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During Lent, we remember what Jesus went through for us. We know intellectually of course, but we don’t always stop to think about the details and what it entailed. Familiarity with the story often causes us to forget that our sin caused Him to go to the cross. It was the severity of our sin, however we measure it, that put Him on the cross. It was the fact that sin is present in our lives. We aren’t holy like He is. We are broken and flawed. We need redemption. We are the opposite of holy.
Have we have chosen to believe this for ourselves? Was He the Son of GOD, meaning the embodiment of GOD Himself in human form? (That is what the expression meant in that culture. It didn’t mean someone who was less than, like it can mean in ours.) Is it really true that He was fully GOD and fully man? That by being both He was able to fully pay for sin for all time?
Who was Jesus and what did He do?
Is it really true that Jesus, the GOD-man, fully GOD and fully man, took the weight of the sin of all mankind of all time on Himself? That He paid the blood sacrifice required to pay for sin with His own blood? That He voluntarily was separated from GOD for a period of time while He paid the penalty of that sin? That after three days, He rose from the dead to show the world that He had won the victory over sin and death? That He bears the scars of what He did on His resurrection body for eternity?
Often, I have felt guilt when watching movies of Jesus death or thinking about it. But my understanding of the Bible leads me to believe that guilt (a horrible motivator) is not what GOD would want us to get from thinking about His death and resurrection. He conquered sin, guilt and death when He died for us…especially false guilt. If all we feel when we think of His death is guilt, we will go nowhere.
He died and offers life, forgiveness, and freedom to anyone who will accept that gift. There are no restrictions. If we sit in a corner and are overcome with our guilt, we miss out on the wonder and joy of this season. All we have to do is to repent of our trying to find life and meaning in our ways of doing life and ask Him for the gift of forgiveness. We have nothing to offer HIm. It is sometimes hard to believe that, but our offenses are so many, that we will never be able to pile up enough good deeds to overcome them. Only He was able to pay for our situation before a holy GOD.
Repentance and a tender heart is the response God wants, not guilt
So this Lent, as we think about what He did for us, yes, it is good to remember what He went through physically. But that was only a tiny piece of what He suffered. I can’t imagine what the broken relationship with the Father was like for him during that period of time when He carried all the sin of the world on Himself. That was an eternal relationship. And the holy Father couldn’t look on Jesus! They were separated by our sin for the first time, ever.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
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.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:3-6 ESV
Here are the words to the following song on the video, sung by Fernando Ortega. I love his beautiful, easy style when singing hymns, old and new. If you like it, share it. It helps the people who do the video and the writers of the music, all you have to do is click the share button. Nothing will explode in your face or anything.
The third verse of this song reminds me that although the gospel is free to me because of Jesus work on the cross, it didn’t come cheap. It it not for those who take sin lightly. Every time I take my repeated sin lightly, I am also taking lightly what He did for me there. It is a serious thing. Again, sitting in my guilt won’t help, hiding out from Him won’t help either. But going to my heavenly Father openly, confessing for the 100th time what He already knows,..and believing Him when He says He forgives me. Then taking seriously that sin that keeps tripping me up. I’m sinning because on some level, that is what I want to do. Ugh!
Wonderful words here to meditate on.
Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted
Words by John Kelly
Tune by F.H. Barthelemon
Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted
See him dying on the tree.
Tis’ the Christ, by man rejected
Yes, my soul, ’tis He, ’tis He.
Tis the long Expected prophet
David’s Son, yet David’s Lord.
By His Son, God has now spoken
‘Tis the true and faithful Word.
Tell me, ye who hear him groaning
Was there ever grief like His?
Friends through fear, his cause disowning
Foes insulting his distress.
Many hands were raised to wound Him
None would enter posed to save.
Yet the deepest stroke that pierced Him
Was the stroke that justice gave.
Ye who think of sin but lightly
Nor suppose the evil great.
Here may view its nature rightly
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the Sacrifice appointed,
See who bears the awful load.
‘Tis the Word, the Lord’s Anointed
Son of Man and Son of God.
Here we have a firm foundation
Here the refuge of the lost.
Christ, the Rock of our Salvation
Is the name on which we boast.
Lamb of God, for sinners wounded
Sacrificed to cancel guilt.
None shall ever be confounded
Who on Him their hope have built!