Growing In Godliness Blog

Growing In Godliness Blog

Crucifixion

Be Like Christ

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Be Like Christ

By Randy Case, Jr.

The life of Christ is almost incomprehensible to the mere human. Leaving Heaven, a place where we strive to go, Jesus came to earth to fulfill God's plan. He took the form of a servant and fully obeyed the Father, humbly being put to death (Philippians 2:3-8).

We must follow Christ, imitating God and walking in love (Ephesians 5:1-2). We should WANT to fully comply with this command, after all it was Christ who 'gave Himself for us' (Ephesians 5:1).  He willingly endured the pain of the cross for us to be reconciled to God upon our obedience to His plan.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10) and in doing so became the greatest servant...to God and to others. This was exemplified during His life even with the words He spoke while on the cross. A servant's mentality is one of seeking out the needs of others and doing what he can do to meet those needs.

Scripture records seven statements of Jesus on the cross. Looking at the order of these, we gain further insight about His character. The first statement is in Luke 23:34, where Jesus asks God to forgive those who persecuted Him. As He hung on the cross, Jesus was focused on others, showing a love and concern for them. The second statement is in Luke 23:43, where Jesus told the thief that he would be with Him in paradise that very day. Again, a love and concern for this person. The third statement is in John 19:26-27, where Jesus addresses His mother. He made provisions for her to be taken care of by John. Jesus wasn't so preoccupied with His own suffering and death that He neglected the needs of His mother. In the fifth statement, Jesus said 'I am thirsty' (John 19:28). The humanity of Jesus is evident here and throughout the New Testament, having traits that we have (hunger, fatigue, sorrow, etc). Now, He makes a personal request.

In looking at these words, we gain insight into Jesus' priorities. Serving God and being fully obedient to His word took precedence in His life. God must be our main priority (Matthew 6:33), not family, friends or the world. Second, He was concerned with others. Even in the face of death and horrific pain, He expressed a concern for others. We should be concerned about our brethren, the sick, the shut in and those who are struggling spiritually and do what we can to help.

Being a servant is a great honor. It involves humility, obedience, joy and loyalty. In a me-first society, we should learn that we come last. Matthew 20:16 tells us that the first will be last and the last will be first. It's not all about us. A man's pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain him honor (Proverbs 29:23).

Self is the root of many problems. Selflessness is a characteristic that Christians must develop and maintain if we are to be pleasing to God. Jesus was the greatest example of a servant, lowly and humble, giving to others all that He could.

Proclaiming the Lord’s Death

Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Proclaiming the Lord’s Death
 
By Mark McCrary
 
What is the single most important event in human history? The discovery of fire? Creation of the wheel? The internet? Facebook? Texting? Twittering?
 
For the child of God, what should be the most important event is the death of Jesus Christ for our sins. That moment where He gave Himself so that we might have salvation.
 
The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:26, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” Christians gather on the first day of the week to remember what Jesus did. Paul said we proclaim what He did.
 
In many ways, it is a sad proclamation. In Romans 5:6, Paul also wrote, “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Jesus gave His life because you and I chose to sin. Jesus’ blood was shed because we were selfish and willful. He paid the price so we do not have to. If we were to be right with God, there was no other way. That ought to cause profound sorrow in our hearts.
 
But, it is an equally joyous proclamation. Christ willingly—and, the Hebrew writer adds, gladly (Hebrews 12:1-3)—gave Himself for us. God so loved the world that He gave His Son. And, Jesus so loved the Father and us that He went. Because of what Jesus did we may have salvation, though we are not worthy. Thanks be to God!
 
That’s why the Lord's Supper on the first day of the week is so important. It is a time when we remember, we give thanks and we proclaim. We do this every Lord’s Day (Acts 20:7) because it is a shared meal with Christians, and we desire to gather each Lord's Day to worship God and encourage one another. We do it each Lord's Day because we must always must remind ourselves of this foundational truth: while we were enemies, Christ died for us.
 
So, this week, when you take the Lord’s Supper, proclaim! Proclaim your sorrow that you caused His death. Proclaim your joy that His death brings your salvation. Proclaim it to your brothers and sisters. And through the week, let’s proclaim it to the world through godly behavior and reverential honor for God.

The Planned Death of Jesus

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Planned Death of Jesus

By Tom Rose

One of the ways in which pseudo-scholars, critics, and skeptics attack our Lord is by denying that His sufferings were planned and purposeful.  His death, they insist, resulted from a miscalculation; it was a noble attempt to bring goodness into the world, but ended in an unplanned disaster.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  The whole trajectory of His life was prophesied 700 years before and included every aspect of His career as the Messiah, Servant of Jehovah in the book of Isaiah.  Indeed, He came into the world “not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent me” (Jn 6:38)…and the Father’s will was for Him to die.  Jesus was not a well-intentioned victim of a plan that surprised Him when it went horribly wrong.  No, He knew exactly how His life would end, down to the minutest detail, and had know it since before the foundation of the world when the plan of salvation was formed.

Luke 18:31-34 is the third and most complete of Christ’s specific predictions concerning His death as recorded by Luke— the first is found in Lk 9:21-22; and the second in Lk 9:44.  Jesus was on His final journey to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.  So that there would be no misunderstanding, He takes the twelve aside to remind them, with specific details, what was about to happen to Him was God’s plan. Yet, despite Jesus’ clear teaching, the disciples failed to perceive the meaning of what He had taught them.  The threefold repetition in v. 34 says, 1) they understood none of these things, 2) this saying was hidden from them; and 3) they did not know the things that were spoken.

But there was a perfectly good reason that the disciples failed to grasp the Lord’s teaching about His suffering and death; it failed to fit their messianic theology.  They expected the Messiah to be a king, who would defeat Israel’s enemies and establish His kingdom.  (Recall Bro. Pope’s reference to Acts 1:6 this morning.) They were looking for a coronation, not a crucifixion; for a messiah who killed His enemies, not one who was killed by His own people, and (even more unthinkable) willing to forgive His enemies as they did so.  The idea of a crucified Messiah was an absurdity to them; it was so ridiculous that they could not even comprehend it.  “The word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,” wrote Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:18.  Thus, “Christ crucified” was “to Jews a stumbling block” (v. 23) a massive barrier that they could not get past.

After His resurrection Christ reaffirmed the veracity of the O.T. teachings and gently rebuked two of his disciples, on the road to Emmaus, for their failure to understand it (Luke 24:23-25).

Eventually, His disciples came to understand it, to believe it, and to preach it…beginning in the first century and continuing down to the present time. 

Never allow anyone to discount or minimize the importance of the death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ, for as the hymn says, “Without Him, how lost I would be.”

 
 

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