I had to chuckle the other evening as I drove home. I came across a deer-crossing street sign and someone had put a red nose on the deer. I said, “Look, it’s Rudolph,” as I passed by the sign. Then I pondered over what some may say when they see the same sign. I know that the sign is the property of the local government, and so technically the nose could be seen as defacement of property. Legal actions could be taken against the person who chose to apply the nose to the sign. At the same time, I found it comical. Please do not get me wrong—I am not in any way saying it’s okay to deface or damage property. What I am trying to express is how I saw this and had a laugh at the cute, comical image.
Over the years, I have found myself on a roller coaster ride with grace. When I was younger, I was happy about grace. I was glad that God gave me grace. I wanted grace. I was stingy and wanted to keep all the grace I could handle. As I got older, I started to learn more about the Law. I started to find myself a bit proud. I started to think better of myself. I sat myself up high. I was smug. I felt somewhat superior to some others. This grew as I attended university and increased my knowledge of the Bible. It’s interesting how we can grow in our knowledge of the Word of God, and separate ourselves so much from grace, because we stand on knowledge. We hold tightly to Scripture, but so tightly that we miss the common thread of love. We like the feeling of being right, being justified, being a child of God. We miss the “all fall short” and the “love others” and “honor everyone.” We become a Pharisee and can be blind to it for a long time, even years later.
As the years pass by, I slowly find myself more broken. I find myself understanding grace more. I find myself needing grace more. I look back on the person I used to be and see how God has changed me. He has shown me that I was sometimes a stumbling block when I should have been a bridge. He has reminded me that the grace I receive, is the same grace that I should pour out to others. He opens my eyes to love simply and deeply—to not make life so difficult and draining. I have long ago realized that the greatest threat to my relationship with God is not Satan; it’s me. I am a long way from the follow-the-rules-down-to-the-last-letter kid I once was in school. I have learned to live, to love, to laugh. I have learned that a Rudolph nose, despite the defacement of property, is funny. I have decided to love anyway, to laugh often, to forgive freely. Life is short. We need a few more Rudolph noses and a lot more love. We desperately all need Jesus. Oh, how sweet the sound of His amazing grace!
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” – Ephesians 1:7 [ESV]
“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” – Acts 20:24 [ESV]
Good Friday 2017
At about 9am, Jesus was nailed to the Cross.
At noon, darkness fell across the whole land.
At 3pm, Jesus died.
During the six hours that our Savior hung on the Cross, He spoke His last words.
- “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” [Luke 23:34]
Fulfilled Isaiah 53:12“Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
J.C. Ryle “While the blood of the greatest sacrifice started to flow, the greatest of all high priests started to intercede.”
The tense of the word “said” in this passage indicates that the Lord repeated this appeal. Not only did He pray for forgiveness for His enemies, but He even argued on their behalf. Basically saying let me give you a reason why you should forgive them.
Hebrews 7:25– “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
Isaiah 1:18– “”Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.”
Ephesians 1:7– “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace”
- “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” [Luke 23:43]
When we suffer, we are consumed by ourselves and we forget everything else.
Jesus was focused on our forgiveness, our salvation.
He promises salvation to the one thief, who would that very day join Him in Paradise.
The thief only asked to be remembered. Our God provides in abundance. You won’t simply be remembered – you’re coming with Me!
Colossians 1:13-14– “For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.”
Romans 10:9– “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
- “Woman, behold, your son!” / “Behold, your mother!” [John 19:26-27]
Fulfilled Luke 2:35“and a sword will pierce even your own soul– to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
Mary found out what this truly meant.
John calls himself the disciple Jesus loves
He is the disciple who stays with Mary
He is the disciple who stays at the Cross
He is the disciple who is given responsibility for Mary
- “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” – “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” [Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34]
Fulfilled Isaiah 53:46 “But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.”
Quoted Psalm 22:1 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?”
God could not look upon His Son while He bore all sin, as He is holy. At this one moment, Jesus was without the Father.
Because He was alone on the Cross, you NEVER have to be alone.
- “I am thirsty.” [John 19:28]
Fulfilled Psalm 69:21They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.
Hell is a place of thirst (Luke 16). When Jesus died on the Cross for us, He entered the darkness of hell for us and He thirsted.
This is the only time He is focused on His own physical needs
He’s quenching His thirst by drinking the cup God placed before Him (John 18:11– this is the cup God gave Him to drink)
John 4:34– “Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”
By depleting Himself in death, Jesus would become a bountiful stream of living water
Isaiah 55:1 “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
John 4:14“But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
- “It is finished!” [John 19:30]
Servant – I have finished the work you gave me. The task assigned was completed the way the master wanted it to be done and when the master wanted it completed.
Artist – It is finished means the picture is complete
Galatians 4:4-5– “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeemthose who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
Merchant – Debt is paid in full. The purchases made on layaway were paid. When the last payment is made, this was written on the receipt to note that the debt is fully paid.
Hebrews 10:12– “But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.”
Priest – It is perfect– if they examined the sacrificial animal and it was faultless and acceptable for the offering
1 Peter 1:19– “but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”
- “Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.” [Luke 23:46]
The final act of obedience
Prayer that Jewish mothers taught their children to say before bed
Quoted Psalm 31:5 “Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.”
The Father’s protection àJesus was no longer in the hands of the sinners. He died confidently because He was in the Father’s hands.
The divine plan was not brought to completion according to the human limits of the human body, but according to the Son’s awareness that His mission had come to an end.
He did what only He could do. It was a loving, self-sacrifice.
John 10:18 “No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”
- 4-5 – Predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ
- He knew before the foundation that we would be separated. (1 Peter 4:20)
- He predestined us for adoption.
- Everyone who believes through faith is a child of God. (Galatians 3:26, John 1:12)
- 11 – Obtained an inheritance
- This inheritance is ALREADY ours through Jesus Christ.
- 13 – Sealed with promise of inheritance
- The Holy Spirit is our guarantee
Adopted Children of God:
- Receive New Rights (Galatians 4:4-7)
- Identical legal rights as blood child
- All riches in Christ & citizenship in heaven
- God will care for us
- Adopted parent is granted full rights & responsibility of natural father
- Complete authority over child
- Legal role as caregiver
- Relationships will change
- Our relationship with God changes
- God the Father – not only judge, Loving Father
- God the Son – not only Lord, Savior and Brother
- God the Holy Spirit – not only calls & sanctifies but Spirit of adoption within us
- Our relationship with others changes
- Our relationship with God changes
1 John 3:1-2 – “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” [NIV]
Romans 8:14 – “All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons.” [HCSB]
Bible Study Questions:
- Verses 4-5 speak of predestination. The Bible says that before the foundation of the world, God knew that we would need Jesus Christ. What does this term predestination mean?
- Ephesians 1:10 says, “As a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” What is this fullness of time? What does this mean?
- In verse 11, the passage says we “obtained and inheritance.” How is this different from an inheritance we may receive from our earthly family?
- God has sealed us with a promise it says (v. 13). The Holy Spirit is our guarantee of an inheritance. But this guarantee is not like a normal promissory note that you hold until the time of the collection. What benefits to we have the Holy Spirit?