecting on these thoughts, “Such knowledge is to wonderful for me: It is too high, I cannot attain to it.” Psalm 139:6