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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Becoming more impressed with Jesus

4 10 2006

Mark 14:65 Some began to spit at Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him with their fists, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers received Him with slaps in the face.

This scene is emotional gripping. You just need to let the reality of these words sink in through your mind and into your heart and let it break it.

For consider the dramatic irony here:

-The one who has all of the honor of heaven is served with the most dishonoring contempt by his own creation.

-The cheeks that were kissed by his virgin mother, touched by those he healed, later kissed in betrayal by one of his closest friends is now dripping with the venomous spit and of his accusers.

-The one who is omnipotent and omniscient has now submitted himself to be blindfolded.

-The one who is without sin is beaten like a vilified rebel.

-The one who has all power receives crushing blows.

-The one who is all knowing is now being quizzed and mocked by rebels.

Jesus is enduring such mocking and abuse at the hands of sinful men. His face is littered with flem, slaps, and punches. His eyes are covered and his glory mocked even further with the taunting “Prophesy!” Knowing also that Isaiah tells us that he was “marred more than any man” (Is. 52.14).

We read back into the text and are thankful and rightly so.

But are you broken?

See because if you were somehow able to transport yourself to the scene described above and able to come up next to Jesus and lift up the blindfold a bit and have the punches stop for a moment so that he could hear you, and if you could ask him, “Jesus, why? Why are you doing this? Why are you putting yourself through such torture? Just tell them what they want to hear? Please stop!! This is not right!!”

You know what the Savior would say?

Based upon a passage like 1 Peter 3 we have a pretty good idea of what was going on in his mind. Jesus was bringing sinners like us to God (1 Pet. 3.18).

So to the question of why…Jesus would say…it is for you my sinful child. I am submitting myself to this display for you that you may be rescued from yourself and your sin.

With every blow across the sinless brow of Jesus we have the indictment of our sin and the amplification of his gloriously resolute love.

This scene, like every other scene in the earthly ministry of Jesus, he did he did not take any shortcuts. He did not cut around the devilish temptations and he did not pander to the abusers here, nether do we see him short circuiting God’s plan on the cross as the sinless Savior gives up his own life after completely guzzling the eternal wrath of God while shamefully hanging upon the blood stained wood of Calvary.

So if Christ is yours today, please know that it is because you are Christ’s! Christ had his sheep on his mind as he was battered, mocked and shamed.

So marvel at the infinite love, grace, mercy and resolve of The Savior today.

Be more impressed with Jesus; for he is infinitely valuable and we grossly undervalue him. Indeed he is beautiful.

 

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Devotion :: Psalm 123

26 09 2006

In this brief snapshot into the life of the Psalmist we see him and his peers being surrounded by the songs of scoffers and doubters. In the midst of their chorus of contempt we are given a great model of faithfulness.

When we are in the midst of resistance and difficulty it is common and even natural to look at and measure our surroundings for help and relief. Further, we often find ourselves looking inward, at ourselves for the relief that is necessary.

In the model of faithfulness however, we see something different from the Psalmist:

Psalm 123:2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to the LORD our God, Until He is gracious to us.

The Psalmist models exactly what the essence of faith is, simply looking away from ourselves and depending fully on God. Just as a servant has come to know of the faithful character of his master so too we who have been blessed by God have come to anticipate and relish our Master’s continual gracious condescension to us.

This exercise that we see from the Psalmist is so pivotal for us as believers. We get to participate in spiritual cardio as we massage our hearts to depend upon God for his manifold mercies. Just saying the words of this Psalm forces you to question whether you believe them or not!

Psalm 123:1 To You I lift up my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the heavens!

Do you look to him who is “enthroned in the heavens”?

How good is it believer that ultimately you are not looking to the hands of earthly masters for your care and consolation but you are looking to the One who is enthroned in the heavens!?!

Through the blood stained cross of Jesus Christ you have a sure and faithful advocate who is able and willing to console and encourage you in the midst of the scoffing crowds. And even more, scoffing is providentially used to draw us into greater dependence and appreciation of our wonderful Savior.

 

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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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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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The conversation of Jesus

24 08 2006

What did Jesus talk about following his resurrection?

I find it compelling and convicting that the prevailing topic of his conversation was his coming kingdom. We read in the first chapter of Acts that during the 40 days following his resurrection Jesus was “speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God”.

Jesus, having just been raised from the dead gave “many convincing proofs” (Acts 1.3) and continually spoke of the kingdom. Now we of course do not know everything that he spoke of but we do know this, the Holy Spirit wants you and I to know that kingdom talk was characteristic of Jesus’ conversation.

How about you? Think about the last 40 days. How much have you talked about the kingdom? How much do you think about the kingdom? Do you anticipate it? Do you long for it? Can you really pray like Jesus instructs his followers to: “Your kingdom come..” (Matt. 6.10).

This is convicting to me because I find myself not as Christ-centered as Jesus.

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Some Fruit from Family Devotions

22 08 2006

imag.jpgThis past weekend was my oldest son Bryce’s 11th birthday. He scored an iPod shuffle and was pretty excited.

Of course his younger brother Luke (7) managed to pry it from him during a visit to the local Hollywood Video store. When we were inside picking out the movie Luke gave us all (as in everyone in the place) a memory not soon forgotten.

Bryce’s buddy picked out a movie that he wanted to see. Luke grabbed the movie to check it out for himself.

Now you must remember that he is still enjoying the iPod at this point so his hearing is not the best and as a result his voice is a bit elevated.

So Luke grabs the movie and yells, literally, “That is the immoral woman!!”

“We are not watching this….look at her, she is immoral!!”

Every head in the place instantly turned to look in our direction. Only they did not see the little 42” amplifier but instead his Dad, who’s head conveniently stuck out above the racks.

What can you do?

I just laughed my head off. Luke of course has no idea. His brother and his friends are shushing him but he doesn’t get it…he is just going on about how this teenage girl is dressed inappropriately.

I thought later about the study we did as a family in Proverbs about three years ago. It has made quite the impact on Luke. For this I am quite thankful. We may have to dial him down a bit though.

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