Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

He Gave Himself

During Lent we often think of the Passion story but miss a major point: Jesus gave Himself.  In our portrayals of the story we show scheming leaders trying to kill Jesus and we see powerful soldiers nailing Him to a cross but we miss that Jesus gave Himself up.

Here's John's account of Jesus' arrest.  I think it does a great job of highlighting that Jesus gave Himself for us.

"So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees.  They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to Him, went out and asked them, 'Who is it you want?'

'Jesus of Nazareth,' they replied.

'I am He,' Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, 'I am He,' they drew back and fell to the ground.

Again He asked them, 'Who is it you want?'

And they said, 'Jesus of Nazareth.'" John 18:3-7

I love this story because John includes a detail that no other Gospel does.  He says that when Jesus spoke, the armed guards and all the men coming to arrest Him fell to the ground.  This highlights that Jesus, who spoke the universe into existence, had the power with one word to vanquish those coming to arrest Him, but He gave Himself up to them to be killed.

This Lent remember that Jesus gave Himself up for you.  No one took His life, but He gave it for the atonement of your sins.  Below are some more verses to meditate on to highlight this amazing fact:

"The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life... only to take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.  I have the authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.  This command I received from my Father."  John 10:17-18

"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,"  Galatians 1:3-4

"... we wait for the blessed hope... the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good."  Titus 2:13-14

"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 her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth."  Isaiah 53:7

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."  John 3:16

Don't lose sight of the wonderful fact that Jesus gave Himself for you.  People killed Jesus, but no one took His life, He gave His life.  Jesus was the author of all that happened to Him.  Jesus gave Himself over to death so He can give you eternal life.  He took the pain so you can take His gift today.

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