THIS SERIES: EASTER MEDITATIONS
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
[1 Corinthians 1:18]
It’s Good Friday. If you haven't already taken time to meditate on the vital importance of the Cross in your life, try and carve out some time this evening or tomorrow.
I was reminded of this story from the Old Testament:
(The Israelites) travelled from Mount Horeb along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses,
and said, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!"
Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, "We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us." So Moses prayed for the people.
The LORD said to Moses,
"Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live."
So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.
[Numbers 21 4-9]
According to Jesus, Moses’ bronze snake was a prophetic picture of the cross [John 3:14-15]. All the Hebrews had to do was look at the serpent-staff, and they were healed. No hard work, no straining for faith, just looking. The implication for us is that we also receive life—in its fullest sense—by turning our gaze on the cross.
The Cross has the power to transform our lives—let’s avail ourselves of all of its benefits.
STRUGGLING WITH FEELINGS OF SEPARATION FROM GOD?
I will never leave you nor forsake you.
This is God’s promise to us; yet sometimes we go through times when we feel He has completely withdrawn.
Jesus also had that experience on the Cross. He had intentionally chosen to experience the full horror of the human condition; He didn’t just bear our sin, he became Sin, and He suffered all the consequences. And in that moment He faced that human feeling of being forsaken by God, and cried out, quoting from Psalm 22, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!’
But Jesus’ faith didn’t waver, He knew the Father was always with Him, despite what He was feeling. And so, perhaps thinking of a later verse in Psalm 22, where it says, ‘For He has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; He has not hidden His face from him but has listened to his cry for help’, His next words were, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ [Matthew 27:46,50; Luke 23:46]
If you are struggling with feelings of separation from God, Jesus understands completely. Ask Him to give you the absolute assurance that He has never forsaken you even for a second—whatever you feel like.
And if you are feeling cut off from God because of specific sin; confess it and receive His promised forgiveness; you do not have to carry the burden a moment longer.
If the issue is a general feeling of guilt, the page ‘Missing the Mark’ will help.
THIS WEEK’S GRACE RHYTHM
NEXT WEEK: WALKING INTO REST: THE JOURNEY FROM JUDEA TO GALILEE
OVER TO YOU
[Photo credits: Christian Lue (cross); Norwood themes (connect) @ Unsplash, with thanks]
Da Kraplak (type writer);
Merakist (social media)
@ Unsplash, with thanks]
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