Why?

Cross nailedHe laid as still as he could.  Any movement reminded him of the flogging his back took.  The soldier placed the nail with the tip pressing his palm.  He saw the other soldier rear back with the hammer.  He turned his head.  Bam!  The nail drove through his flesh pinning him to the cross.  That nail represented the times I took something that wasn’t mine.

The same thing took place on the other side.  Bam!  That nail represented the sinful times I touched something I had no business touching.  Bam!  The nail in his feet represented the times I have gone somewhere I had no business being.  The thorny crown shoved down into his head represented the evil thoughts I failed to bring into captivity.  The beatings he suffered should have been mine.  The spit that landed on him, represented the disgrace that was meant for me.

Everything Jesus went through, the trial, lies, pain, agony, and torture was for me.  The 39 lashes that shredded his back open and bled was so I could be healed.  He chose to go through that for me.  He chose to go through all that for you.  Why?  Because He knew, He was the only who could.  Because He knows pure love, and how to show it.

He also knew how to defeat death, and on the third day, He proved it.

THANK YOU, JESUS.

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Looking Your Best for God

big-hatThere was an emphasis on wearing your “Sunday best” when I was growing up.  Every week at church most would be decked out in the nicest piece of wardrobe in their closet.  “You should look your best when going to church,” was often heard.  Believe it or not, in some churches, the hats worn on Easter are so large one cannot see the pastor when sitting behind such monstrosities.

Now there is certainly nothing wrong with looking nice when one attends a church service, but note that wearing your best is on the outside.  God probably appreciates the effort, but what is likely more important is someone coming into God’s house looking nice on the inside.  In other words, having a contrite heart, or a heart after God’s heart.  A heart that is concerned for others, and where they will spend eternity.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me.”  Psa. 51:10 (AMP)

Knowing this, perhaps here at the beginning of a new year, it is time to clean out your “spiritual” closet.  Get rid of all of the things that make you look good only on the outside.  Let God examine your heart, and guide you in where changes need to be made.

Copyright © 2017 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

The Final Curtain

Torn011The story of Jesus’ death is not a new story to most of us.  We’ve heard it so many times in so many ways.  Whether you first heard it at a church, or saw a version of it at the movies, or heard someone tell you the story through your television.  Perhaps you just heard it again this week as Christians, Disciples of Christ, celebrated Easter.  I’m not going to retell it here, but I would like to share the part of His story that means the most to me.

You see, at that moment, after all the beatings, the ridicule, the mocking’s, the crown, the nails, and His last breath had been drawn He died, and the veil that separated man from God in the temple was ripped from top to bottom.  In the book of Matthew chapter 27, verse 51 it says, “At that moment, the Temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom…” (MSG)

The veil, or the Temple curtain, was just no ordinary curtain that perhaps covers the windows of your house, but this curtain was at least forty-five feet tall, and four inches thick.  It was there because God cannot look at sin, or at those who have sinned.  Only the high priest, and only once a year, could go through a long list of rituals that would consider him clean could go around the curtain into the “Holy of Holies” into the presence of God, and offer a sacrifice to God for the forgiveness of sin.

I don’t know about you, but I would hate to walk around all year with unforgiven sin.  Knowing me the very day my sins were forgiven I would probably sin again, and say, “Oh man!  Now I have to wait another year?”  At that moment when the curtain was torn from top to bottom, by God, it now meant that Jesus, who was without sin, became my high priest, and through His death on the cross I now can enter the presence of God any moment I want to, or knowing me, need to.

That’s my favorite part of the story of Jesus’ death, but when the curtain ripped that wasn’t the end of Jesus’ story…three days later He made a curtain call.

 

It Isn’t Finished

jesus-crossempty-tomb-of-Jesus-ChristWhen I was a youth minister in Massachusetts the local ministers from various churches would gather for a pre-Easter service.  Seven ministers would get up one by one and share the last seven phrases that Jesus said from the cross.  I always wanted to be asked to share number 6, “It is finished”, but I was never asked to, so today I will.

Saying the words, “It is finished” can bring relief.  The pain, the distress, the task at hand, or the conflict is over.  No more of whatever was causing such discomfort.  Those words certainly said a lot for the one who spoke them that day, for he was going down a “dead end!”  But was “it” really finished?  Sure the work Jesus came here to earth to do was, but I believe our work was just beginning.

Jesus showed us how to live, pray, “be”, love, overcome, deal with evil, trust our heavenly father, face fear and even die.  When He said, “It is finished” He might as well gone on to say, “You are just beginning.  Now go and show others there is a better way to live.  Don’t just tell them, but show them the love of my Father as I have shown you.  Convince them that in believing in my death and resurrection there is so much hope it will last for eternity.”  For us, it isn’t finished, yet.