(Bible quotations are from the NIV unless otherwise stated)
14th April 2017
We Christians are the most fortunate people on the face of the earth. Dear brother of sister in Christ, please don't complain about how tough your life is. You probably face challenges, experience sorrows, know loss. You may be unwell, or injured, or poor or lonely. You may have suffered cruelty or neglect. But you, dear brother of sister in Christ, have been forgiven your sins. You've been adopted into God's holy family. You've been given the Holy Spirit, you're included in God's chosen people. You're guaranteed eternal life with Jesus.
Life can be hard. But God is with you. God is for you. God has saved you. And God will never forsake you. And even if you forsake God, the moment you come back to him, he will turn to you and restore you.
And all this is true because of the sacrifice of God the Son.
God is Trinity - Three in One. The fact that we can't understand that doesn't mean it isn't true. And God decided that the Second Person of the Holy Trinity would come to earth, teach us the truth, heal the sick, raise the dead, comfort the # lonely, and then give his life to pay for our sins.
He was betrayed by his friend and arrested by the Jewish authorities, who handed him over to the Roman occupying forces, who nailed him to a cross. At any time, he could have walked away. He could have called down legions of angels to protect him. He could have struck his accusers dumb. He could have rendered his captors paralysed. He could have ascended into heaven.
He could have answered the charges against him. He could have defended himself in court. He could have proved the accusations false. He could have exposed the lies and hypocrisy of his accusers and his judges.
But he didn't.
As Isaiah said about Jesus, hundreds of years before he was born, "He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth" (Isaiah 53v7).
Why? Why didn't Jesus protect himself, justify himself, save himself?
Because Jesus knew he had to die to protect us, justify us, save us.
God is the judge of all the earth, and he's perfect. God must, by his very nature, execute perfect justice. The penalty for our sins must be paid if we're to be forgiven. And we have nothing at all with which we can pay the price.
The main reason Jesus came to earth was to undergo this arrest, false trial, torture and execution. He died to pay the penalty for our sin because we couldn't.
He died on our place, so that we could live in his place. He gave his life so we could enjoy eternal life. He loved us enough to give everything he had for us.
Today, on earth, every Christian can know the presence of God in his life, the word of God in his heart, the peace of God in his mind. And we will enjoy perfect peace with him for all eternity.
The person who has Jesus and nothing else has infinitely more than the person who has everything else but doesn't have Jesus.
We Christians are the most fortunate people on the face of the earth.