Just a couple of months ago we celebrated the birth of the Savior Jesus, and now, in this season of Lent He is soon to be crucified for the reconciliation of God and humankind through His shed blood and death. We sang "What child is this who, laid to rest on Mary's lap, is sleeping??" Throughout Epiphany we asked "WHO is this?", as Jesus declared His authority in Word and deed. And the carol of Christmas included, "Nails, spear shall pierce him through, The cross be borne for me, for you". OUCH!
Yes. The wood. The thorns. The nails. Christ's sacrifice has defined the very essence of mankind's faith for the past 2000 years. And now, this season we examine the cross, contemplate its purpose, and celebrate its significance. Our Lenten services (at Mount Calvary until Holy Week) will examine some objects present at the cross - the crown of thorns, the nails, His garment, a wine-soaked sponge, the soldiers spit - reflecting on several chapters of Max Lucado's "He Chose the Nails".
Max writes, "Because God doesn't do anything by happenstance, each part of the crucifixion is important." Of the soldiers' spit, the soldiers were not told to spit at Jesus, but the evil inside of them made them do it. "Jesus didn't wipe it off. No angel helped him," "Allow the spit of the soldiers to symbolize the filth in our hearts. And then observe what Jesus does with our filth. He carries it to the cross."
Do you give up something for Lent to be drawn into a stronger relationship with Him? Or do you simply give up something only to continue it after the season? How about simply readin the Bible, God's Word for an additional 15 minutes each day in addition to what you're already (I presume) doing? Can any of us give up sinning for the whole season? No way! So let's concentrate on one sinless day -- 24 hours-- that's not out of the question, is it? "The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law -- indeed it cannot" (Rom. 8:7). Can you live without sin for one day? Can a leopard change his spots?
I hope you will accept my challenge ... not to give up chocolate forever or smoking (please consider it), but 15 extra minutes each day in His Word. And, if you could curtail the frequency of sin, that wouild be a special blessing, and only with His help! Now that would be the disciple of Christ ... wanting to be more like Jesus!
"Shall we go on sinning that more grace might abound? By no means!" declares St. Paul. "How shall we who died to sin still live in it?" (Rom. 6:1-2) Onward, Christian Soldiers, marching as to war! The cross of Jesus goes on before us ... Let us ever follow Jesus, follow His example pure! We journey to Mount Calvary (ironic isn't it? the place of Jesus' crucifixion, and the church in which we worship this year!) ... supper at 6, and service at 7. (Our ladies are bringing the desserts. Our pastor, the message.)