(The Faith Forum Series – Batch 4)
Based on God’s plan to reconcile rebellious mankind back to himself, Jesus left heaven and came down to earth many years ago in human form, through the passage of a woman.
He lived a perfect life, taught people how to live, performed wondrous miracles and then allowed himself to be captured and killed by wicked, sinful men because this was part of the plan of heaven.
Yes, Jesus, the Son of God the Father, the Creator, the Saviour of this world and God the Son in the flesh, had the greatest power in the world and beyond this world, YET, he relinquished it and instead, voluntarily allowed mere mortal sinful human beings to:
- betray him,
- spit on him,
- buffet him (meaning knock, pound, push, dash or afflict over a long period of time)
- smite him (meaning slap or strike) with the palms of their hands,
- scourge him (meaning whip severely with a multi-thong whip that reportedly consisted of bones and metal and which was used to inflict severe corporal punishment or wounding)
- sarcastically place a crown of thorns on his head (which I believe was painful),
- mock him (meaning jeer, ridicule, laugh at or tease),
- spit on him…again,
- take the reed they placed in his hand and smite (or strike) him again with it, this time on his head,
- cruelly give him vinegar mixed with gall to drink when he cried out for thirst, which he tasted but would not drink,
- part his garments, most likely leaving him naked,
- cast lots as to who should get his garments, right in the middle of his suffering,
- strip him of all dignity, as he was crucified humiliatingly in the presence of a multitude of people, who, sitting down, watched him there, as he endured incredible suffering and died, his hands and his feet excruciatingly nailed (or pounded into with a piercing device) to a cross,
- allow those who were passing by and saw him in his utter humiliation and pain, to revile him (meaning criticize in an abusive or angrily insulting manner), the devil operating through them in one final attempt to tempt him, to come down in pride from the cross where he was suffering and save himself (after all, he was the Creator of all creation and God the Son!), which he could have done at any time but did not, so as to not foil the plan of heaven for the redemption of man and to remain without sin and obedient to God the Father.
YET…“For the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame.” (Hebrews 12:2).
He knew that the time had come to bring to pass the words he had declared prior, when he had said: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me”, signifying what death he should die. (John 12:32-33)
He had said: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” This he knew.
As God’s Son and God himself in human form, being part of the threefold Godhead, He (Jesus), voluntarily made his soul an offering for sin and poured it out unto death, so that you and I could be saved from the wrath to come at the end of this world by believing on Him (Isaiah 53:10,12).
He was bloodied by the tormenting crucifixion process but yet he allowed his blood to flow, so that many (including you and me, as undeserving as we are) could have their sins remitted, wiped out and forgiven (Matthew 26:28). With every stripe or blow inflicted, it hurt him but healing was made available for our sin-sick, sin-riddled, sin-blinded and sin-diseased soul.
He did absolutely no wrong and unlike us, lived a perfectly sinless life, yet, he offered himself as a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, as a substitute for us, so that we could escape the wrath of God, through belief in Jesus and acceptance of his blood atonement.
He paid the penalty that God set for sin, for us and he did not die easily but cruelly, shamefully, as the price God demanded for our sin was death. As a substitute, he took your place and mine on the cross and voluntarily paid that price which was death, in obedience to God the Father and out of love for us.
This is why Romans 6:23 declares: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
We know the price for our sin was paid by Jesus in full with his blood and accepted by God the Father, thereby giving those that believe that Jesus rose up from the dead on the third day and confess with their mouth that truly he is Lord, access to the family of God, a heavenly inheritance and eternal life.
For of a truth, the good news is that after Jesus suffered his ordeal and died, when it was all finished and God’s wrath was pacified, on the third day, the Godhead (including Jesus himself) rose him up again from the dead and God the Father highly exalted him above every other name.
Philippians 2:9-11 reads:
- “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)
Now, no man can come to God the Father unless they go to God the Son (Jesus). This is the way that God the Father has orchestrated it. Jesus is THE way, THE truth and THE life. (John 14:6) There is no other way or name given to men whereby they can get saved and go to heaven (Acts 4:12).
Jesus who rose from the dead, appeared to over 500 people and then went back to heaven, therefore stands at the door of all of our hearts and knocks. If any man hear him knocking and opens his heart in surrender to his Lordship, he will come in and save him from the wrath of God that will one day be poured out on all those who refused to surrender to the Lordship of his Son Jesus Christ, in unbelief and rebellion (Revelations 3:20).
The Bible states: “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18)
Jesus died once, for the sins of the whole world as a submissive lamb, to please God the Father and out of love for us.
The Bible states: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Now, all who believe on Jesus, that he died but is now alive and that he is truly Lord over all and our only Saviour, once they confess the truth that he is Lord with their mouth, he will save them from the damnation to come (Romans 10:9-10).
“For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9).
The Bible says of all persons that believe the truth about Jesus’ resurrection and that have come to him in repentance for him to save them from their sins and the wrath of God that will one day descend on every unbelieving soul in this world:
- “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
- And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Colossians 2:9-15)
After Jesus rose triumphantly from the dead, he appeared to many and returned to heaven, having spent at least 40 days on earth. He died as a submissive, sacrificial lamb. However, when he comes again (as he has promised he will one day do at the end of this world), he will not come back as a lamb but like a roaring lion, to judge this world and all who ever lived in it, of sin.
There will be no time then to accept him as Lord. Having squandered your life, if you failed to believe that he rose from the dead while you were in the land of the living and never confessed with your mouth that he is Lord, surrendering your whole life and heart to him, then you will be judged for your sin because you refused the covering and forgiveness offered by the perfect blood atonement.
All who ever lived and died will be raised up again by God to face this end time judgment. For us, only those who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and confessed him as Lord while alive, will be saved from the eternal flames of hell.
NOW is the accepted time. TODAY is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)
Will you believe this report?
Isaiah 53:1-12 says of Jesus, the life he lived while on earth and how, out of love, he died in our place on the cross for our sins:
- “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
- Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
- All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
- He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
- Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
- Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
(Written on 2nd January, 2020, adjusted on 23rd October, 2020)
After reading the above Article again recently and meditating on how Jesus lived his life while here on earth, I thought to myself:
Keeping my eyes focused on Jesus and following in his example, means to let go of all unforgiveness, bitterness, ongoing anger, nursed hurt, resentment, jealousy, envy, pride, maliciousness, ill-will, drama, unnecessary conflict and instead, to embrace humility, a love that covers the multitude of people’s sins against me, patience and meekness.
It requires me to make of my self no reputation (even where others are seemingly striving to gain the preeminence and to make sure that you are suppressed in the process) and to be satisfied with an audience of one (even where others seem to love to be publicly seen and admired).
Alas, following Jesus’ example and trying to be like him, goes against all that society stands for and sadly, even how many behave in the Churches today but it is what God requires and what he has called and enabled his children to do and to be.
This presents a challenge in my own life because so very often, especially where people keep hurting me or hurt me and don’t seem the least bit repentant for the pain they’ve inflicted or simply gloss over what they did as if it is not very important because it involved me, someone very low in their estimation, I am tempted by this flesh within me, to hold on to the hurt and the pain and to hold what they did against them.
My flesh wants to hold on but the Spirit of Christ within, tells me to let it go. As a result, the battle within is real. As much as my flesh lies to me and says that I’m entitled to hold on to this because of how much pain I felt and what they did, God’s Spirit reminds me that no matter what, no matter who, no one ever wronged me 490 times. Jesus said that we should forgive our offenders, not just seven times but seventy times seven.
Given that mandate, I went to God and asked for help, to love others to the point where it will cover the multitude of their sins against me and to grant me the grace to deal with the injustices of others.
As Christians, each day, we will find ourselves asking the question and having to make a decision: Will we submit to the Spirit of God and follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ or will we hold on stubbornly to the dictates of our flesh?
People will do and keep doing. They will keep hurting you, keep harassing you, keep provoking you, keep thinking the worst of you, keep badmouthing you and finding entertainment in whatever they perceive may be difficulties that you are going through, keep trying to oppress and suppress what God has placed in you and to oppose HIS purposes for your life, keep criticizing you, keep treating you poorly and unfairly, keep attacking you, keep hating on you, keep disappointing you, keep looking down proudly and condescendingly in self-importance and self-righteousness at you and keep letting you down, even when you expected them to not take that low road they took. They will keep shocking you with the venom that escapes from their hearts, time and time and time again (and you yourself know, that there are times that you have shocked others by your own evil conduct as well).
The thing is, in a fallen world, people are going to come at you, whether you like it or not, whether you trouble them or not and even after you have forgiven, some are going to still continue on with the wicked behaviour, not at all sorry for how they have behaved or treated you. There are those that even feel justified in their wrong, thinking to themselves that it serves you right.
Given that you can’t change people or convict them of the sin that they have committed (that is the work of the Holy Spirit), you must learn to cultivate the habit of forgiveness because you’re gonna need it over and over and over again. The alternative is to become bitter, resentful, malicious and to seek vengeance for yourself and if you are a child of God, you know, that this is not an option.
Ask God therefore for a limitless supply of forgiveness, as when you feel you have enough to give out and to spare, you will find that your supply finishes quickly and you need to restock again.
1 Peter 2:23 is probably one of the most difficult verses that I have had to come to terms with in my life. It testifies of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the one who lived a perfect life, never sinned and the Creator of the whole earth, including those who killed him: “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously”.
He is our perfect example. This is the standard that we must reach. For this is what pleases God. No matter the situation and even when people hurt us to the core with their words and actions, he does not want us to retaliate but to remain still and commit the issue into his all-seeing, all-knowing and all-mighty hands.
That is trust and those that put their trust in God (without trying to get back at that one or to hit back at that other one so as to settle the score) are never disappointed.
Jesus committed everything and how he was treated unto God and Philippians 2:9 tells us what the result was.
The foregoing verses from 5 to 8 tell us:
- “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Interestingly, this world tells us to see how high we can elevate ourselves and defend ourselves but the Word of God tells us to go in the opposite direction. It tells us to take the unpopular route and not to stretch ourselves to see if, peradventure, we can reach the sky but to stoop, to see how low down we can go in humility, under the mighty hand of God. This requires a complete abandonment of our own sense of importance and ego.
Having done that, having humbled himself, committed everything to God and endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, what was the outcome in Jesus’ case? What do the scriptures state was the result? Was Jesus disappointed by God?
No he was not. The confidence he reposed in God was well worth it. This we know, for verses 9-11 tell us:
- “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
God is able to also give us the victory when we adopt the right attitude, do not retaliate when people wrong us and commit everything into his all-sufficient hands.
Undoubtedly, when we conduct ourselves with wisdom, even as David behaved himself wisely when Saul was out to get him and tried everything he could do to get at him, we will be able to say in the aftermath, when God has intervened to handle the situation in his own timing and in his own way:
- “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)
- “By this I KNOW that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth NOT triumph over me. And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.” (Psalm 41:11-13)
(Addendum written on 7th and 8th August, 2021)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be interesting, informative, edifying or beneficial, you may also be interested in reading the following:
- Note 278 – ‘His Grace Is Sufficient And His Blood Is Enough’