He Lives!

By | May 14, 2017

From the time that Jesus came into the world the cross was always before him. He said in John 12:27 that it was “for this cause came I unto this hour.” Oswald Chambers said “the cross did not just happen to Him, he came on purpose for it.” Hebrews 9:27 says, “it is appointed unto men once to die.” Jesus reversed the order, He didn’t die because He was a man, He became a man so that He could die. “It was through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” It required His death to keeps God’s law honorable and at the same time be able to offer mercy to all mankind who had broken his law.

Having finished His last supper He and His disciples passed over the brook Kidron into the Garden of Gethsemane. Here He bore the burden of man’s sin. In Isaiah 53:6 we read, “the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” With great grief and agony He prayed, “His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” He longed for the three disciples to fellowship with Him in His suffering but found them sleeping. He sought for pity and comfort and found none. He prayed to the Father, “if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” He, nevertheless, threw His head back and drank from the cup to its very dregs.

He endured the travesty of the sham trials and the abuse of evil men. In ridicule they “clothed Him with purple, and plaited a crown of thorns, and put it upon His head, and began to salute Him, Hail, King of the Jews! They smote Him on the head with a reed, and spit upon Him, and bowing their knees worshiped Him. When they had mocked Him, they took off the purple from Him, and put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him.”

He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened He not his mouth. They came to Calvary and there they crucified Him. On the cross between two thieves He was suspended between heaven and earth. Even in great distress He prayed and pleaded, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” When He cried, “I thirst” the soldiers mocked Him and offered Him vinegar and having received the vinegar he said, “it is finished.” It was a finished record, prophecy had been fulfilled. It was a finished ritual for there will never need to be another bloody sacrifice offered. It was a finished redemption, man’s salvation was purchased at a supreme price.

Of all the seven sayings of the cross none was more haunting than the cry, “my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” With all humanity having forsaken Him he needed strength and comfort and so He looked to his Father as He had always done before but God turned away. He turned away because He was made sin for us. Peter said, “who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree.”  Therefore, He died the death of a forsaken soul. Having taken on Himself the sins of the world, in that hour He could not cry ‘Father’ but rather He cried, ‘My God, my God!”

The only reason we speak of the day of his crucifixion as ‘Good Friday’ is because of the first day of the week, ‘Easter Sunday.’ Death could not keep its prey, Hallelujah! On that resurrection day He fully vindicated His claims that He was the Son of God. He told John on the island of Patmos: “Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and I have the keys of hell and death.” While He lay in the grave hell and all the demons of the damned were holding high carnival. But when Jesus came forth from the tomb and the cry went forth, ‘He Lives,’ it shook the very foundation of hell. The cross was hell in combat with heaven. It was where Satan’s hate met our Savior’s love and there could be but only one outcome—heaven was the victor! On that resurrection day love was triumphant and mercy rejoiced against judgment and hell was defeated forever.

For what purpose did all this tragedy occur? Why did He, the Son of God, have to suffer all the physical pain and anguish of such a cruel death? The greatest agony that He suffered was the hidings of his Father’s face. It was humanity losing the consciousness of the divine as He bore the guilt of all mankind’s sin on Himself. How could such cruelty and death be justified? Only on the grounds that man was lost and it was the only means of his redemption and restoration. This is what Peter meant when he wrote, “the sufferings of Christ, and the joy that should follow.” The unnamed writer of Hebrews stated it thusly, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Let us rejoice that we serve a ‘RISEN SAVIOR’, and we shall forever rehearse the words of John Newton:

“When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright, shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.”

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