Monday, April 6, 2020

Let Us Exceeding Rejoice

The word freedom comes with a variety of definitions, such as; the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint; absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government; the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved. Out of these definitions, "the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved," seems to best sum up what Jesus accomplished for humanity. When looking through the scriptures we find that God began the process of redeeming man as soon as man fell, promising that a Redeemer should come who would break the dominion of Satan and restore to man his lost dominion and standing. Some of the most compelling passages of scripture concerning this monumental event were foretold by the prophets, especially the prophet Isaiah.

In Isaiah 7:14, we have a declarative statement of the incarnation, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel." Notice how this would come about, "The Lord Himself" emphasizing God's might and power shall give a sign or miraculous work and wonder for our benefit. What would this miraculous work be? "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son." She is to be a daughter of the House of David, (remembering that Christ would be of the House of David and that Joseph was not Jesus' father, God was) and she shall conceive and bear a Son and His name shall be called "Immanuel," that is, God with us. Hallelujah!

As we proceed forward, look at Isaiah 9:6, "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, (inspiring delight, pleasure, or admiration; extremely good; marvelous) Counselor, (the great attorney of God's family)  Mighty God, (all powerful) Everlasting Father, (having no beginning or end) Prince of Peace" (complete freedom from disturbance; complete quiet and tranquility). Yet, in all these glorious names, He would humbly come as the sin substitute for all humanity.

Turning to the four gospels, it is there we see Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane pouring Himself out in prayer as He was about to face the most horrific event that he would ever face. We see Him arrested, taken to the High Priest Caiaphas; insulted and struck; He is taken before Pilate, then Herod; He was mocked; see Him scourged, His back laid open, blood flowing, His flesh torn as the cruel blows fall mercilessly upon His bared back by the awful Roman lictor. His own clothes replaced with the mock garment of kingly authority; a mock crown of thorns pressed deep upon His brow; more mocking comes and His own clothes are placed roughly about Him, forced to carry the patibulum (a wooden beam weighting about 100 pounds) in which He would be nailed to. Heading to Golgotha, He staggering beneath the weight of the patibulum and fal1s to the ground. Rising from the ground, He again heads ever closer to Golgotha.

Weakened by the loss of blood from the merciless beating, He staggers blindly up the mountain side, surrounded by soldiers who encircle Him. He and the patibulum which He carried are laid roughly down upon the stauros (a wooden beam in which the patibulum was attached to form a cross). Next,  Roman soldiers with cruel hate drive the spikes into His hands; then He is lifted up naked, and the Cross is dropped into a hole to support it. Jesus the Nazarene is crucified! We watch the mob as it surges backward and forward about the Cross. We hear the chief priest's hurling their bitter taunts in the face of the suffering Son of God. We hear the mob in their bitter denunciation, led on by their priesthood. Such a horrific sight. It was not a sight for angels, or for men, but for demons only, and yet the worse was yet to come for the suffering Substitute.

In see this unfold, we now have a better understanding of the prophecy spoken by Isaiah, "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:4) In the Four Gospels we see Him only stricken of man, but Isaiah sees into the spiritual realm. He sees the Redeemer as He hangs there,"stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted." God is dealing not with Jesus' body, but with His spirit. Isaiah goes on, "But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:5-6) Here we see God taking our sin and laying every bit of it upon the spirit of the innocent Lamb of God, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us..." (2 Corinthians 5:21) 

Jesus, who is God the Word who became flesh (John 1:1, 14) is now man's sin Substitute. He has taken man's place. The whole human race is now represented in Him, as He hangs there under judgment on the accursed tree becoming a curse with every curse (Galatians 3:13). We also see that He becomes sick, with all of humanities sicknesses, "Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief and made Him sick..." (Isaiah 53:10 AMP) God takes your sin and mine, as well as every sickness and every curse and places it upon Jesus, into His very being. Jesus, nailed to the cross, suspended between heaven and earth becoming the outcast of heaven and earth. From the cross the Son of God cries out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me." (Matthew 27:46) Finally, the time had come when "Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last." (Mark 15:37) As mentioned before, when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane pouring Himself out in prayer as He was about to face the most horrific event that he would ever face, it was finally here.

Not only was it the Father's plan for His sinless Son to die on the cross, that His blood be shed for all humanity, but he was to go to hell itself to pay the full penalty of man's sin. God in His justice could not have acquitted humanity so that mankind could stand in His presence until every charge against him had been wiped off the books. (Isaiah 43:25) Only then could man stand before God as clean and as free as though he had never sinned. God could not pardon man until an adequate sacrifice had been made. Jesus tells us, "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matthew 12:40) Peter quotes David the king, "For You will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption." (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:27)  The story unfolds.

Peter tells us, "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit." (1 Peter 3:18) Notice, Jesus was made alive in spirit. He would not have been made alive in spirit had not He died in spirit. As it was with Adam, so it was with Jesus. Jesus died in spirit on the cross, before He died in the flesh. Peter declares that Jesus not only died in the flesh, physically, but that He also died in spirit, spiritually, and therefore His resurrection was a double resurrection. He was made alive, first in spirit, and then in the flesh, His spirit being raised from the dead and re-united with His body. The Apostle Paul tells us, "He put off from Himself the principalities and the powers, and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them." (Colossians 2:15) Here is a picture of Christ in hell, with the whole host of demons attempting to keep Him there, but when the penalty of our sin had been paid in full, when justice was satisfied, Satan had no power to hold Him.

Paul tells us, "Jesus was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification." (Romans 4:25) The very moment the sin problem was settled, the moment Jesus
Christ was legally justified, was made alive in spirit once more, He cast off the hosts of demons, and became the Master of hell by taking from Satan the keys of death and hell. (Revelation 1:8) Jesus died as our sacrificial Lamb, but He rose as Lord, as Master of death, of hell and of the grave. The matchless, mighty Son of God had gone into the strong mans house, bound him and took his spoils. (Matthew 12:29) Jesus has taken from Satan all his authority, his dominion and now offers it to fallen man through His matchless name and grace. What does this mean to humanity?

It means that every person who repents (express a sincere regret or remorse about their sin), confess with the mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and takes Him as their Savior, stands legally acquitted in the presence of God, free and clear of all charges against them. It means that God is vindicated, He has taken advantage of no one. He can now save humanity by His grace through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8), but also judge every person for rejecting His way to freedom. It means that Satan is defeated, and man can be free from sin, sickness, disease, poverty, death and all the works of the devil. It means that man is legally justified, declared righteous and is an heir of God and joint heir with Christ. (Romans 3:21 through Romans 8:39). It means that man, through faith in Christ receive the promise of eternal life. (1 John 2:25) It means that man can become a child of God and have all the privileges as sons and daughters. (John 1:12-13) It means that heaven is legally the home of God's children.(John 14:1-4)

Let us look beyond "Resurrection Sunday" and live in the abundant and the triumphant life that Jesus has given to us. "...I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) "Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ..." (2 Corinthians 2:14) Remember, we are no longer imprisoned or enslaved by the god of this world. (2 Corinthians 4:4) So, let us never forget what Jesus has done for us, "And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail" (exceeding rejoice) (Matthew 28:9) and every day, exceeding rejoice in our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. Have a wonderful Resurrection Day. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always...

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