Jesus of Nazareth

Jesus of Nazareth, precious Lord, Son of David

The Name above names, God with us is sacred.

Root of Jesse, Holy Redeemer, and sinner’s friend.

From heaven to earth, earth to grave to ascend.

Source of all power, joy, truth and wisdom

How loving of God to give us His Son

Incarnate God through miracle born

His death for our sins, the curtain is torn!

Cry out for mercy, His loving ears perceive

Salvation through faith is our gift to receive

Our plea before God is always His cause

To forgive us for all our sins and faux pas.

His promise to us is life without end

For eternal praise every knee will soon bend

His glory is our passion, His name we will spread

‘Til crowns of glory in heaven encircle our heads.

 

STOP sinning

I’ve had like a billion people ask me since yesterday what I’m giving up for Lent this year.  These people know I’m a Christian and they assume that because I am Christian that we all give up something for Lent.  I don’t think I’ve ever done that before in my life so I didn’t plan on starting this year.  It is largely a Catholic tradition of honoring the fact that Jesus died so that we would be freed from our sins so in response, faithful Catholics willingly give up a part of their own lives to acknowledge what Jesus gave up on our behalf.  I am not Catholic, and while I do respect the tradition of Lent, when done with a pure motive and true heart, I find no need to make any sacrifices above and beyond the daily sacrifice of worship that my life is supposed to be.  However, I think that I’ve come up with a pretty witty response for the next time if someone asks me what I’m giving up for Lent.  I’m going to tell them that I’m giving up sinning.  I want to see the look on someone’s face when they hear that!  But then I thought about it for a minute and it hit me that I’m just an idiot.  I’m supposed to be giving up sin everyday of my life!  Regardless of what month it is Christ died for my sins and I’ve been freed from them and live for a new Master.  How can I go back to the filth I used to lay in when I’ve tasted of the goodness of the Lord Jesus Christ?  Dying daily is our call as Christians and living holy like Jesus is holy should be our aim at all times.

So this year for Lent I am going to give up sinning.  Not by my own power, but by the power of God the Holy Spirit.  Not because it is the month before Easter, but because Jesus Christ died for my sins and gave me His righteousness and my killing of sin is the right response for the unspeakable amount of love He showed me on the cross.  By God’s grace poured out through Jesus Christ I will stop sinning each and every day for the rest of my life.  I know there will be plenty of times when I fail and fall short of God’s standard of holiness but that’s why Jesus came to Earth in the first place.  Jesus lived the life I should have lived and died the death I should have died.  He now is my perfect righteousness before the throne of God in heaven.  It is my joy to mortify my flesh each and every day in praise and thankfulness of the awesome work God has done for me!

He lived without sin

I spent some time on the internet yesterday watching parts of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ and I had a very profound moment in my thoughts of Jesus and my sin.  The Bible teaches us that Jesus was fully God and fully man on earth and that He managed to live without sin in every aspect of His life.  I’ve always known that to be true but the full magnitude of that truth hit me while I was watching those clips.  In particular, the scene where Jesus is carrying His cross on the way to Golgatha. Our Lord has already been beaten severely and has had a crown of thorns pressed onto His head.  He is barely recognizable from the torture and is now forced to carry an immensely heavy piece of lumber for several hundred yards.  All the while angry mobs follow Him and shout profanities at Him and try to get their hands on Him to strike Him.  Jesus collapses under the weight of the cross several times and barely has the strength to get back on His feet.  Here is where my moment came:  so pervasive is the nature of sin and so desperately it tries to gain mastery over us that it penetrates every aspect of our lives.  Not just our actions and deeds, but our thought as well.  The success of the atonement depends on one crucial element: that Jesus be guilty of no sin Himself.

The concept of substitution is one man’s guilt-free life for another’s guilty life.  I’m sure Satan was trying desperately to gain control over Jesus’ mind during that long walk to Golgatha, because if he did the redemptive mission of Jesus’ life would amount to nothing.  All that needed to happen was for Jesus to think one unrighteous thought towards the angry mob or His torturers in malice, hatred, self-righteousness, or pride and the mission would have been a failure.  There would have been no atonement for sins, no resurrection, no forgiveness of sins, and mankind would be forever lost and without hope for all eternity.  Because if the Son of God had a single stain of sin on Him He would never be able to atone for anything and He Himself would be damned as well.  But this reminds me that the power of sin is great and terrible, but the power of God is far greater than sin and it overcomes sin and Satan.

My own sin is constantly waging war against me and fighting to gain mastery over my soul (while I was writing this I got angry at my web browser and WordPress because every time it tried to save this post my computer froze up) and it follows me around wherever I go.  But Jesus Christ conquered my sin on the cross because He lived with no sin.  He was silent before His accusers like a lamb is silent before its shearers.  2 Cor. 5:21 says,

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him

Let your soul rejoice today in the knowledge that Jesus overcame your curse because He Himself was cursed by God in order that you might go free and come to know your Savior!  His unfailing love for us sustained Him in His darkest moments before His death and now in light of all that His death has accomplished for us, let your most intimate love for Him carry you through your darkest moments and your happiest of days, through all your peaks and valleys!

Hero

So I’m officially in love with the song from Trip Lee’s new album called “The Invasion (Hero) Remix!  If you haven’t gotten your hands on a copy of this CD I would strongly recommend that you do!  This song in specific if my favorite.  Not just because the track is off the wall, the lyrics are totally banging!  The song presents Jesus in a light that I’m sure not many people think of Him everyday, as our Hero.  The word hero usually makes us think of a guy in a tight spandex outfit who can fly or has super powers like Batman or Superman.  They are acutely aware of the needs of others and use their special powers to save people from dangerous situations and receive praise from the city for their heroic acts.  It is very easy to see Jesus fulfilling this role in our lives as well, minus the spandex outfit lol.

If you think about it, Jesus is the ultimate hero.  Jesus saw us in our sin and came to our rescue because He loves us.  He saw us drowning in the boiling flames of hell’s ocean, we were hanging on by a plank of wood barely keeping us afloat.  We were inches away from the teeth that are gnashing and the flame that is never extinguished.  But right before we were submerged and lost forever He came down from heaven and swooped low into the flames and pulled us out by the hand.

While human heroes are motivated by service to others and society, or even fame, Jesus is motivated by love and a passion for His Father’s glory to be spread throughout the universe!  He loves us by rescuing us so that we can have eternal access to the Father, which is the best gift any sinful human can ever receive!  Christ paid a great price for our rescue, it cost Him His life.  Eternal, immortal, God, He couldn’t die, yet He wanted to die for us.  So He wrapped Himself in a body of flesh and took upon Himself the punishment that our sins deserved.  This ultimate display of divine love is shown only in the cross where God’s rescue mission is completed.  And one day He will come back to lead us all to heaven where we will forever praise Him for His glory, love, mercy, justice, and holiness.

Jesus is the hero of heroes!  Listen to the lyrics of the hook in the song:

“Like a G5 yeah You rushed to rescue me/took the cross in exchange for a throne to save me/You began a work and I know You’ll finish and make all things right when You come back/Cuz you’re my hero, already saved the day/Cuz you’re my hero and I know you’re coming back for me!”

I’ll close with the last little section of words from the song:

“I once was lost, You came and found me/Gave me Your life now Your grace surrounds me/There is no greater love than that which is found in Jesus!/Oh precious is that flow that makes me white as snow!”

marriage feast

The parables that Jesus told really summarize the gospel message. I was reading the parable of the marriage feast today from Matthew 22:1-14 and this is easily my favorite one. In this parable, there is a king who invites his subjects to a marriage feast he is throwing for his son. But the people invited don’t accept the invitation and torture and kill the king’s servants who deliver the invitations. This is a stunning depiction of our attitude towards God before the gospel is given to us. We were hostile to God and didn’t want anything to do with Him. We were content to live our lives ignoring Him and living in constant defiance of His Word and Laws. So what does the king do when he finds his servants have been killed? He has the villages burned to repay their murder.

God’s wrath for sin is not far away. He will eventually repay all humanity for the sins they have lived in for so long. None will be left on the day when God brings His wrath against the world. Just as in the days of Noah, there will be no escaping the flood.

The only good news is that there is an ark! An escape route has been given to us so that we don’t have to face God’s wrath for sin. Our ark is Jesus of Nazareth. In the parable, the king needs new guests so he sends his servants out to invite all they meet on the road and in the fields. When they show up, they’re all wearing wedding garments.

Our wedding garments are the righteous robes of Jesus that He wore while on earth which He has given to us out of love. Without His robe of righteousness we cannot hope to gain access to God’s kingdom. The love of God to give up His own righteousness and give it to us who are most unworthy is so great I can’t even begin to fathom the depth of it! Thank you Lord Jesus for giving up Your life and Your righteousness You earned on earth for our sakes! All I can do in response is praise You!

Flavel

“‘Ask what thou wilt, and it shall be given thee’, said Herod to the daughter of Herodias.  Well, you are liberal in spending treasures upon your lusts; and believe it, God will spend treasures of wrath to punish you for your lusts.  It had been a thousand times better for you if you had never had an estate, that you had begged your bread from door to door, than to have such a sad reckoning as you shall shortly have for it.” — Flavel on Lust 20-21

Sin promises a lot of things that are lies.  If you ever want a clear depiction of what sin really promises but will never tell you, think about this quote.  The consequences of sin is death in the physical body and death in the spiritual state as well.  The Bible says that on the Day of the LORD the when Jesus Christ is revealed from heaven and comes to judge the world the wicked will cry out for the mountains to fall on them to hide them from the horror of their impending wrath.  God will punish all sin and it will be better for sinners to have never been born than to be faced with the terror of the LORD on judgement day.  But praise be to God that we know a Name!  A name that promises that if we call on Him in faith we will be saved from that horrible holocaust.  Jesus Christ is our savior for all who believe on Him and believe that He took our sins away and bore the punishment for them on the cross.  Even the most wicked sins are forgiven through the cross because “with God all things are possible”!