An Enduring Love

It was revealed through Isaiah that God would send a savior to save us from eternal darkness.  It would be our sin that would keep us in darkness, but it would take one last sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sins of the past and in the ages to come.   It is recorded in John 1:29 NIV that John the Baptist proclaimed who Jesus was:

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

For many years, the requirement of the Israelites for atonement of sin was to sacrifice of a perfect lamb without blemish; it was what God taught them through Moses.  The Israelites had been in captivity in Egypt for 400 years, and many of their ways had become Egyptian, such as idol worship.  Once God freed the Israelites from Pharaoh —the Egyptian king — they needed to be taken through a cleansing process.  This would mean that it would be necessary for God to teach the Israelites in a new way that would help them to put their old ways behind them.  This new way would teach the Israelites a hands-on method.  It was designed to instill the need for purity and give insight into a new covenant that God would eventually make with them.  It was Jesus’ death and resurrection that sanctioned a new covenant as He became the last sacrifice.    Through this, salvation would be available to all through a very whole-hearted act of devotion that didn’t require a process of legalistic rituals.  Romans 10:9-10 NIV tells us:

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. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Shortly before Jesus was betrayed into the hands of the Pharisees, he prayed this prayer:

 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.  I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

—John 17:6-19 NIV

What beautiful words that Jesus said in his prayer to God!  Jesus knew what he was doing and what was going to happen to him, but he did not avoid arrest.  He stood his ground in the purpose that God had chosen for him.  If he had not, you and I would live forever in an eternal suffering.

So, this week, I want to share with you Isaiah 53:2-6 NIV.  It is a prophecy, or foresight, given by God through the prophet Isaiah.  Here are the words:

  He grew up before him like a tender shoot,

    and like a root out of dry ground.

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,

    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by mankind,

    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.

Like one from whom people hide their faces

    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain

    and bore our suffering,

yet we considered him punished by God,

    stricken by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,

    he was crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was on him,

    and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

    each of us has turned to our own way;

and the Lord has laid on him

    the iniquity of us all.

So this sums it all up.  Jesus endured so much suffering and paid our penalty—our ransom— so that we may be free from the hand of Satan.  He was the perfect lamb that would forever pay that ransom.  Before Jesus, the perfect lambs would have to be sacrificed each and every day.  Because of Jesus, there are no more sacrifices for our sins, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us, and this freedom is available to all, Jew and Gentile.  We just have to choose to follow Jesus.  I have never known anyone who has regretted their decision to follow Jesus.  It really is freedom if you seek him with all of your heart.  It is my prayer that you take out some time this week to seek God for your life and find true freedom in Christ.  Also, take some time to show up at a church and celebrate that wonderful gift from God—Jesus Christ.

Note: If you haven’t yet, go back to read the rest of the Easter series and share the posts with friends.  Jesus is so special, and he truly came to die for the sins of the entire world.

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