Meditations on Christ’s Humiliation

6 10 2006

Isaiah 50:6 I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.

It is an interesting and ironic thing this cross of Jesus. For in it we see the humiliation of a prestigious King and the exaltation of rebellious traders.

Jesus is no doubt suffering the most shameful and dishonoring treatment imaginable for one of his stature. Never before and never again will one so prestigious as the King of heaven suffer such violent mistreatment at the hands of humanity. It would be socially appalling if someone who does relative good in society suffered mistreatment by a government or a religious group. But consider the infinite exponent attached to the unfettered hatred unloaded upon the face, brow and back of the sinless one Jesus the Christ. Isaiah prophesying some 800 years prior tells us that Jesus was “marred more than any man” (Is. 52.14).

So it is here in the ironic and shameful humiliation of Jesus that we find our exaltation.

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Jesus is able to sympathize

31 08 2006

Hebrews 4.15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses

Often times, particularly during tough times, we struggle with the thoughts that people do not understand what we are going through. I cannot count how many times I have heard people say, “But you don’t understand what I am going through!” The good thing for us who are Christians is that we don’t necessarily have to understand or identify with what each person is going through in order to help or to be consoled.

Why? Because Jesus does.

This is so good, so rich and so life changing!! In God’s infinite wisdom and design he has organized things to exalt his Son. Within this context we have Christ’s sympathy and compassion exalted. There is nothing that anyone has gone through, are currently going through, or will go through that Jesus cannot relate to, sympathize with or encourage his children in. Jesus is so gloriously and marvelously sufficient!!

When I read a passage like the one above I am driven to the gospels to analyze the context of some of the days within the context of Christ’s earthly ministry. I am left with an open mouth and enriched praise when I consider that Jesus was under no obligation to become a man and deal with the junk that comes as a result of our sin in this fallen world. He did this because he loves his Father. Jesus is loving his Father as he is loving his sheep.

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particular encouragement from particular grace

27 08 2006

and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. (1 Tim. 1.14)

This morning in preparing to go to worship with my family I was struck by the divine influence that was exerted to make worshippers. Specifically, I was struck with the reality that the fickle crowd that worshipped Jesus in pretense as he approached Jerusalem only to find no need for him and request his death a few hours later.

We are these fickle folks are we not? Left onto ourselves, devoid of saving grace, we are esteeming Jesus as smitten, unsightly and unworthy of our worship.

However, God, in his infinite and beautiful grace has poured out particular grace to his enemies to make worshippers! This is glorious. Left unto ourselves we judge Jesus as an inconvenience and a bother. But lavished by grace we see Jesus as the prince of heaven, the only one with the words of eternal life, the glorious and only redeemer of mankind, the heaven sent Savior who alone can and would satisfy divine wrath.

Take some time today to thank God for his grace. For consider how you would view Jesus if it was not savingly applied.

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More of Jesus & Less of us

25 08 2006

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1 Timothy 1:15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

It is good to remind ourselves of these verses everyday. For it is in the truth of these verses that our praise is fueled and sustained. The reality of an able Savior and his willingness to save unable sinners such as you and me is praise amplifying.

But what happens when our praise for God is flat, our delight for Jesus is decreased and our meditation on divine truth is minimal? Simply, we have flipped this thing on its head!! Too often we have loved ourselves and become too impressed with ourselves that we have totally marginalized Jesus. When we are so impressed with ourselves we don’t really need a Savior so then we really have no need to praise and delight in him.

This is why it is pivotal to preach the gospel to ourselves daily. Remember that you are the “chief of sinners” (1 Tim. 1.15) and that Jesus is the able Savior! (Heb. 7.25)

To put it another way, remember that you are more of a sinner than you think you are and that Jesus is a better Savior than you think him to be! And don’t just remember it but be convinced of it, for it is true!! Join the Father in delighting in the rescue and recovery of sinners to the praise and glory of Jesus, our Savior.

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How to live a miserable Christian life (part iii)

11 08 2006

Here is part 3 of the the look at how to live a miserable Christian life. The goal here is obviously not to be miserable but to be filled with heavenly joy by being good stewards of all that Christ has given us. The first 2 post may be found here (part 1) and here (part 2).

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6. Resist Biblical Correction

It is interesting the way God has done things. He has saved sinners and then commanded them to work out their salvation (Phil. 2.12). We are to be progressively growing into the likeness of our Master. This obviously implies a current state of practical imperfection.

God has been pleased to give his saints the word of God to be learned and applied, specifically within the context of the church of God. We are to practicing the “one-anothers” that are commanded (love, serve, encourage, admonish, etc..). This practice serves to chip away fleshy barnacles and mold Christ likeness in accordance with his word.

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How to live a miserable Christian life (part ii)

10 08 2006

Yesterday I began a look at how to live a miserable Christian life. Specifically to look at 10 sure fire areas or activities that are counter Christian and so therefore devoid of joy.

In the first post we highlighted the dangers of 1) trying to repay Jesus for the Cross, 2) neglecting the Bible, 3) neglecting Prayer.

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Let’s pick it up here in view of highlighting pitfalls for Christians that we might not find ourselves miserably caught in the mire.

4. Be Selfish

This is really the seed for everything. I have heard a good friend describe sin as the deification of man and the ‘mannification’ of God. It is to flip the roles. For the Christian to be selfish or self consumed is really counter intuitive. It just doesn’t make sense.

It reminds me of the time I saw Vlade Divac (former Lakers’ center) smoking cigerattes before a game. I’m thinking, this is totally contradictory and inhibitive to what the guy is about to go do…he is about to go and run up and down the court for two hours and he is choking down these cancer sticks like they are made out of protein or something.

In a similar vein, selfishness for the Christian is absurd. The whole point of Christianity is humility. We come to God in humility, confessing our prideful rebellion against him, begging humbly for grace (not earned!!) that we might be given mercy to trust him for forgiveness. Then the whole outflow of the Christian life is to stream from this humble spicket of a biblical self awareness.

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Declaration of Dependence

2 07 2006

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The 4th of July is a great American celebration. It is always enjoyable to watch fireworks, eat a lot of barbecue, spend time with family and enjoy a mid-summer relaxation. Our country is truly a great place to live and it is active and merciful grace that we are enabled to enjoy such freedom as we do.

However, when I hear the word Independence Day and its celebration I think of my daily celebration of just the opposite, namely my dependence. For instead of my pride and value coming from a nation and our independence from another nation, it is good to use this holiday to recall, reflect, and marvel at the reality of Christian dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ.

As a believer I realize that I am depending on Christ for:

  • his perfect obedience to the Father…for I did not obey
  • his sinless perfection…for I am sinful
  • his wrath satisfying death…for I am unable to satisfy eternal wrath
  • his perfect righteousness before the judgment bar…for I have deficient righteousness
  • his ability to keep me saved…for I cannot keep myself from wandering away
  • his sovereign ability to rule this world…for I struggle with organizing my days
  • his unfading love….for I trip on myself daily
  • his ultimate motivation for life and ministry…for I have nothing in myself that trumps this
  • his priceless blood that will never depreciate…for I have no means to pay

It is good therefore to declare dependence upon the Savior; knowing that there is a day coming when those who are gathered together in his kingdom will unite in numbers that will dwarf the fireworks crowds, to declare dependence upon King Jesus, the Lamb who was slain.