On Sunday past, at our morning service, our friend Gordon reminded us that Jesus Christ "loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father..." (Ref #1)
Since then I have been thinking more about this; about the experiences Jesus went through and the position that he took to enable that to happen.
Here then are some simple reflections that I've had since Sunday past (simple perhaps in terms of my thinking, but deep in meaning).
We are loved by Jesus; he has loved us even to the extent of dying for us. What I have been thinking however is that by contrast, in the course of dying for us he was forsaken by his Father God.
“And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Ref #2)
In order to free us from the punishment that should rightfully be ours (humankind has rebelled against a Holy God from the very beginning), Jesus offered himself as a willing sacrifice for sin. Because Jesus did this we can receive forgiveness from God for our sins; but we personally need to acknowledge to God that we know we are sinful, that we are sorry for/ repentant of our sin and that we are relying on Jesus' sacrifice and blood (and nothing else), to cleanse us from that sin. Now this is amazing in itself but I've been thinking this week that for Jesus to do what he did and free us from our sins, as the only human being ever to be sinless, he himself became sin in order to take our punishment!
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (Ref #3)
“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Ref #4)
Gordon gave us this thought on Sunday morning that we've been lifted to an amazing new position; because of all that Jesus has done he has
made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father. In our sinful state we could never approach God, but because we are now cleansed and made right by Jesus we can be a kingdom and priests. I've been thinking of the contrast here again, because for us to be lifted, and even though he was with God in heaven, he had to become lower.
“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Ref #5)
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” (Ref #6)
So, many thanks to Gordon for sharing his thoughts with us on Sunday morning and I hope these further thoughts will encourage you too.
Ref #1 The Bible/ Revelation 1:5-6
Ref #2 The Bible/ Mark 15:34
Ref #3 The Bible/ 2 Corinthians 5:21
Ref #4 The Bible/ Isaiah 53:6 NIV
Ref #5 The Bible/ Philippians 2:6-8
Ref #6 The Bible/ 2 Corinthians 8:9