Next week I will be Pasadena,Texas, speaking at the Southside Lectures. Today’s post for this weekly column is taken from Southside Online and written by one of their evangelists, my friend, Dee Bowman.)
There has never been one like Jesus. In all the annals of history no entry has been made which compares to His. He was born of a peasant woman and His early family life gave only slight hints as to the greatness of His holy character or the importance of His mission on the earth. The lack of earthly possessions must certainly have convinced those who knew Him that His lot in life was not too far removed from theirs and that entirely too much would need be required for His influence to spread further than would be expected of any other carpenter’s son.
But Jesus was more than just a man. He was the “begotten God” (John 1:18). He was with God in the beginning and was the creative force by which the worlds were brought out of chaos and into cosmos (Colossians 1:15-16). And He is still today the force by which the tiny molecules coalesce and remain identifiable entities (verse 16). He had the same glory as God the Father when He was God the Word (John 17:4-6), and it was “before thine own self,” or “in thine own presence” that He existed before His coming into the world to die for our sins.
But God the Word became Jesus the man (John 1:14). In the angel’s grand annunciation to Joseph in Matthew 1:21 is recorded the great gospel of God in a miniature. “And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.” Never once did Jesus lose sight of that mission in life. In the face of His inevitable physical demise, He assures the world that He will not ever shrink from the responsibility which belongs exclusively to Him. Hear Him as He stands before Pilate and reaffirms His destiny: “Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born and for this cause came I into the world that I should witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice.” In Luke 19:18, He proclaims of Himself, “For the Son of man is come to seek and save that which is lost.”
What man could not do for himself was accomplished at great cost by Jesus Christ. His provision was an act of supreme love and concern for a degenerate and fallen humanity. In John 10:18, Jesus speaks concerning His giving of His life for a sin-sick world. He says, “No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it up again.” The most unspeakable gift ever bestowed in any generation and for any circumstance was given when Jesus laid down His life for fallen man.
The death of Jesus was the most ignominious ever suffered for any cause. It was marked by a compete disregard for even the most natural laws of justice and propriety. The manner in which the sentence came about was utterly despicable. The contemptible and reckless attitude of the culprits who plotted the dastardly deed is reason enough for every man to hang his head in shame. The fact of that death was so shattering that the earth hid her light and moaned within her inward parts as seemingly even the inanimate creation suffered travail because of this ignoble occurrence.
But the bars of death were not enough. “He is not here, for He is risen,” said the angel in Matthew 8:6. A greater or more needed affirmation has never been articulated! It forever seals the fact of His deity and assures mankind that he can boldly entertain the hope of a resurrection to eternal life. And while He said, “I go to prepare a place,” He also announced, I will come again.” We are not warned of that fact, we are assured by it! How magnificent. How sublime is the thought that Jesus cares for me. But How much more the joy which comes from the realization that one day, He will come for me.
What will you do with Jesus? He has left His home in Heaven for you; He suffered shame and disgrace for you; He bore the burden of the cross with all it all its ignominy for you; He gave His life a ransom for you and your redemption. Will you count that all for naught?
Thank you, Dee, for a powerful glimpse of Christ and the cross.
Don’t forget. It’s Friday. But Sunday’s coming!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman