Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Mid-Week Message - The Storm Before the Calm

"And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God."  Ephesians 3:18-19 (NLT)  

He didn't have to do any of it.  He didn't have to allow Himself to be arrested, but He did.  He didn't have to let them scourge Him.  He didn't have to let them humiliate Him. He certainly could have exercised His power to stop it.  He didn't have to accept a crown of thorns being placed on His head or let anyone spit on Him, yet, He did.  At any time He could have stopped His own crucifixion.  He could have avoided having spikes driven through His flesh, being raised up on that cross, having His clothing stripped away.  After all, He was so much more than a mere man.  He was God in the flesh.  He could have called a legion of angels to rescue Him, or just come down from the cross on His own and struck the soldiers dead.  

Instead, He allowed all of it.  Everything that happened that horrible Friday took place with His permission.  Have you ever thought of that?  He could have said "no" to carrying His own cross.  He could have said "no more" at any time during that dark day.  We know the human part of Him was reluctant to go through with it because He prayed in the garden that the Father would "remove this cup from me."  And it wasn't simply a quick prayer.  It was heart-wrenching.  

So why didn't He say no to Friday?  The answer is this: Without Friday, there would have been no Sunday.  His love for us is so great that He was willing to endure the storm of Friday so that we could have the peace that Sunday brought.  The sacrifice was made.  Death has been defeated.  Our forgiveness and eternal life have been secured.  

Each year as Easter approaches, in my mind I hear the hammer pounding the nails.  What a horrific sound that must have been.  Precious Jesus, our Savior, laid out on the cross and having to endure such pain!  What agony He must have gone through as they raised up that cross and his body fought gravity as He struggled to keep Himself in a position where He would be able to breathe.  All because of the love He has for each of us.  Nails didn't keep Him on the wood.  Love did.  

I have a hard time understanding love that is that deep and pure.  Maybe you do too.  That He chose the nails rather than to allow us to perish is mind boggling. But that is what took place.  You and I were more important to Him than anything He experienced that awful day.  

As we observe Good Friday, let's remember that He was willing to go through the agony for our sake.  And on Easter Sunday, as we rejoice in His resurrection, and each day that we walk in the freedom that His actions provided us, can we each take at least a moment to ask ourselves what we are willing to do for Him?

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