The Lord Jesus Christ teaches us how powerful love can be. We have all heard of the cases where a child lifts up the back of an automobile to rescue his father who has knocked the car of its jack. This kind of power is supernatural; it is not something of which man is normally capable. Another amazing display of love is the power it can bring out in us when it comes to laying down our lives for those we love. That love drove my son to face a fierce enemy, both physical and spiritual. Jesus said:
â€œGreater love has no one than this, than to lay down oneâ€™s life for his friends.â€ (John 15:13)
In understanding Christâ€™s power in our lives, we must remember from Scripture that Jesus not only had power over His own life, but also nature. Recall the story Jesus in the boat with His disciples and His sleeping in the midst of a raging storm:
â€œNow it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, â€˜Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.â€™ And they launched out. But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, â€˜Master, Master, we are perishing!â€™ Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. But He said to them, â€˜Where is your faith?â€™ And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, â€˜Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!â€™â€ (Luke 8:22-25)
Who can this be, indeed! It is the Creator of the Universe Incarnate; the Man Jesus who has power over nature. Do we need to fear the ravages of nature if we belong to Christ? Well, living in hurricane alley I am not advocating trying to ride out a Category 3 storm just because you are Christian. But what I am suggesting is that in the midst of any storm, be it physical or spiritual, we must remember that our Jesus is King over all the universe and our lives are in His hands. Nothing catches our Lord by surprise.
And as I said earlier, not only are our lives in Jesusâ€™ hands, but so does He have power over His own life. He did so while He walked this earth:
â€œTherefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.â€ (John 10:17-18)
That is an astounding statement and had to just stun His Disciples. Jesus is claiming power over His life, to kill it and to raise it again. Letâ€™s not miss the reasons for this that bookend this statement. Jesus says the Heavenly Father loves Him because of this power. Why? Because God the Father had commanded God the Son to come rescue is lost Sheep (see all of John 10). This was the reason for Jesus coming to earth. As the line from Steven Curtis Chapmanâ€™s song â€œHeaven in the Real Worldâ€ proclaims, â€œGod heard creation calling and He sent heaven to earth.â€
Commenting on John 10, our old friend Matthew Henry explains the deep-seated reason for all of this:
â€œSee here the grace of Christ; since none could demand His life of Him, He laid it down for our redemption. He offered Himself to be the Savior; Lo, I come. And the necessity of our case calling for it, He offered Himself for the Sacrifice. He was both the offeror and the offering, so that His laying down His life was His offering up Himself. From hence it is plain, that He died in the place and stead of men; to obtain their being set free from the punishment of sin, to obtain the pardon for their sin; and that His death should obtain that pardon. Our Lord laid not His life down for His doctrine, but for His sheep.â€
And why did Jesus do this? So many will say because He loves us so much. Thatâ€™s true, but that was not His primary reason for using His power to overcome sin through His sacrificial death. It was for His Fatherâ€™s glory:
â€œJesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: â€˜Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.â€™â€ (John 17:1-5)
Imagine sacrificing for a loved one, scrimping and saving, to buy them a precious gift and they rejecting it. Would not your heart be broken? Would not your sacrifice seem all for not? Does not the Lord Jesus feel the same way when you reject His free gift of salvation? You cannot earn your way in heaven so stop trying. It is an impossibility!
â€œFor by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.â€ (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Dear friend, your sinful nature has put you in a bad spot; I know I was once there. The necessity of your case before a Holy Judge requires a penalty you cannot afford. But the good news is you donâ€™t have to pay it. Itâ€™s been paid in full. How silly would it be for a prisoner to refuse a pardon because he didnâ€™t want to be beholden to the pardoner? That would be beyond foolish.
So then donâ€™t you play the fool. See your obvious need for the Lord Jesus Christ. See your sin-soaked soul stained with the ravages of your decisions youâ€™ve made in this life. Too often I hear people say that I am a sinner because I sin. Thatâ€™s nonsense and completely backwards. The truth is, you sin because you are a sinner. That small child who tells its first lie or steals its first cookie did not become a sinner because of that sin. That little child sinned because he or she is a sinner! It is in our nature to sin.
That is why Jesus said you must be born again to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven (see John 3). Your sins have condemned you to eternal death, but our Jesus has life-giving power to overcome all death. Weâ€™ll look at that closer on Monday.
Beloved, I pray you have a blessed weekend and please remember to go to church on Sunday. I pray some of you do to tell the pastor that you got saved and want to follow in obedience to Christ in believerâ€™s baptism.
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Copyright Â© 2012 David Jeffers