(Scripture references from sources as noted)
“Who believes what we’ve heard and seen? Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this? The servant grew up before God – a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum. But the fact is, it was our pains he carried – our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him – our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him. He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn’t say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence. Justice miscarried, and he was led off – and did anyone really know what was happening? He died without a thought for his own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of my people. They buried him with the wicked, threw him in a grave with a rich man, even though he’d never hurt a soul or said one word that wasn’t true. Still, it’s what God had in mind all along, to crush him with pain. The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he’d see life come from it – life, life, and more life. And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him. Out of that terrible travail of soul, he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it. Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant, will make many ‘righteous ones,’ as he himself carries the burden of their sins. Therefore I’ll reward him extravagantly – the best of everything, the highest honors – because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch, because he embraced the company of the lowest. He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many, he took up the cause of all the black sheep.” (Isaiah 53:1-12 The Message)
Today is Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week – the holiest week of the Christian year. The above passage was the foretelling of what Jesus would endure – for the love of us all! “’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 3:16-21 The Message)
Palm Sunday – commemorates Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. When the crowds that had come for the celebration of Passover heard that Jesus was coming, “They took palm branches and went out to meet Him, shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is the King of Israel!’” (John 12:13 NIV)
Maundy Thursday – commemorates when Jesus joined his disciples for their last supper together. He took this opportunity to teach them and try to prepare them for what was to come. They finally left the room they were in and went to the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus spent time in prayer. Judas then shows up with the soldiers and betrays Him. They arrest Jesus, take Him to the authorities where He is tried and sentenced to death by crucifixion.
Good Friday – commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus, His death and His burial.
The only perfect man to ever walk the face of this earth was accused, beaten, spat upon and condemned to die because God in heaven loves all humankind so very much that He sent Jesus to take all our wrongs and evil upon Himself. This opens the door to heaven to all of us that are willing to believe and accept Him.
Where do you stand today? Are you assured a place in heaven when your time on earth is done? Some people say they just cannot or do not believe this story. They live their lives with no thought about their eternity. As the saying goes, “I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn’t, than live my life as if there isn’t and die to find out there is.” (A quote from Albert Camus who seems like he was a very conflicted person. From Wikipedia: “Camus was irreligious. ‘I do not believe in God and I am not an atheist.’ Notebooks 1951–1959. He told Le Monde in 1956, ‘I would agree with Benjamin Constant, who thought a lack of religion was vulgar and even hackneyed.'”)
Hell is a real place that will not be a good place to spend eternity. My prayer today is that if you are reading this and you have never accepted Jesus as your Savior, that you will seriously consider it. Do not wait until you die to find out there is a God and you were not living accordingly.
So….for the love of Pete or Jane or Bob or Carol or ________ (insert your name) just know that it is a simple step to take, Jesus said “’…I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’’ (John 14:6 NIV) So all you have to do is tell God that you do believe – that Jesus is Lord, that He died and rose again to life; and, that you want forgiveness for your sins so that you may spend eternity with Him in heaven. The rest is up to God – you sincerely and honestly give your life to Him and He will be there for you.
Written by Karran Martin
April 1, 2019