Sunday, March 31, 2013

The earth shook

In Matthew 27:51 we find a very interesting event that happened at the moment Jesus died; the earth shook.  It is not the first time Scripture tells us the earth shook, nor will it be the last.  One can speculate as to why the earth shook, but certainly one of the reasons has to be that it was an affirmation that something extraordinary had just happened.  It bore witness of the fact that Jesus’ death was unlike any other death man had ever known.  It was a bold statement from God that things would never be the same, that Christ had set the captives free.  Indeed He had, for when the earth shook, the graves were opened and the saints who were in them came to life and bore witness to Christ’s victory and soon-to-be resurrection. 
The earth shook, and though the rocks were split, the cross stood firm.  What a wondrous truth we find there!  No matter what may be falling apart around us, the cross stands firm.  N o matter how bad life may seem to be, the cross stands firm.  For all who believe in what Jesus did on the cross, there is great joy for nothing can destroy the message of the cross.  There is salvation, joy, peace and hope in Christ that no one can destroy or take away from us.  The cross stands strong against the all the forces of hell and it will never lose its power to save us and keep us.  The cross stands as a testimony that all the demands of the law for justice had been met. 

The earth shook then, and it will certainly shake again.  When Jesus comes again, he will come as our conquering King and he will turn the world upside down.  He will free the world of all who reject him.  He will transform the world into a habitable place for his children to dwell.  He will purge and purify the world and no one will be able to stand against him. 


The earth shook and gave notice that Jesus is indeed the King of kings and Lord of lords.  It shook and bore witness that even death could not keep her prey.  Jesus is the resurrected Lord of life and all who turn from their sins in repentance will have eternal life in him. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Behold the beauty of the Lamb

In Isaiah 53:10, 11 we are given a description of what Jesus would be like on the cross, and it certainly is not a pretty picture.  Seven hundred years before Jesus was crucified, Isaiah foretold a scene in which no one would want to go see.  Jesus would be hung on the cross, broken, battered and beaten to a pulp.  He would be crushed by man physically and crushed by God spiritually as he took upon himself our sin and the just wrath of God for them.

The Jesus on the cross is not the same looking Jesus we see in most paintings.  He is not the same Jesus we so often hear preached about.  His suffering and its affect on him was so beyond our understanding that we scarcely let our thoughts dwell on it. 

Yet, because of what Jesus did for us, we can today behold the beauty of the Lamb.  As grotesque as the scene was at Calvary, there is a beauty there for you and me.  Jesus went into the darkness of the cross and forever satisfied God's justice against sin.  Jesus broke the chains of sin's death grip.  He did what the law could not do; he washed away our sins and gave us pure hearts before God.  He made it possible for our sins to be forgiven and amazingly forgotten by God.  He doomed Satan and all the demonic forces to an eternal hell, to plague God's children no more.  He opened up heaven's doors for all who sincerely believe in him and accept him as their Savior and Lord.

We behold the beauty of the Lamb as he rose from the grave.  The resurrection is God's exclamation point on our salvation.  It was the finishing touch on God's redemptive plan.  Because Jesus lives today you and I have eternal life and an eternal hope.  There is coming a day in which our faith will give way to sight and we will be with our risen Lord forever and ever.  Jesus rose from the grave and turned life upside down.  He rose from the grave to be seated at God's right hand ruling over all that is and every knee shall before him and declare him to be Lord.

Behold the beauty of the Lamb; he is knocking at your heart's door today.  He is inviting you to open up the door and behold him.  Gaze upon Him.  Let His transforming beauty captivate your heart and forever change you.  Let His righteousness and holiness clothe you.  Marvel at His glory.  Humble yourself before Him and fall on bended knee for he is worthy of all praise, honor and glory.  Jesus, the Lamb of God, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the great I AM and coming King.  Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Friday, March 29, 2013

It is finished.

In John 19:30 we have recorded the last words that Christ spoke on the cross, “It is finished.”  In thinking about those three words, I am intrigued by the reactions they must have created in heaven, hell and on the earth.  Let us just for a few moments think about this. 


In hell, I think there must have been a very brief moment of celebration as Satan and the demonic forces must have thought that they had finally won.  Jesus, the Son of God, had finally given up.  He had too much.  He had gone back to heaven where he came from to bother them no more.  But then, reality did set in.  It wasn’t a declaration of defeat, but of victory.  He had indeed done what he came to do.  The power of sin to destroy the soul was broken.  Man could now live in fellowship with God.


In heaven, I think there was a very great celebration.  All who had died before that moment realized that it was all true.  Jesus was the Savior.  Jesus was their ticket into heaven.  All the angelic hosts rejoiced because all of the promises of God for a Savior was fulfilled.  Heaven was going to be filled with the saints who would join them in singing forth his praises for all of eternity.  Not only that, but Jesus was coming home!  He had been gone for 33 years and now he was finally coming back to take up his rightful place at God’s right hand. 


On earth, there was mass confusion.  No one yet could understand the impact Jesus’ death would have on life.  No one understood why Jesus had to die.  No one understood the darkness, the torn Temple curtain, the opening of the graves.  No one understood the sin that put Him on the cross or the love that kept him there. 


Many today are still confused.  Sin has darkened the understanding of man.  Sin has darkened the soul to the point where evil oozes out of the pores of humanity.  Sin has darkened the mind of man to the point where there is no longer any guilt or shame over sin committed.  Yet, even in the midst of all the evil in the soul of man today, there is still hope.  Defeat can be turned into victory.  Satan may be in his heyday, but his days are numbered.  “It is finished.”  The victory is won.  There is victory in Jesus for all who will turn to him for forgiveness. 


Jesus died only when he had finished what he came to do; he opened up the doors of heaven for all who will believe.  He will not turn away anyone who comes to him with a sincere heart for the forgiveness of their sins.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Veil Removed

In Matthew 27:50-51 we find one of the most important truths in all of Scripture, the veil in the Temple that separated man from God’s presence was torn apart, from top to bottom.  This event is so rich and powerful.  Space does not permit me to unravel all of the mystery surrounding this event, but let us consider a few things.  It is my prayer that my thoughts will inspire you to think more deeply about these things. 


Consider first of all the mystery of the veil itself.  It was a gorgeous curtain that separated the holy of holies from the rest of the Temple.  It was where God chose to reside with man.  Its construction was ordained by God.  He chose the material, colors and design.  Its colors of blue, purple and scarlet looked forward to the coming of Christ.  The veil curtain kept man from coming near to God lest he die.  Once a year the high priest entered into the holy of holies to make atonement for the sins of the people, and the only way he could do it without certain death was to be purified for his own sins and to strictly obey the directives of God.  Within the holy of holiness we find the mercy seat of God, the Ten Commandments, cherubim, Aaron’s rod and a manna jar (which were later lost) and the glory of God.  The message was very clear from God, “Stay away!  If you don’t you will certainly die.”


Consider also the mystery of the torn veil.  At the very moment when Jesus breathed his last, God tore the veil apart from top to bottom.  “It is finished!” the way past the curtain into God’s presence was forever established.  Jesus is the way!  He perfectly obeyed God and made it possible for us to draw near to God and live.  Jesus’ righteousness became our righteousness.  Jesus qualified us to become children of God instead of his enemies.  Jesus made it possible for all of our sins to be forgiven and forgotten by a holy God.


Consider the mystery of the removed veil.  Never again would man be kept away from God.  Never again would man have to participate in his salvation through the offering of blood sacrifices.  Never again would man have to fear approaching God.  Never again would man have to carry around with him the burden of past sins.  Never again would man have to wonder if he was good enough to make it into heaven.  Never again would man be all alone in his quest for righteousness.  Never again would the law of God bind and condemn the soul.  Jesus fulfilled the laws demands for justice and opened the pathway of grace for all who would believe.


Dear friend, think about these things as you celebrate the resurrection of our Lord.  Think about this wondrous mystery of the veil removed.  Let the Lord draw you deep into his great love for you.  Let your heart sing forth His praises as you feast on the wondrous work of Christ on the cross for you.  Let us now enter boldly into the presence of our God and worship him.