Friday, April 22, 2011

You were on his mind....

In the corner of this drawing of Jesus on the cross, Duane shows the empty tomb and the resurrected Christ.  This brings to mind Hebrews 12:2, which says:

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The reason that Jesus was able to endure the excruciating pain of the lashes that ripped skin and muscle from his back, the thorns jammed down over his head into his skull, the nails through his hands and feet was because he could look ahead and see the joy that was coming - the joy not only of sitting down at the right hand of the throne of God, but the joy of seeing us reconciled.  Because of what he was doing, he saw us restored to relationship with his Father, no longer bound by sin and guilt and shame.  He knew that he was providing the way for every man, woman and child to be forgiven and restored, back to the way the Father intended for them to be when He created them, no longer ashamed and no longer hiding.

When he said, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do," he was thinking not only of those who put him on that cross, but of us.  He knew that people were under the influence of the evil one and did not know the Father's love.  He was making a way for them to be forgiven, and he was making a way for us to be forgiven.  He paid the price for them, and he paid the price for us.

When he said, "It is finished," he was thinking of much more than his earthly life and the pain he was enduring. He was thinking of how man had relinquished his relationship with his Father back in the Garden of Eden when he had listened to the lying voice of the serpent.  Adam and Eve lost their  relationship with the Father, they gave up their dominion, and because of their act, the devil had become the ruler of the world.  But Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.  He became the "second Adam" and lived a sinless life, in perfect obedience to God, and through His death, burial and resurrection, he was taking dominion back.  The work was finished.  The restoration would be complete.  Man would once again be able to walk in fellowship and communion with God, through Jesus' substitution for us.  The way back to the Father and everlasting life has been provided for us.  All we have to do is believe.

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son,
his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be
destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and
lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son
merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was.
He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts
in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since
been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why?
Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind
Son of God when introduced to him.

John 3:16-18, The Message

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