We All Die. Jesus Came Down to Die With Us.

I listen to the podcast, “Theology in the Raw,” which is hosted by Preston Sprinkle. He interviews people with questions on hot-button issues of the day. He delves deep into controversial subjects within the churches. What I like most about Preston is his willingness to hear new ideas of belief and how Christians should act towards those who are usually not accepted.

Recently, I listened to an interview he had with Christian Gonzalez, a Greek Orthodox believer who works in Youth and Young Adult Ministries. I knew nothing about the beliefs of the Greek Orthodox church, so I was interested to learn what they are.

I came away very moved by what he said was the main thrust of his faith. It is that Jesus didn’t just die for us, he died with us In this world, we are all under the sword of death. He came to become one of us part of that was experiencing death.

This meant a lot to me because I have always believed God was responsible for me being here on this earth. I used to say to him, “If you’d have given me a choice, I would have said, ‘No thanks.’ I was pretty bitter and angry about my life and the suffering I’d gone through and the suffering I was still going through. I know this is the wrong attitude for me to have, but it is there in my heart. I give it to God and ask for peace, joy and love within. He gives it to me, but I need to ask every day or I will return to my old thinking.

Jesus dying for us was an enormous sacrifice. He didn’t die like all other people because he took the sins of the world upon him and had to pay for them with mental suffering. The Bible says he became sin for us, that he became cursed. This meant God the Father had to abandon Jesus as he died on the cross. This is why he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He died the death of evil, sinful people. He took their place in judgement. Like someone owed a huge debt to the bank and couldn’t repay and was going to lose everything, Jesus stepped up and paid it all.

But Jesus dying with us seems different to me. Immanuel: God with us. It feels to me like kinship and understanding what we all go through. None of us here on earth asked to be born here and God is the great creator of all things. Therefore, because we suffer, he suffered as he walked the earth. He was rejected and misunderstood by most people, even by his own brothers, who thought he had lost his mind. I believe he was lonely, sad and sometimes even afraid. I say that because he asked his Father that if it was possible, he would take the cross away. Obviously, there was no other way, even for God.

After listening to the podcast, I talked with God about this and a verse from the Bible popped into my head. It was when Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow me.” I took that to mean, each of us has a cross. What does a cross represent? I would say sorrow, suffering, pain, dying, and humiliation. Most of us go through these things in our life, if we live long enough. And when Jesus says to pick the cross up and follow him, where is he going? He is going to die and we have to do that also. In fact, Paul says, “We die daily.” And “Put to death, therefore, the components of your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry.” This is a death of our sinful nature.

We can’t do that without God, who changes our hearts and makes it possible. We just have to talk with God each day, asking for his life to be in us and to make us like Jesus. This is actually a great adventure, if we look at it like that. Of course, I didn’t, I was either mad or depressed. I feel much better now. I think it’s because when my first grandson died, I felt how God helped me cope with that. I know now that he is always there for me helping me through life.

Words from the Cross.

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photo by: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:AntanO

I’ve been reading, “The Forgotten Jesus,” by Robby Gallaty. It is a very good book that explains the Jewish customs of Jesus’ time. He explains why Jesus spoke in parables and what these parables would mean to first century Jews. His last chapter deals with the death of Jesus and the meaning of why he recited the first line of Psalm 22,  “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This is what he writes:

“Jesus encourages his listeners to develop a deeper understanding of what is happening to him as he hangs dying on the cross. Although the passage begins with agony and despair, it ultimately ends with triumph and victory. Listen to the final verses:

‘All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord. All the families of the nations will bow down before you, for kingship belongs to the Lord; he rules over the nations. All who prosper on earth will eat and bow down; all those who go down to the dust will kneel before him – even the one who cannot preserve his life. Their descendants will serve him; the next generation will be told about the Lord. They will come and declare his righteousness to a people yet to be born. They will declare what he has done.’

With Psalm 22 in mind, Jesus is exclaiming from the cross, ‘We will win in the end. I know it looks bleak now, but God is going to use this for victory.'” 

The last verse of Psalm 22 says, in the Christian Standard Bible, “They will declare what he has done.” In other translations this sentence could read, “He has done it!”  “He has accomplished it!” “He has performed it!”  and  “He has finished it.”

I was amazed to see this verse, as if it was the first time, because I realized this was another thing Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished.” 

Yes and Amen! It is finished. Our salvation is made sure. His great sacrifice was accepted! Hallelujah!

 

 

Jesus Enveloped in Sin, Within and Without.

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Although I had known Jesus became sin for us, that he took our sins upon his heart, I didn’t think about the depth of that until I read these two verses explained.

 “And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly amazed, and sore troubled. And He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.”    Mark 14:33,34

http://biblehub.com/commentaries/pulpit/mark/14.htm

“He began to be greatly amazed, and sore troubled…” (e)kqambei = sqai kai\ a)dhmonei = n).  These two Greek verbs are as adequately expressed above as seems possible. The first implies “utter, extreme amazement;” if the second has for its root ἄδημος, “not at home,” it implies the anguish of the soul struggling to free itself from the body under the pressure of intense mental distress.” 

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 34. – “None but he who bore those sorrows can know what they were. It was not the apprehension of the bodily torments and the bitter death that awaited him, all foreknown by him. It was the inconceivable agony of the weight of the sins of men. The Lord was thus laying “upon him the iniquity of us all.” This, and this alone, can explain it. My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death.’ Every word carries the emphasis of an overwhelming grief. It was then that “the deep waters came in,” even unto his soul. “What,” says Cornelius a Lapide, “must have been the voice, the countenance, the expression, as he uttered those awful words!”

Jesus sweat drops of blood that night. He said he was at the point of death. An angel came and strengthened him or he might have died there in Gethsemane.

This was the sin within him.

From the time of his arrest until he died on the cross, Jesus was surrounded by sin of every type.

Cruelty, cowardice, envy, betrayal, mocking, hatred, torture, slapping, beating, lies, indifference, pride, unbelief, anger, and injustice.

This was the sin without him.

For a pure and holy person, being surrounded by evil must have been horrible. Realize also, he loved all the people there who were causing him such pain. It would be like us having our parents or children abuse us. Some of us have lived through that, it’s true. Jesus did too on the night and day of his trial and death.

Someday, when we are in heaven, we will see what Jesus left to become one of us, to suffer untold agony and to die feeling all alone.

Here are some extra Bible verses: 

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  2 Corinthians 5:21

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’—“   Galatians 3:13

“But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.  Isaiah 53:5

“Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”   Hebrews 9:28

Everything that Matters was Nailed to the Cross – Even You.

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I was reading a book about how our salvation worked through Jesus’ death on the cross. The author said it is mysterious and we won’t understand it in this life.

I was telling my husband about this and he said, “I don’t see why people don’t get it. Jesus died on the cross and the law died on the cross. We are saved because he kept the law, was equal to the law (since he made it) and we can’t keep the law so he did it for us.”

I was a bit stunned because number one, I’m not a Bible scholar, and number two I had never thought about the law being nailed to the cross. I had heard from my church that it was only the ceremonial law that was nailed to the cross, but my husband showed me that was wrong. All law was nailed to the cross.

So, I was thinking about the 10 Commandments being nailed to the cross and Jesus too and then I remembered what Jesus said about taking up our own cross and following him.


“Then he (Jesus) said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.  Luke 9:33

 

I started studying and I saw that it isn’t our own separate cross we take up; we were nailed to Jesus’ cross along with him.

 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  Galatians 2:20

But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.”  1John 1:7


Imagine being nailed to the cross with Jesus. His blood would pour out on us.


So, now the 10 Commandments are on the cross, Jesus is on the cross and we are on the cross.

Is anyone else on the cross?  Yes! God the Father and the Holy Spirit were on the cross because they are one. The Father is in Jesus and they are both in the Holy Spirit and they were on the cross there suffering with Jesus in their hearts and minds.

For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 2 Corinthians 5:19

I read that the law was like a contract signed to buy a house. But you don’t have good credit so you get a co-signer. Maybe your parents. Then you decide you can’t keep the house. It is too much money, it is too hard to pay and you walk away. The house must be paid for. No getting the bank to forgive that loan, so the co-signer must pay. 

Someone had to pay for the laws of the universe being broken and this is where the hard part comes in, understanding why.  All I know is that the co-signer has the money. You don’t; he does. And he is glad to pay it for you! It is a sacrifice for him but he loves you. You can even live in the house- he gives it to you free of charge.

Okay, so this is what I’ve been thinking about for two days and I’m not sure why, but I love the image of the cross with the broken Commandments, Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit and me hanging there all together with the blood of Jesus covering everything.

When you think about it, everything that really matters in the universe is hanging on the cross.

Absolute, Extreme, Unutterable Love.


I offered my back to those who beat me,

my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;

I did not hide my face

from mocking and spitting.

Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,

I will not be disgraced.

Therefore have I set my face like flint,

and I know I will not be put to shame.”   Isaiah 50:6,7

“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”

John 13:1


Pulpit Commentary

 “Here the sentence ends with the climacteric expression, He loved them utterly; he manifested, and that before the Paschal Lamb should be slain for them, his absolute, extreme, unutterable love.”

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary


“…having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end—The meaning is, that on the very edge of His last sufferings, when it might have been supposed that He would be absorbed in His own awful prospects, He was so far from forgetting His own, who were to be left struggling in the world after He had departed out of it to the Father that in His care for them, He seemed scarce to think of Himself save in connection with them: Herein is love, not only enduring to the end, but most affectingly manifested when, judging by a human standard, least to be expected.”


Excerpts from Isaiah Chapter 53.

He was despised and rejected by mankind,

a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.

Like one from whom people hide their faces

he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain

and bore our suffering,

yet we considered him punished by God,

stricken by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,

he was crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was on him,

and by his wounds we are healed.

 

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

each of us has turned to our own way;

and the Lord has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.

 

After he has suffered,

he will see the light of life and be satisfied;

by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,

and he will bear their iniquities.Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,

and he will divide the spoils with the strong,

because he poured out his life unto death,

and was numbered with the transgressors.

For he bore the sin of many,

and made intercession for the transgressors.

 

“…Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:2

 

“For God so loved the world, he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not die, but have eternal life.” John 3:16