Opening my Bible to Scripture describing Jesus’ death on the cross, I hesitated in wanting to read it. Thinking about Jesus dying for me seemed sad. Every year my church hosts an Easter play showing the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. I work in the nursery with precious kids! We sometimes have a livestream of The Victor on, but the kids will not let us volunteers forget to turn the TV off on the crucifixion part. While I understand that this part of the play scares the kids and some parents do not want them to see it yet, it honestly infuriates me. Jesus dying on the cross for us is the news that needs to be shouted loudest and never kept back.
If we ignore talking about Jesus’ death on the cross, we will never experience our lives to the fullest or help others experience true Hope and freedom.
As I have been getting ready for school this morning, I have continued to know Jesus is saying, “Don’t forget My death.” Don’t forget His death.
Luke chapters 23-24 are a must-read. I am still in a type of trance after what Jesus brought to my attention.
People in authority knew Jesus was not evil. He had harmed no one but had helped countless people. Yet the people had turned their thoughts against Jesus. They went from worshipping Him to begging for His earthly death.
I have grown up hearing about Barabbas, the prisoner who was released when Jesus was taken captive.
God reveals a beautiful insight into that. You and I are Barabbas. We are the ones who are dirty and filthy. We are the ones in chains we cannot break ourselves. We are not the ones as the source of Hope. Without Jesus dying on the cross for us, we would die with no hope whatsoever.
Jesus was taken captive and Barabbas was released. The guilty man was set free and the blameless One was killed for you and me. What a love God has for you and me, my friend!
“Then they all cried out together, “Take this man away! Release Barabbas to us!” (He had been thrown into prison for a rebellion that had taken place in the city, and for murder.) Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate addressed them again, but they kept shouting, “Crucify! Crucify him!” A third time he said to them, “Why? What has this man done wrong? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore, I will have him whipped and then release him.” But they kept up the pressure, demanding with loud voices that he be crucified, and their voices won out. So Pilate decided to grant their demand and released the one they were asking for, who had been thrown into prison for rebellion and murder. But he handed Jesus over to their will.” -Luke 23:18-25 (CSB)
Hebrews 12:2 (NLT) shares a mighty truth with us: “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”
Jesus knew the cross was not appealing. He was exposed to all of the people there watching the crucifixion take place. He was bleeding terribly. His body was barely recognizable. Roman soldiers twisted thorns together and placed the crown on Jesus’ head. Many more excruciating things took place.
Yes, Jesus suffered. Many of us try to skip over things that are messy, but we can’t. Jesus’ body was broken like He broke bread so that we can be made whole and satisfied.
Wherever you are at today in believing you are loved, you are. You could never deserve this deep love that pursues your heart, but God has always sought for you to receive it.
Stop believing the devil’s lies that speak you are forgotten, unloved, ugly, without purpose, and destined for darkness. Do not keep living in hurt.
Jesus was hurt so you can be healed. He wants you to be close to Him, and He is close to you. He would not die for you only to stay dead and never come close to you.
JESUS RAISED HIMSELF FROM THE DEAD, MAKES HIMSELF AVAILABLE TO US TODAY, AND HAS THE FINAL WORD OVER OUR LIVES. HE ISN’T DEAD, AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE EITHER.
True life starts whenever we say yes to living for Jesus and adventuring with Him daily. Being a Christian isn’t joining a club where people work hard to receive their membership. Being a Christian means knowing you are God’s child and living in a way that reflects that.
You can live with joy, purpose, freedom, hope, and life today, loved one!
I pray God has the final word over your life. I pray you believe how loved and treasured you are. I pray you choose to embrace the life Jesus sacrificed to give you. His love is not based off of how much you do for Him. Just accept His love and forgiveness today.
If you already are living for Jesus reading this, I challenge you to bask in the fact that Jesus is close to you today. I know, at times, we can easily feel like we work for God’s Presence to seem close and surround us. Lay your striving down and know how desired and pursued you are. As I have recently heard in a Bible study, God gives all of Himself to us. He doesn’t just ask us to give ourselves fully to Him. Our relationship works both ways.
Let’s strive to view the people around us through this extraordinary lens of love. The lost classmates or co-workers need to know that they can experience a better life that is full of life, purpose, joy, and love. As we desire to be Jesus’ “hands and feet”, let’s not forget what His hands and feet actually did. They were nailed to a cross for people who killed and forsook Him. We can’t just embrace the cute parts of living for Jesus. We must be willing to go to the dark places to share the Gospel of Light and Love with people.
You are placed where you are at because that is where God needs you most right now. Never forget that. Your smiles, words of encouragement, presence, and example is changing lives. Throw off the lies telling you that you are not making a difference. Know that you are being a part of changing lives for eternity.
As we continue to march through this week, I challenge us to be deepening our time in our Father’s Word. Satan tries to keep us from spending time with God because he knows our time with God limits him. Our time with God opens up our minds, hearts, and lives to a heavenly perspective. Our time with Jesus fuels us for spilling Him over on the lost people we encounter every day.
Keep fighting the good fight.
Keep loving the people around you.
Keep reading and meditating on God’s Word.
Know that Jesus is madly in love with you more than any significant other ever could be.
Walk with an extra step of holy confidence today.
I love you!