Sunday, April 25, 2010

Our Redeemer - pt. 3

But even the temptations were not the beginning of our redemption. Jesus came so we would have a redeemer whom we would know understands our pain. So his sufferings go back much further than his adult ministry. They go back to the baby born to the peasant girl and her young husband. The one who had created the universe had chosen to become this baby who could not feed or clothe himself. He had to have his diaper changed, his hand slapped so that he would learn that fire hurts without getting burned. He had to learn the very history he had written. He had to submit his will to parents who didn’t understand who he was.
The Son of God’s sufferings go back even further than that first Christmas day. They go back nine months further when the angel stood before Mary and said, “The Holy Spirit will overshadow you and you will bear God’s child.” God the Son left his heavenly home to dwell with the people who needed his redemption. It was a whole lot like if you wanted to help the homeless from within their community but they were living on the shores of the Arctic Ocean rather than on the beaches of Waianae!
But God’s suffering goes back even further. It goes back to the perfect husband whose bride, Israel ran off as Ezekiel said, to chase after men who were hung like donkeys (Ezekiel 23:20). It goes back to the people who decided that the King of kings wasn’t a good enough king for them; they wanted a king who would hurt them over and over but no biggie, at least they could harass him into action or force an answer out of him.
God’s suffering went back even further to the children he’d delivered from captivity so they could fashion a golden calf to worship, the children who would call him a liar! “We can’t defeat those giants.” God’s suffering goes back to the very day I mentioned earlier when Adam made his decision and sin entered the world. It goes all the way back to the day God’s beloved Lucifer incited one-third of the angels to rebel against their Creator.
Why did God do all that? Why did he choose to suffer? I certainly wouldn’t willingly choose that much suffering! But God did. Why?
I can’t understand the mind of God because I’m only created in his image. I lack much of his essence. But I have figured out this much. When seriously considered from human standards, God is crazy! ...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Our Redeemer - pt. 2

Jesus took these sins and he nailed them on the cross. He hung on that cross for six hours (Mark 15:25,34) and the weight of the sin of the world pressed down upon him and he no longer felt the presence of his Father and he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
But when he had paid the price, he was not defeated. Luke and Matthew both say Jesus cried out in a loud voice (Matthew 27:46, 50; Luke 23:46). This is a man who hasn’t slept in two days; he’s been beaten so that his blood ran freely, forced to carry a heavy beam until he collapsed under its weight. For the last six hours, he’s been slowly suffocated and in excruciating pain. And yet when “it is finished,” when sin is gone, paid for, and he has glorified the Father, done his will, Jesus is victorious, not defeated. The bloody, broken, forsaken man sees his Father once again. With the voice of victory, he cries loudly, joyously “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
And he died. He truly died. His body was pierced in the side, right up into his heart and the living water and the blood of the covenant poured out from his pierced side. The blood and the water are now freely available because he died. He was buried.
But then Sunday morning, oh yes, Sunday morning came. Dawn came, the earth shook, the angel spoke, Mary cried, and the gardener wasn’t a gardener! He was the risen Son of God! And the power of death had gone the way of sin’s power. Defeated because Our Redeemer Lives!
But that’s not the whole story. Our Redeemer lived. The redemption started way before Jesus was taken in the garden on Thursday evening. Hebrews 4:15 tells us Jesus was tempted, just as we are, yet he did not sin. You maybe familiar with what we often call “The Temptation of Christ.” That’s when Satan came to Jesus in the wilderness and tempted him with his physical needs, tempted him to tempt God and tempted him to commit idolatry. But that wasn’t Jesus’ only temptation. His brothers mocked him and tried to get him to choose his own agenda rather than follow God’s will (John 7:3-9). Peter tried to get him to abandon the Father’s will – to which Jesus replied, “Get behind me you devil!” (Matthew 16:21-23) The religious leaders were always tempting Jesus to get out of the Father’s will – with threats to shut up or else (John 7:28-32) and with requests to show them a sign so they could believe (Matthew 12:38; Mark 8:11). They even tempted him on the cross, “Come on down here and we’ll believe you are who you say you are” (Matthew 27:41-43). His own flesh even tempted him sorely. As the time approached to go to the cross, the knowledge of the pain he would suffer had him weeping great drops of blood and begging the Father to show him a different way (Matthew 26:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42; John 12:27).
Jesus resisted all temptation because he stayed grounded in the Word and in the will of his Father. “It is written,” he told the devil in the desert. “I do what the Father tells me to do,” he answered his detractors. “Not my will, but yours Father,” Jesus cried when fear tried to swamp him in the garden. ...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Our Redeemer - pt. 1

On Monday, I gave the message at the New Hope Leeward WIRED Women's Celebration. Not everything went as planned and I had to modify my message, pare it down some to fit in the time I ended up having. Since I had to chop a good part of it (because they were all good parts) I have decided that I'll share the message in my blog. It will take a few posts to get it all, but I'm sure you won't mind reading a serial! So here's the first part:
Our redeemer lives! What comfort this gives us! At this time of year, our thoughts so easily turn to the cross and the resurrection. And they are glorious indeed because we so needed a redeemer. Sin and death are our lot from the moment we're conceived. Way back in Genesis 3, Adam and Eve sinned, changing the nature of their descendants from the pure image of God they were intended to be. All children born to the man and the woman who were fashioned directly by God’s hands would be born with a sinful nature. But God promised the woman that one of her seed would destroy the serpent who had destroyed her.
Adam and Eve’s children and their children’s children became very creative with their sin. Galatians 5:19-21 tells us that the acts of the sinful nature are “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.”
This may seem so modern to you, like maybe the apostle Paul was looking down through history to 21st century America, but he wasn’t. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.” Ever since the angel stood at the gates of Eden to bar Adam and Eve’s way back to the tree of life, mankind has been struggling with the same sinful nature, the same inclination to sin. There are lots of lists of the sins of man in the bible.
Ephesians 5:3-4 gives us: or of greed, obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking.
Colossians 3:5 = lust, evil desires
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 = nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor slanderers nor swindlers.
1 Timothy 1:9-10 = lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly, the unholy and irreligious; for murderers, perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine
This is the nature we have received from Adam and Eve. We could cull a much larger list from the bible and we could add specific sins from our day today, couldn’t we?This is depressing, isn’t it? When it stands up here on its own, it is seriously depressing! In the four thousand years since the first book of the bible was penned, mankind hasn’t evolved at all! We stink! This is why we need a redeemer! ...