“For this reason the Father loves me because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me but I lay it down of my own accord.
I have authority to lay it down and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I received from my Father.”
This section of Scripture is plain spoken and yet puzzling to the hearers. Why? It is because their frame of reference is skewed. The words are plain but without understanding to their ears. It can be the same with my ears…
Today we are celebrating Easter. He is risen; He is risen indeed!
I don’t ponder, wonder about this enough. This whole time doesn’t capture my attention, my imagination, my sense of awe like it should. There is a part of my mind that is just used to the holiday.
And that is the way many identify with this time-it is holiday. Not a bad thing, I am certainly not entering into any kind of condemnation to those that do-I would have to condemn myself, the face in the mirror as well.
But I wonder: Does the Subject of this holiday move me? If I am reminded I quickly shift into Christian gear and say “Yes!” But what if I am doing the dishes? Mowing the lawn? Getting the grill ready for the Final Four? Probably not if I am being fiercely transparent.
Review the scripture reference above. Jesus is plainly saying that He has authority to die on his own volition, to resurrect on his own volition. There are reasons this is significant: 1) He is a wiling sacrifice; 2) He is not a victim, nor is He dependent on another hand to do the dirty work (think about Abraham and Isaac); 3) He will raise Himself up; 4) All this through the Plan of the Gospel from before Time began.
If I think about this more, Jesus suffered triumphally. Every lash, every stone, every blow on the nails, every wave of Eternal Wrath meant for me He accepted and meant that the Plan was proceeding as designed-Creation would be redeemed, the price of Sin would be paid for, God’s righteous Justice and corresponding Wrath would have appeasement, and Men, through faith in the Work of Christ would have redemption, adoption, and release from the chains of Sin. But also, not to forget, that those that don’t have faith in the Atonement would be subject to the same Wrath Jesus did.
So what will I do today? I will take frequent time to steal away for a moment of reflecting on the Atonement. I will open my mouth in praise and especially thanksgiving. I will reflect on this with my wife in morning devotions. I will be triumphally humbled today, knowing that I don’t deserve His work, and will be so very grateful for His Work. Grace, grace, marvelous Grace!!
Triune God, be praised forever! Your Name is above all names. There is absolutely none like You; No works are greater than Yours, Your ways are so far above anything imaginable. You are Good in such a way as cannot be fathomed.
Thank you for the Cross. Thank you for the Resurrection. Thank you for the Gospel. Thank you for the Holy Spirit.