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healedAt our church we passionately believe that God heals.  In Exodus 15:26 God reveals that His very name is Jehovah Rapha, I am the God that heals you.  It is deep in the heart and character of God to heal and transform lives.  It is in the very fabric of who He is to heal.

In Psalm 103 we read

Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Healing is something very personal to me.  It’s been neat on fb this past week seeing fb memories about discovering I was allergic to wheat, beginning regular specialist visits, having copious amounts of blood tests, and yes, having to go gluten free… In fact in space of a few weeks I was gluten free, diary free to add to my egg free, nut free, seafood free, fruit free and it felt like, taste free.  One test revealed that I was 3000x the limit of what a normal person’s rate would be.   It was a diagnosis at the end of a 24 month journey of constant unwellness and reactions.  In one test they did out of the 18 things they tested I was allergic to 15 of them.  Only to go back the next month to say, oh you’re also allergic to these things now too.  18 out of 18.  Over achiever!

Now I tell this not to brag about myself but to brag about Jesus and to declare that He is the same today as He was  yesterday and will be tomorrow.

My life changed at His Presence Conference in 2014 one of the speakers begun the session saying that he had some specific conditions that he was going to call out and that God was going to heal.

Carpal tunnel.  Arthritis.  And then severe food allergies.  I stood up.  Now I had been prayed for so many times.  So many.  And sometimes saw some changes but was still battling the condition.  And sometimes people would pray for me and say wanna test it and I would be like, bless your heart. NO!

But this time as people prayed for me I had a sense from God that YES I could eat!   I KNEW I was healed.

So I did!  We had a lovely morning tea prepared around the corner and I grabbed some yummy caramel slice and ate it.

Now this would be a trillion times more than my body could have handled.  If I was reacting it would take about a minute for me to become uncontrollably itchy, for my lips to swell and for my temperature to rise, for me to feel dizzy and like my brain was fritzing out and well, there were other unpleasant things too that would have me in the bathroom for the day.

But none of that happened.  So I ate half a piece of toast the next day.  And the pizza the week later.   And donuts.

No problems.  Completely healed.

I tell you this because testimonies stir our faith.  They remind us that God can do the impossible, and I say if He can do it for me, He can do it for you.

We believe God heals and love to pray for healing.  We understand sometimes it is a process.  I had a few years of process to walk through UNTIL my healing, just like how blind bartimaeus was blind UNTIl Jesus healed him, just as the lepers had leprosy UNTIL Jesus healed them, just as Lazerus was dead UNTIL Jesus healed him and raised him from death.  But we stretch out in faith in every part of the journey, declaring and celebrating that our God is the God that heals.

Isaiah 53:5 says He was pierced for our transgressions, and he was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought our peace was on him; and by his stripes we are healed.

But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole and we received healing from his wounds

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*** WARNING CONTAINS SPOILERS

last night my hubby and i went out to the movies, while a couple from our housegroup stayed at home with our short ones.  we had been given movie vouchers for our local theatre and the ONLY movie on that night (that was not an art or foreign film) was Wolverine in 3D.  Now i love action movies.  i adore star trek.  watched xmen. but i’ve never bonded with wolverine.  and part of me loved hugh jackman in les miserables so much that i thought i might of being disappointed with hugh jackman as wolverine, or expected him to burst into song.  and was i in the mood for an action movie?  but that was our option.  and so we grabbed it with both hands.

and i was pleasantly surprised.  i loved wolverine.  my husband was not surprised.  he knew i would.

 

wolverine is exactly the type of hero i love.  raw.  real.  rough.  broken.

and more so in this movie than any of his others.

near the beginning of the movie he is infected with a “thing” that reduces his ability to heal.  he is weak.  fragile.  vulnerable.  yet everything within him reaches out to protect and defend, to fight for justice.  he gets wounded, bleeds and is tired, all things that are not familiar for him.  he is broken.  and he knows it.

he also knows the solution is to cut it out of his heart.  to essential risk his life and die in order to live.  in order for him to be who he is and to bring justice and life, he must overcome.

 

i’ve given away so much already. sorry for the spoilers.  and i’m not sure the analogy will totally mix, but its my thoughts in five minutes right…?

 

and i sat there and it kind of struck me. 

i am broken.  i am raw and real.  not so rough or tough. 

i am, i was a sinner. 

and it took the death of my Saviour, Jesus Christ, to rescue and redeem me.

You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent. Colossians 1:21-22

Jesus was broken for me.

 

He suffered and endured
great pain for us,
but we thought his suffering
was punishment from God.
He was wounded and crushed
because of our sins;
by taking our punishment,
he made us completely well.
All of us were like sheep
that had wandered off.
We had each gone our own way,
but the Lord gave him
the punishment we deserved.
He was painfully abused,
but he did not complain.
Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin
Isaiah 53

Jesus was broken for me.   His death brought me life.  His death exchanged my sin for His righteousness.

i am unbroken because of Jesus.  i am whole because of Jesus.  i am healed because of Jesus.  i am restored because of Jesus.

i can live, in this life and eternally, because of Jesus.

 

 

 

ps and if i havent spoiled it – go see wolverine.  its great.  sit and wait for the credits to finish.  believe me, you’ll be glad.  everyone else in the theatre left but my hubby said wait… wait… wait… and then boom.  secret knowledge. 

 

 

Five Minute Friday is a feature over at Lisa-Jo Bakers TALES FROM A GYPSY MAMA blog.  i first read about it on my friend Fee’s blog (and her one on IN BETWEEN is really good this week!) and thought it sounded fun!

So, let’s do this thing. Let’s write.

Set your timer, clear your head, for five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready?

jesus lamb of god

And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. Luke 22:19-20

 

Out of all the amazing things about Jesus and His ministry and what He would do THIS is the FOCAL point that He instructs His disciples to pay attention to and to replicate, to do again, to stir up remembrance, to focus on this, to see its significance.

 

All the way through history in the bible we see the pattern demonstrated that points to Jesus, the Lamb of God, that points to salvation through Jesus.

 

In the garden of Eden the first prophecy about the messiah, about the saviour, about salvation is made: And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:15

 

And the first sacrifice for sin is made – the first animal death for a human – for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them. Genesis 3:21

 

Job, the oldest written book of the bible, cries out for a mediator between God and man.

 

Time and and time again we see in psalms promises of amazing forgiveness : As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103: 12

 

And through into the prophets promises of a messiah, a king, a deliverer, a saviour.

 

Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 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. Isaiah 53:4-6

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, Isaiah 53:10

 

“But the gospel transforms us so our self-understanding is no longer based on our performance in life. We are so evil and sinful and flawed that Jesus had to die for us. We were so lost that nothing less than the death of the divine Son of God could save us. But we are so loved and valued that he was willing to die for us. The Lord of the universe loved us enough to do that! So the gospel humbles us into dust and at the very same time exalts us to the heavens. We are sinners but completely loved and accepted in Christ at the same time. … He saw your heart to the bottom and loved you to the skies.” Tim Keller

 

This is what we come to remember.

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Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
Isaiah 53:4-5

 

 

the most powerful thing i’ve read

today

perhaps ever

and you know

what strikes me

is i have no problem believing and accepting and receiving the first 7 lines

help me to have faith in line 8, jesus

 

By His stripes we are healed.

Easter is always an amazing special time for me – so it’s such a priv to be here preaching tonight at five.

At an Easter camp 17 years ago I became a Christian.  So apart from the chocolate and the hot cross buns, and the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, Easter has special significance for me.  It is the weekend that my life changed – the weekend my real life began.  It was the weekend I met God and He made me His.

This invitation is open for all of us.  All the time.  That we can know God.  Really know Him.

You see I wanted to know God, as a kid and growing up, but He seemed so far away and then so not there that I determined in myself that He wasn’t real.  I went to a youth group, to meet boys, but instead a guy there prayed and all of a sudden I knew that he knew God and that God was real and that I had to do something about that.

Which brings us to right here and right now tonight….

What is the invitation of God for each one of us?

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.  Revelation 3:20

The more I consider this verse, the more I am left humbled and awed at what God is saying and promising.  The more I think about this the more I am blown away and left in awe.

This is God’s invitation to us.  He is standing at the door and knocking, calling us to Himself, that we might know Him and walk with Him and have friendship and real relationship and encounter with Him.  It’s not just about rules and ritual and even about obedience and discipleship – its about knowing God.

Now I have read Revelation 3:20 many a time.  But what esp hit me this last few weeks is the WHO is knocking.

It is Jesus knocking at the door.

Jesus.  King of Glory.  Creator of the Universe.  Lord of Lords.  Alpha and Omega.  Prince of Peace.  Coming King.

Sometimes when we think of Jesus we dare I say “dumb Him down” or “meek Him down” – we envisage the meek and mild Jesus of the stained glass window.

He is meek, in the sense of power restrained, but I don’t think ever mild.  He is the one who humbled Himself and made Himself no reputation Philippians 2:5 says, coming as a human, dwelling with us on earth, experiencing this life as flesh, obedient to God, loving and compassionate to people but He is always the almighty glorious all powerful reigning King of Kings.

This is how John saw Him when He appeared to him on the island of Patmos…

12I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

17When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.  Revelation 1:12- 18

This is Jesus who knocks.  This is Jesus who waits for our response.

If we read on in Philippians 2, talking about

Christ Jesus:6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Paul goes on:


9
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.


Ephesians 1:19-23 is an awesome passage about Jesus’ power and reign.

That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Colossians 1 blows me away every time I read it:

15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.  21Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— Colossians 1:15-22

Lets turn back the clock, turn back BEFORE Jesus came to earth… Daniel sees Jesus as all powerful and as Coming King in Daniel 7.

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. Daniel 7:13-14

Ya getting my picture.  Jesus isn’t a wossified God, He is ruling, reigning, full of power and glory RIGHT NOW.

And He knocks and waits for you to respond.  Why?

Why not just break the door down?  Why have a door anyway – remember, when He died on the cross He tore the veil between Holy of Holies and common ground from top to bottom, signifying that we could now come before God and enter His holy presence.  Why have a door?  God destroyed the barrier between Himself and us through Christ’s death – what’s up with the door?

It’s the whole point.  God isn’t after slaves or robots…  He is after bondservants – do you know what I mean by that?

He’s after people who willingly lay their life down to walk with Him, recognizing their need for their redemption and allowing Him to lead and guide and transform.  He’s after people who will love Him.  LOVE HIM.  Who will live their lives in response to his great love, poured out and expressed upon the cross.

My redemption was purchased by His suffering

My salvation was purchased by His suffering

My forgiveness was purchased by His suffering

My acceptableness to God was won and wrought by His suffering and pain and anguish

Every good thing, every peace, every grace, every gift, every calling, every destiny, every closeness i have with God – my Christianity – was paid for by the extreme suffering of Jesus Christ.

The cost of my salvation was the punishment of Jesus for my sin

The way for me to come to God was opened and made by the extreme sacrifice of Jesus Christ

Jesus suffered and died so we can approach God and not die, but be welcomed and embraced as family.

Jesus stands at the door and knocks.

Jesus King of Glory, Almighty God,

Saviour.  Sacrificed.   Punished.   Executed.

Isaiah 53 to me says it best… written in the 8th C before Christ, he prophesied Jesus, Suffering Servant.

How could I not want to throw that door open and fling wide the door of my life?

On that Easter 17 years ago I sat under a tree and knew that if I was to die right there and then, that I had done nothing to earn my way to heaven.  I knew I was guilty.

Can you imagine my response when I heard the good news, that Jesus did it all, paid it all, suffered it all, took it all… so I don’t have to.   I jumped over that pew faster than you could say peow peow….

Breather: gun noises

Jesus stands at the door and knocked.  He died so the door can be opened and so you wouldn’t be smited but welcomed.

And His promise – that if we open the door of our life, He will come in and eat with us.  How personal and wow is that.  Eating together is such a personal “thing” we do.  We eat together as a family.  We talk, we laugh, we share.  We go out for dinner for date nights, and talk dreams and memories and open our lives up.  We eat at five and get connected.  There is just something about relationships formed over food.  Its like super personal and real and relevant.  This is what Jesus promises.  He isn’t promising to come in and be a dictator, but to come in and be part of our lives, to connect, to be here.

The promise is closeness.  Encounter.  Knowing God.  Knowing GOD ALMIGHTY.

Salvation isn’t just for when we die.

"If your purpose was just to go to heaven, you’d be better dying right after salvation. God has you here to change the earth!" Damon Thompson

Salvation is for knowing God in this life as well as the next.  It’s for now.  It’s about knowing God and making Him known.  It’s about opening the door for Jesus to come in and living that out loud so that others see He is real.

Tonight the challenge is for each one of us to stop shutting Jesus out and to open the door and let Him come in.  He died for this, He bled for this, He was beaten for this.  For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son so that all who believe will not die but have eternal life starting right now.  Will you accept His invitation?

[tweetmeme only_single=”false”]

i woke up last night at about 3.45am, never nice numbers to see when you realize that you are AWAKE!

so i plugged into my mp4 and considered what to listen to… something quite and relaxing and conclusive to sending me back to sleep… or my file on revival preaching…

the later won…

it includes preaching and also songs that stir my heart towards prayer and revival.

and as i listened to someone read out isaiah 53 my spirit was stirred to write and more importantly understand and feel the following… so flick the light went on (sorry hubby) and i jotted it down…


my redemption was purchased by His suffering

my salvation was purchased by His suffering

my forgiveness was purchased by His suffering

my acceptableness to God was won and wrought by His suffering and pain and anguish

every good thing, every peace, every grace, every gift, every calling, every destiny, every closeness i have with God – my christianity – was paid for by the extreme suffering of Jesus Christ

the cost of my salvation was the punishment of Jesus for my sin

the way for me to come to God was opened and made by the extreme sacrifice of Jesus Christ

Jesus suffered and died so we can approach God and not die, but be welcomed and embraced as family.

I lean towards prayer and worship and also admire the meditative lifestyles of saints of old and saints of now.

while I am not catholic or endorsing a denomination I thought I would use the stations of the cross as a springboard for my devotions. This was semi inspired by a wedding I attended in a beautiful old catholic church which had stained glass stations of the cross.  <!– /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:””; margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;} p {margin-right:0cm; mso-margin-top-alt:auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; margin-left:0cm; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;} @page Section1 {size:612.0pt 792.0pt; margin:72.0pt 90.0pt 72.0pt 90.0pt; mso-header-margin:36.0pt; mso-footer-margin:36.0pt; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} –> For me it is an opportunity to pause and in a way kneel and honour my Lord for his sacrifice and his salvation wrought on the cross for me.   i like things that make me stop and reflect and pray and worship and in a more real way, not just for meditation sake, but for real life transformation and knowning God, make me draw near to him.

The stations of the cross follow the last hours of Jesus life from his trial to his resurrection.

Station One = Jesus Condemned

Pilate brought Jesus outside and said to the people, “Look at your king!”

At this they shouted, “Away with him! Crucify him!”

Then Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified

John 19:14-15

“Behold your King” is such a powerful declaration. Especially if you let yourself think what Jesus must of looked like at that time. Beaten. Broken. Thorny crown. Whipped. Spat on. Mocked. Strong. Surrendered. Submitted. Sacrificing. Saving. Saviour.

Throughout his trial Jesus remained committed to the will of God and the heart of God. He continued to act with grace and holiness. I was thinking today that the out working of our christianity isn’t just in the big moral decisions (adultary, stealing, murder etc) but in the day to day how we choose to act and react in our families and with our friends. Do we yell at our kids or extend grace? Are we patient or kind or do we let that unkind word slip out? Do we allow discouragement to defeat us or continue to have faith in God? In the same way Jesus made the choices to remain sinless and surrendered to God. At any point he could have lashed out and taken his life back from those he was giving it to….

John 10:17 Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I might take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down from Myself. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it again. I have received this commandment from My Father.

The thing that really strikes me is just the process of sacrifice that Jesus went through. It was a continual process of laying his life down. It wasn’t easy. And he did it for the sake of love.

1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation concerning our sins.

Love is demonstrated in the sacrifice of Jesus. It is demonstrated in the life of Jesus.

All that Jesus suffered was for our sake. For our redemption. For our salvation. Each whip and mock and spit was so I can be called a child of God. My sin also spat, whipped and mocked Jesus. I am responsible. And I am forgiven.
Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and He was afflicted; yet He opened not His mouth. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before its shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.

Behold your King!  Jesus was the King of the Jews and indeed in revelation and 1 timothy he is called the King of ALL KINGS and Lord of Lords.

Colossians 1:16-17  Everything was created by him, everything in heaven and on earth, everything seen and unseen, including all forces and powers, and all rulers and authorities. All things were created by God’s Son, and everything was made for him.  God’s Son was before all else, and by him everything is held together.

Philippians 2:6-8  Christ was truly God. But he did not try to remain equal with God.   Instead he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us.   Christ was humble. He obeyed God and even died on a cross.

again moved by Isaiah 53, i post this song to encourage you and inspire you and reveal more of God’s great everlasting love to you…

by the sacrifice of Jesus we are made whole, new, clean, forgiven, pure, holy and righteous. by the sacrifice of Jesus we can come close to God – Jesus made the way through his death – that we can know God and be known by God.

he bore the punishment we deserve. the wages of sin is death and Jesus has paid this penalty so we do not need to.

i am free because of what Jesus has done.

1 Peter 1:18-19 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, silver or gold, from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot;  (MJKV)


1 Peter 1:18-19 But you know that you were not rescued by such things as silver or gold that don’t last forever.  You were rescued by the precious blood of Christ, that spotless and innocent lamb.  CEV

you see we had to be rescued.  we were enemies of God by the way we lived our lives and our very heart and character was flawed and corrupted.   But God made a way and he paid the price and made the sacrifice.

Colossians 1:20-22  And God was pleased for him to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that all beings in heaven and on earth would be brought back to God.  You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things.  But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent.

it is by the wounds of Jesus that we are forgiven.  it is by his blood that we are made clean.  his blood covers over us just as the passover lamb’s blood covered over the doorposts so teh angel of death passed by their homes back in Exodus, when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt.

Because of Jesus i am now acceptable to God.  i can come near.  i can be called a child of God.  i can be friends iwth God and walk with God and speak to God and love God.

Not of my own effort or my own good intentions or my own attempts.  but all because of what Jesus has done on the cross.

John Lennon declared he was bigger than him. The Titanic Director James Cameron thinks he’s found his grave. His name may have been said within your earshot today. As a curse word. But who is Jesus really. And how does that affect my life, in 2009?

You may know some of the facts surrounding Jesus’ life and death. Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’ birth in a stable, to a virgin, in Bethlehem. Easter is the celebration of His death, on a cross in Jerusalem. You may know that he worked miracles, and had disciples and enemies, that he preached love and eternal life. But do you know what he really lived and died for?

We’ve all seen the stained glass pictures, or those paintings painted in the Renaissance of Jesus. They depict him as weak, mild, insipid even. In Western culture, all of us have been exposed to the figure of Jesus Christ countless times since infancy. Holiday carols and cliches, TV specials and Bible stories, bumper stickers and slogans, crucifixes and sunrise services – even coarse jokes and curse words. We, too, consciously or subconsciously, have developed our own set of assumptions about this Jesus.

Jesus was a carpenter, used to working with his hands, lifting heavy beams of wood, using his whole body to craft yokes for oxen and furniture for homes. When Jesus walked this earth, He didn’t fit the expectations of the religious community, or even his own disciples. He didn’t demand an ornate tower to preach from, He was born in the dust, His friends were the most controversial fringe elements of society – tax collector’s, prostitutes, lepers… Jesus touched those that were classed as outcasts and untouchables. Equally he called to those that were community leaders, soldiers, the wealthy. Jesus didn’t look at the exterior, he looked at the heart and gave everyone the opportunity to follow Him.

Jesus stood up for real truth, the truth that God was real and loved them and desired to be in relationship with them. He preached real love, real commitment to holy living and real commitment and relationship with God. He talked about eternity and the way to heaven, life and death, choices. This went against the grain of the religious leaders who had made “church” into a series of do this and don?t do that?s.

In his famous book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis makes this statement, “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic–on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg–or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.(emphasis: web author)”

Jesus Christ made a claim that was breathtaking in it’s audacity. Where did He come from? Was He really God in the flesh? Why was the establishment of His day so frightened by His message that He had to die? Who is Jesus to you? Your life on this earth and for all of eternity is affected by your answer to this question.

Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, even making himself the same as God. He said “before Abraham was, I AM”. Abraham is known as the father of faith for both Jews and Christians. I AM is a holy sacred name for God, the name that God himself gave Moses to share with the enslaved Jewish people as a sign of the power and reality of God and his promises. Jesus essentially is saying I AM. He is saying I AM God. To say this he was either telling the truth, deluded and lying, or just plain lying out of a desire for power and fame and self glory, to deceive the people into believing in him.

Because of Jesus we can know God. Jesus reveals to us who God is. Colossians 1 says that Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. John puts it this way in John 1:14 “The Word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw his true glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. From him all the kindness and all the truth of God have come down to us.”

Jesus is God. Almighty God. Creator God. The one who breathed the stars into existence and created the zebra, grasshopper, the daffodil, the puffer fisher, the rainbow, the milky way… Jesus is God, sees all, knows all, all powerful… and yet he chose to relinquish that power and might and become a human, so we can know the undeserved kindness of God. John 1:17 Jesus Christ brought us undeserved kindness and truth.

Jesus called himself The Way – the way to God! Because of Jesus we can make peace with God. Romans 5:1-2 “By faith we have been made acceptable to God. And now, because of our Lord Jesus Christ, we live at peace with God. Christ has also introduced us to God’s undeserved kindness on which we take our stand.” Colossians 1:20-22 says “And God was pleased for him to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that all beings in heaven and on earth would be brought back to God. You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent.”

Without Jesus there is no way to God. Without Jesus there is no peace with God. Without Jesus there is no redemption. Without Jesus we are guilty.

Jesus “suffered and endured great pain for us, but we thought his suffering was punishment from God. He was wounded and crushed because of our sins; by taking our punishment, he made us completely well. All of us were like sheep that had wandered off. We had each gone our own way, but the LORD gave him the punishment we deserved. He was painfully abused, but he did not complain. He was silent like a lamb being led to the butcher, as quiet as a sheep having its wool cut off. He was condemned to death without a fair trial. Who could have imagined what would happen to him? His life was taken away because of the sinful things my people had done. He wasn’t dishonest or violent, but he was buried in a tomb of cruel and rich people. The LORD decided his servant would suffer as a sacrifice to take away the sin and guilt of others. Now the servant will live to see his own descendants. He did everything the LORD had planned. By suffering, the servant will learn the true meaning of obeying the LORD. Although he is innocent, he will take the punishment for the sins of others, so that many of them will no longer be guilty. The LORD will reward him with honour and power for sacrificing his life. Others thought he was a sinner, but he suffered for our sins and asked God to forgive us.” Isaiah 53

Jesus said he was the one and only way to God, both for eternity and for this life too. Will you believe what he said?

All of us need to know this Jesus that gave his life for us that we might have peace with God. All of us know people who need to experience the reality of Jesus and his grace. We have a mission and that is to tell the good news about God’s wonderful kindness, expressed in Jesus’ life and in his death. This week I challenge you to remember what Jesus has done in your life and to pass it on – to tell someone else about who Jesus really is…

Colossians 1:13-14 God rescued us from the dark power of Satan and brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son, who forgives our sins and sets us free.

Colossians 1:20-22 And God was pleased for him to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that all beings in heaven and on earth would be brought back to God. 21You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. 22But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent.

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Worship Wednesday

1000 Things

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