Oh, What a Savior!

On Maundy Thursday afternoon I sat for a time in the sanctuary at Faith Discovery Church, a room that is a sacred place for me, resting in the Presence of God, waiting in prayer, and meditating on Jesus’ journey to the Cross.  The cross that decorates the wall is beautiful polished wood, draped in purple, accented with lights not at all like Calvary’s cross. 

In my imagination I let the cross transform itself into a bloody rough hewn Roman instrument of tortuous execution. A Man hung there, naked, bleeding, beaten to a pulp, groaning, crying out “My God, why have you forsaken Me?” 

Are you horrified? Does that disturb your sensibilities, a scene you would rather forget?  I understand. We tend to clean up history, don’t we? We smooth away the rough edges, attempt to explain the evil, and ignore the horrors. It’s the way we cope with a world where the wonderful and beautiful can quickly turn into the awful and ugly.   As much as we might wish to sanitize our human experience, the inescapable fact is that we are capable of unspeakable cruelty and evil. The stark assessment of God is this – “For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (Romans 3:23, NLT)  

So what hope is there for us, for the world?  That is exactly what we remember today.  Our hope? The Cross of Christ!  We will never appreciate the scandalous love of God for us, the amazing grace that is freely given to us, apart from seeing sin for what it is, joining that man who came to Jesus humbly and cried, “ Be merciful to me, a sinner.”  We need not wallow in guilt or shame, however.

The complete message is one of reconciliation and restoration, a renewal not accomplished by discipline or denial, but by transforming love. “You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14, NLT)

Come with me to the Cross today. Once a sinner, I am now a saint, because of the One who willingly hung there to bridge the gap between Heaven and Earth, to restore the broken relationship between the Father and me.  And, you can be made whole, too.

The word from the Word for this Good Friday comes from the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah.  They are ugly, yet beautiful, describing our Savior.  May you see God’s love in them. 
He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God for his own sins! But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the guilt and sins of us all.” (Isaiah 53:3-6, NLT)

But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and fill him with grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have a multitude of children, many heirs. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s plan will prosper in his hands.” (Isaiah 53:10, NLT)

(Video of this blog at this link)

(You are invited to a service of worship at 7 PM at Faith Discovery Church, a quiet reflection on the Cross)

Hallelujah What A Savior (Gethsemane)

Man of sorrows what a name
For the Son of God who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim
Hallelujah what a Savior

Bearing shame and scoffing rude
In my place condemned He stood
Sealed my pardon with His blood
Hallelujah what a Savior

Guilty vile and helpless we
Spotless Lamb of God was He
Full atonement can it be
Hallelujah what a Savior

Lifted up was He to die
It is finished was His cry
Now in heaven exalted high
Hallelujah what a Savior

When He comes our glorious King
All His ransomed home to bring
Then anew this song we’ll sing
Hallelujah what a Savior

Philip Paul Bliss

© Words: Public Domain

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