our Savior and Lord -- our Shepherd and King -- the flawless expression of God's perfect love!
Long ago, from
His heavenly kingdom, Jesus saw man's broken lives, bondage to sin, desperate needs, and
spiritual blindness. He longed to free us from bondage, open our eyes,
show us His way,
and enable us to come to Him. So He left His heavenly throne and entered
this fallen world as a poor and helpless infant.
us, Jesus had to surrender what humanity has always craved -- power, honor,
comforts and beauty. He chose to walk our humble
paths, share our struggles, and become our servant. He
suffered shame so that we might share His triumph.
the sick, the broken and the oppressed flocked to Him. Filled with compassion,
He healed them, fed them, taught them and encouraged them -- pouring out His life and strength
until His own body ached for rest and stillness.
strong and proud rejected Him, and His friends failed Him. Those who
expected a conquering King showed little interest in a simple carpenter born
in a stable. Even His close
friends misunderstood His words and questioned His identity. Multitudes
who heard His teaching and received His gifts ignored His call and refused to
follow. The Pharisees despised Him and planned His death. He was
betrayed and mocked, then scourged and
Jesus submitted to their
cruelty and willingly gave His life. Bleeding and dying -- tortured
by those He came to save -- He spoke a simple prayer for His tormentors,
"Father, forgive them,
for they do not know what they do."
Nothing surprised Him, for He knew well what He
came to do. His assignment was to carry our sins to
the cross, suffer the judgment we deserved -- thus, free us from the power of sin,
guilt and Satan.
Having endured the agony and finished His redemptive work, our amazing
Savior cried out, "Father, into Your hands I commit
My spirit." Then, as darkness
blanketed the earth, He gave His life for us. To His heart-broken followers, death
seemed to reign.
for long. Having carried our sins and conquered death, Jesus was raised up into the
heavenly places far above all rule, authority, power and dominion.
Everything in heaven and on earth would be subject to Him. And if we
truly know and
follow Him, nothing will separate us from Him:
"For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor
angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor
things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created
thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in
Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:35-39
overcoming life is not ours to use to satisfy our own will and pleasure. The
Bible compares it to a Fountain of Living Water
that flows into the hearts of those who share His purpose, will and
work -- those who are willing to "follow
in His steps."
1 Peter 2:21-23
to the words of Jesus, for He shows us the way of surrender and enables us to
follow in His steps:
"Most assuredly, I say to you, the
Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for
whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the
Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does." John 5:19-20
"I can of Myself do nothing.
As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My
own will but the will of the Father who sent Me."
would follow Jesus are called to serve and to suffer as He did -- always
according to our Father's will. When we walk with Him,
"looking unto Jesus," God fills our lives
-- earthen vessels set aside for His holy purpose -- to overflowing.
Then the life He pours into us may flow like a spring of water to His lost and
thirsty ones along the way.
Lord, how wonderful you are! I don't deserve your gracious gifts and
amazing love. Yet I pray that you would purify my heart, guide my feet,
and fill me to overflowing with your precious Holy Spirit. Enable me, by
your grace, to look "unto Jesus" until your beautiful life
transforms my soul. Cleanse and empty this earthen vessel of all that
would hinder the free flow of your living water into my heart
and out to your people. I love You, Jesus, my Savior and my
Isaiah 53; Matthew
28:18; Mark 16:19; Luke 1:31, 23:34;
John 6:64-65; 2
Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 1:20-23; Philippians 2:5-11,
4:14-16, 5:6-11 and 12:1-3.
What it means to be a Christian