Colin & Lyn's Wise Wednesday - 24th April 2019

They say Easter “has come and gone”. NO!  Can Easter ever go? NO! Easter can never go. I just pray that the events of Easter linger in our lives for eternity.

Do you remember how we started last week’s devotion? If not here is a reminder.  Holy week is upon us.  A time of deep reflection.  What I would like to do this week is to share with you part of my talk/sharing I did last night at Hillside.   It is a journey with Jesus through the Hymn, How Great Thou Art;  from creation back to eternity.

In verse 3 we follow Jesus to Jerusalem and  are led to the Cross but Jesus takes our place.

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;

Sent Him to die. I scarce can take it in;

That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,

He bled and died to take away my sin.

 

This verse really hit home to me when I pictured the crucifixion through the eyes of Barabbas; a notorious criminal who was condemned to die on the cross.

The story so far:

After Jesus was betrayed by Judas he was taken to the Roman Governor’s palace where he was interrogated by Pilate.  Pilate could find no reason to kill Jesus so he went back to the Jews and told them that he could find nothing wrong in Jesus. Pilate then reminded the Jews that it was their custom to pardon one prisoner at Passover.  He asked them if they wanted him to pardon the ‘king of the Jews”?  The crowd responded immediately, in no uncertain manner:  No! No! Not Jesus we want Barabbas. We want Barabbas!  We want Barabbas!  So Pilate took Jesus and had him whipped and prepared for crucifixion.

Try to live this moment being Barabbas as described by Max Lucado; we, you and I, sit on the floor of a dusty cell, waiting the final moment.  Our executioner's footsteps echo against stone walls.  Head between knees, we don’t look up as he opens the door; we don’t lift our eyes as he begins to speak.  We know what he is going to say, "Time to pay for your sins." but we hear something else, "You're free to go. They took Jesus instead of you."  We hear the words again as they echo against the stone walls "You're free to go. They took Jesus instead of you."

Can you picture the scene?  I pray that these words will echo in our hearts as we approach the cross and I pray that these words will resonate within us for a long time. “They took Jesus instead of you; instead of me”.

Summary so far:

At the beginning of our journey, that we discussed last week, we were humbled by God’s creation; and reminded that there is a time to talk and a time to remain silent, a time of silence where our actions and deeds speak louder than our words.

In the second verse, also discussed last week, we are brought down to earth with Jesus as we walk through forest glades and asked if we have a special place where Jesus is especially close to us. On Calvary the barrier that people thought existed between God and man was removed forever. We can feel free to worship anywhere even in HillBrews and Nobel School Hall.

The third part of our journey was a journey to the cross; where Jesus took our place, we looked at it through the eyes of Barabbas.

The good news in verse four is that the cross is not the end of the journey but the beginning of a new life, a new journey, a Homecoming.

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,

And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.

Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,

And then proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”

Can I remind you of the parable of the Prodigal son or maybe we should call it The Story of the Forgiving Father. It is about a rebellious child who longs to escape from the life he has been brought up in and sample the high life that he has heard all about. It tells of a Father who loves his son enough to let him have his freedom he desires to express himself, the freedom of choice. Does that sound familiar?  God is the Prodigal Father pacing the porch. His eyes are wide open as he searches. His heart is heavy. He seeks his wayward son. He scans the horizon. He examines the skyline, yearning for the familiar figure, the recognizable walk. His concerns are not the money his son has squandered or the lifestyle that he has lived. His concern is for His son who bears His image, His concern is for you and me. He wants us home.

As Luke puts it in 15:20  “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

What strikes me about this parable is that the Father does not wait to hear any apology; He smothers the son’s apology with his embrace. He is just happy that his son turned around and found his way home and into his the Fathers wide spread arms. Did Jesus not do the same for the criminal on the cross? All the criminal asked was for Jesus to remember him when Jesus arrived in heaven.  Jesus’ immediate response was today, not tomorrow or the next day no hanging around for judgment (sorry for the pun) TODAY you will be with me in paradise. No long confession necessary, just turn to Jesus and He will do the rest.

Jesus is saying the same to us; He is waiting for us to turn towards the cross. He is waiting with open arms to embrace us. He doesn’t want long confessions he just wants our heart.

I just pray that the words on our lips and the message in our hearts this Easter is:

PLEASE JESUS REMEMBER ME WHEN YOU ARE IN HEAVEN

In closing a word from John 14:2-3 in the form of a promise from Jesus, and what a promise to cling to: “I go to prepare a place for you. And when I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also”

Wow what a promise!

Let’s pray: When asked to describe the width of His love Jesus stretched one hand to the east and the other hand to the west and had them nailed in that position so that we would know He died loving us.  Please God help us remember that when Jesus opened His hands for the nails He opened the gates of Heaven for you and me. And it was not those nails that kept Jesus on the cross but His love for you and me. Amen

God bless.

Lyn & Colin

Inspired by:  Bible study by John Birch. Max Lucado, my favorite author. How Great Thou Art by Carl Gustav Boberg. Lyn my beloved wife and watched over by my Redeemer.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cc0QVWzCv9k

 

 

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