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February 27, 2013

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Wednesday of Lent 2                                                                   

27 February 2013


+Jesu Juva +


The Passion Of Our Lord Jesus Christ:  Who Has Redeemed Me a Lost and Condemned Person




A long time ago, you can read about it in 2 Samuel, one of Israel’s greatest kings went up the Mount of Olives.  Weeping uncontrollably.  Head covered.  Barefoot.  To find shelter and protection!  And to pray to the Lord!  So that the Lord’s will would be done! 


Why?  It was one of the darkest episodes in the king’s life and Israel’s history.  The king’s son, Absalom, had become the king’s cruelest enemy.  Absalom had greedily declared himself king and was leading a rebellion!  Civil war!  To take down his own father!  In addition, one of the king’s most trusted advisors, Ahithophel, Bathsheba’s grandfather, deserted and betrayed the king by supporting Absalom! 


King David’s suffering on the Mount of Olives was intense.  Double-crossed.  Victimized.  Exiled.  His life is in gravest danger.  And he suffers it willingly!  Can you imagine?


Eventually Absalom’s rebel forces were defeated. Ahithophel despaired.  He believed there could be no forgiveness for him from King David.  He knew he would be put on trial and be found guilty of treason.  So Ahithophel took matters into his own hands.  He committed suicide.  Took a rope and hung himself until he was graveyard dead.  King David returned to Jerusalem as king.


Now a descendent of David – Jesus — the promised Messianic King has crossed the Kidron Valley.  Look where He is!  On the Mount of Olives in the garden named Gethsemane!  


Why?  Because the one greater than King David willingly suffers one of the darkest and most terrible turn of events in the New Testament!  The King – King Jesus – is betrayed and handed over by one of His spiritual sons, Judas!  Yes, Judas, who had heard all of Jesus’ authoritative and powerful preaching!  Who saw with his own eyes the magnificent miracles that revealed the red dawn of the Messianic rule on the earth!  Whom King Jesus Himself put into the holy office of apostle!  Who preached the good news of King Jesus’ kingdom and confirmed such preaching with the divine authority to drive out demons and heal the sick! 


The devil uses Judas’ weakness and greed and turns the apostle against the King!  Greed – the root of all evil — (1 Timothy 6)!  And what evil is perpetrated against King Jesus!  Rebellion!  Apostasy!  To dethrone His spiritual father – the King – Jesus!  With the sign of a kiss!  With a detachment of military might! Lanterns!  Torches! Bows!  Arrows!  Cold steel!  Javelins!  Swords!  Daggers!  And for more insurance all the spiritual power Judas could muster!  The most high and right chief priests and Pharisees armed in all their glorious vestments, holier than thou extravagant etiquette, and codicils of man-made canon law!                       


So we find King Jesus.  He crosses the Kidron Valley to go up the Mount of Olives.  In Gethsemane’s garden!  Under attack! The other apostles are no help!  Their bragging about putting their lives on the line for Jesus quickly turns to sleeping, swordplay, and desertion. 


His Highness’ suffering is radically intense!  Most profound! Yes, He experiences the daring and craven attack of Satan through an apostle.  This truly is sad.  However, there is another matter on His mind.  It shakes Him to the core!  The mental anguish is acute.  Agonizing!  Excruciating!  His heart is heavy!  His body shakes and shivers!  So much so that sweat seeps like great drops of blood from His body!  


What is the matter?  What’s wrong King Jesus?  What is it that causes you to tremble and shudder?  Why are you so numb?  Why are you in such distress?  Why do your arms lay limp?  Why the angel from heaven sent to give you strength?


Listen:  “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.”     


He has been given the news that He’s terminal!  There’s going to be an end!  It comes quickly!   The next day!  On Friday when He is given to drink from the Father’s chalice!  The cup of God’s complete and total wrath against every sin and all sinners!  Jesus will be given to guzzle it!


Yes, Jesus will bear the burden of God’s wrath!  He will be treated as the lost and condemned sinner as He bears in His Body the sin of the entire world.  Your sin!  My sin!  He will receive what we sinners deserve:  death and damnation! 


Indeed, He will suffer the agony of hell because of your sin and all humanity’s!  On Friday all the vicious energy from the gates of hell, death and the devil will be unleashed against King Jesus!  The great day of the Lord against all rebellion and unbelief will come upon Jesus as He carries all sin on the cross! 


The cup Jesus will be given to drink is that His Father will treat Jesus as the greatest of all sinners!  The worst of all sinners!  Seriously!  Because He bears all sin!  Good Friday!  “God made him [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin,” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  And He will be punished accordingly!  The Father’s voice is furious!  “With all the world’s sin on you Jesus I allow all my wrath and punishment to be pronounced on you!  All my fury!  All my ire and rage!  On You!  Cursed are you Jesus!”      


Is this really the divine plan?  Can this possible be?  And so Jesus prays repeatedly.  “Father, is there another way?  Can this cup pass me by?  Will you remove it?  Do I really have to drink it?  But not my will be done.  Your will be done Father!”   


Perhaps all this offends you.  What kind of Messiah is this?  What kind of King is this Jesus?  Who won’t fight back?  Who just willingly allows it all to happen?  In addition, this all sounds rather immoral!  Maybe you’re ready to call the authorities yourself.  The charge?   Spiritual child abuse!  How dare the Father do this to His one and only Son! 


Be careful!  Would you keep your sin off of King Jesus?  Insist on ripping all your sin off of Him?  Would you divorce Jesus from all your transgressions?  Spare Him from being treated as Maximum Sinner on the cross?  Release Him from God’s wrath and the curse of hell?  As if you have a better plan?  As if you can impose your will upon God?  And if you can’t then you’ll just run away too and have nothing to do with this pitiful and wretched King?  


All this is the Father’s will!  In order to redeem lost and condemned persons!  You!  Me!  The world! 


Here’s what is at stake!  If Jesus doesn’t die and get damned with all your sin, then you would die and be damned in them.  You would have to bear the Father’s wrath and curse all by yourself!  Hell would be your destination. 


However, that is not the case!  What Jesus endured He endured for your sake!  For your salvation!  All your sin is forgiven.  All your punishment has been born by King Jesus in your place! 


Behold!  One greater than King David!  He moves from the Mount of Olives’ Gethsemane to Mount Calvary!  Willingly does His Father’s will!  Reigning as King as He drinks the entire cup of God’s wrath as He is loaded with your sin!  To redeem you a lost and condemned person!  With His holy precious blood and His innocent suffering and death so that you bask in God’s eternal favor and that you have Christ’s own victory over the devil, death, and hell!


In the Name of Jesus. 

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