1 John 4:9 (NIV)
This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.
Our Verse of the Day has been cited in previous commentaries numerous times. I want to think that since this verse appeared today, there is an anointing on this Scripture that we need to grasp and embrace. We have read this verse. We have quoted this verse. But do we really understand what this verse means? Do we truly comprehend this love that surpasses all human understanding? Indeed, God has shown His love. God has demonstrated His love. It is revealed in the life of His One and Only Son, Christ Jesus! Yet, I wonder, have we fully embraced this truth….
I have often become overwhelmed with thoughts and mental images of the crucifixion – the visage of blood trailing down sunken cheeks … a piercing crown of thorns penetrating His brow … jagged tears of flesh … whip-inflicted wounds covering every square inch of His back. The magnitude of unconscionable, demonic-filled physical torture that Jesus suffered is just beyond imagination. And I find myself weeping in my spirit at the unimaginable pain He bore … the sacrifice His endured to atone for the iniquity of us all.
Yet, the Lord Jesus reminds me that He knowingly and willingly went the cross. (Cf. John 10:11-18) For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross while scorning its shame. (Cf. Hebrews 12:2) God sacrificed His own life … His own blood … according to His own plan and purpose. Jesus died to reconcile me to God the Father. He paid the debt of sin for me. I am redeemed. I have been purchased by His blood. Not because I was good or worthy or merited His favor; rather, He died for me and set me free from the ultimate cost of sin within the human heart. He did that for me! He did that for you! Why? So that we might truly live through Him!
I am convinced there is no true life outside of life within Christ Jesus. Jesus proclaimed, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (Cf. John 14:6) We either believe Him at His word … or we arrogantly reject the sacrificial death He suffered to bring us eternal life. Jesus Himself affirmed: “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise Him up on the last day.” (Cf. John 6:40) “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (Cf. 1 John 5:11-12)
The cross is a hard message. It is hard to understand because it is not rational to the human mind. I feel like Paul … when he expressed this message to the Corinthian Church: “And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony (mystery) about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (Cf. 1 Corinthians 2:1-2)
This is the message of the cross, and for that matter, all of the Holy Scriptures. This is the Gospel … the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes. (Cf. Romans 1:16) The Son had to do this for us! It was required by God; and He sent Jesus into the world for this very purpose – at the appointed time in history … at the appointed place of birth … in the chosen nation of inheritance … for the appointed children of God. Our Savior Jesus was slain for us … for the forgiveness of our transgressions … ordained by God the Father before the foundation of the world. Yes, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (Cf. 1 John 3:16)
Can I leave you with a passage of Scripture from the Prophet Isaiah? I believe he can best orate what I am trying to share here as he foretold the suffering, death, and resurrection of the Messiah 700 years before it occurred! I just think God wants us to focus on this message – maybe as we begin to prepare ourselves and our hearts for the season of Easter:
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. 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.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth. By oppression (From arrest) and judgment He was taken away. Yet who of His generation considered that He was cut off from the land of the living; that He was punished for the transgression of my people? He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death, though He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the Lord makes His life an offering for sin, He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
After He has suffered, He will see the light of life (see the fruit of His suffering) and will 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 many, and He will divide the spoils with the numerous 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.
So Now You Know…
Have a Blessed Day!
For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. ~ Ephesians 3:14-21