Has anyone ever given you a gift, and once it became paramount to your routine and life, you wonder what on earth you ever did without it? That’s how I feel about learning new things. (Yep. That reads just as nerdy as it sounded it my head.) I’m Jesus’ girl, and let me just tell you first that in my life when the good news of Jesus becomes old news, I become bad news.
We know Bible stories. We’re church folk. If we were given a pop quiz, most of us would crush it. It’s one thing to know truth, but when truth is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, it’s transformative. To simply discover a new detail on my own in the Word is kind of like learning a new and interesting fact to a trivia question (for instance, TMI, Rachel), but to intellectually interact with truth in the presence of God changes me. I’ve learned that knowledge alone isn’t power, but knowledge paired with understanding in faith in Jesus’ complete work through the cross heals the sick, tames murderous storms, and makes demons beg for mercy. I find myself asking God often and desperately for more of this in my life.
I enthusiastically told a group of about 15 women, “I was changed by the gospel this week in terms of love.” Okay, what I really told them was, “I feel like I’m really starting to understand the gospel of love.” I think they were concerned that their leader was just now being saved. In a sense, they were right!
His love and interest in the world is the only thing that made Christ enduring the cross and conquering death necessary. It was never a struggle for power. Have you ever thought about that? Jesus did not gain power when He resurrected from dead and blew the boulder off his tomb. To say that He gained power is to say that at some point He lost it.
You knew that, right? So what?
Strip away what you know in your head. Let redundancy be far from you, from me. Really think about it.
We see in tangible historical evidence that His arrival and ascension were spoken about thousands of years beforehand. Creation and skies aligned perfectly to accomplish its role leading up to His birth and lead the three men to His tiny, humble frame. It’s in the way His sweet mama rode on a donkey to usher Him into the world, and it was the same foretold way He’d be ushered out. Humbly. Decided. Planned.
When demons came in contact with Jesus in His ministry, before Calvary was even on the human scope of events, the devil’s workers never said, “You can’t do anything about us yet.” Oh, it was the absolute opposite. Even as fully man, Jesus was fully God and fully authoritative. His Godness was not subject to His humanity making Him come up short. Ever. His humanity was submitted to and relying upon the fullness of His identity in the Godhead, through communion in the Spirit, and the darkness never won against Him. Not once. Not ever.
(If you’d like to read about where demons identified Jesus as Son of God, Mark 3:11, where a group of many demons who called themselves Legion “begged Jesus” for mercy, see Mark 5. If spiritual warfare weirds you out. When you’re done reading this, go straight to the Bible and look at those devils’ responses to our Lord and remember the rest of these words. If Jesus is your personal Savior and Lord of your life, take heart. You’re not a slave. Light and darkness cannot live in the same house, and whom the Son sets free is free indeed. Armor up, sister. Ephesians 6.)
The old testament shows us strategically and powerfully placed foretellers of the coming King who would come in truth, establish His kingdom in mercy and justice, pardon and avenge, and right all that is wrong and unspeakably broken. It was planned. It wasn’t a last resort.
Every line of prophecy fulfilled in Christ shows the supremacy of God. In every scripture we look back to in this season to gain insight to the attitude and advocacy of His heart, the mindset of unity and practical justice, therein lies the reality that none of it was a surprise to him. (Hebrews 10:7-10)
(When it comes to current events, personal struggles, or past experiences, do not mistake God’s lack of surprise with lack of grief and co-suffering. See Hebrews 4:14-16 and Romans 8:24-30.)
If Jesus had all the authority, and creation in every dimension (seen and unseen) was already subject to Him, why was the cross necessary?
If you’ve survived being a teenager (hello) or survived raising a toddler, you know that David wasn’t mincing words when we read, “I was shaped in iniquity and conceived in sin.” (Psalm 51:5) Adam and Eve chose to believe and act on the lie they were told about God. The fracture that came as a result created an ever-growing chasm between humanity and the fullness of God. (Read: the fullness of God, but we could not be removed from His goodness.)
In sin, we are no longer cohabitants in His kingdom, but exiles from it. Are we aimlessly wandering? Nope. We are slaves. The reality is, there are two kingdoms in this world, and we’re kings and queens of neither. There is the kingdom of light, and the kingdom of darkness. The classic good versus evil, and there is no shade of gray. We’re in the middle of a war between them. Jesus came so that “His kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We have a place in that, and it’s critical to understand.
The old testament law required sacrificed. I won’t go to far into that, because it would just take too long. In short, according to the Jewish law, sins required sacrifices of pure animals. I can only imagine how many animals slaughtered for the atonement of immeasurable sins in heart and deed. Today, it tells us that there was literally nothing we could do in our own power or procedure to live life well or good enough to be acceptable before a pure and holy God.
Jesus was the Lamb of God. John the Baptist not only identified who He was, but what He came to do. “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” (John 1:29)
The Bible makes it clear that the death of Christ was necessary. “And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” (John 3:14)
Look at it this way. Jesus bought us from the slave market in the kingdom of darkness with his own life and brings us home. Jesus’ blood was sufficient to buy every slave out of the market. His purchase also means that slave would never be sold again. We all have been slave to sin, and if we allow Him to be our Master, then we need never be sold again, for He becomes our eternal Master. Source
If you’d have told me this ten years ago, I might have argued with you about the offensive language and told you that I had a good heart- and possibly bloodied your lip, furthering your point. But, sister, this is straight from Romans.
“When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6
The thing about Jesus buying us from slavery in sin is that His purchase means we are now slaves to freedom in righteousness, the culture of Heaven. When Christ bought us from the marketplace of the world, he not only gave us our freedom, he made us part of His family. Those who receive by faith the benefits of the sacrifice Christ has provided become children of God, part of His eternal family. (Source) See Romans 8:16-17
Because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:21) Do you get that? He’s not bringing us to a cloud to swap out our threads and kicks for a white robe and sandals; he’s also redeeming the earth to know the glorious liberty that we will receive. Creation restored. With the things I’ve endured and many of you have endured on this rocky and seemingly rotten hearth, it’s hard to not resent and even hate this place. But when I think of Christ also dying to restore it to its glorious state, it makes me pray for it and dream for it instead.
“One of the elders, however, spoke to me. ‘Don’t cry,’ he said. ‘Look! The lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has won the victory! He can open the scroll and its seven seals.’ Then I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, a lamb. It was standing there as though it had been slaughtered; it had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. The lamb came up and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was sitting on the throne.
They sing a new song, which goes like this:
‘You are worthy to take the scroll;
you are worthy to open its seals;
for you were slaughtered and with your own blood
you purchased a people for God,
from every tribe and tongue,
from every people and nation
10 and made them a kingdom and priests to our God
and they will reign on the earth.’”
I cannot tell you how many Easter Sundays have rolled by me, and I’ve been disappointed by my own lack of enthusiasm and emotion about the day’s significance. I’ve been remorseful and frustrated at the same time. I’d think, “I feel like this should be a bigger deal to me today.” The more that I live into the reality that it’s the biggest deal everyday, the bigger my heart celebrates and resonates in the victory of this day.
I will sing louder today. I will do my white girl shuffle a little bolder today in worship. I will tell a stranger the best news today, and they’ll be intrigued because the Spirit has anointed God’s kids to preach the Gospel of peace.
Jesus used His own life to see that I am free, and I am free indeed. I wish you could see the tears on my face. Sin has no hold on me. I, Liesel, a former chief of sinners, countless sins both seen and unseen, no longer identify with that name. You can call me Daughter instead, made in the image of God, being made into the likeness of Jesus. I’m no slave to a law of mercy in obedient love instead of the old law that I would and have blown a million times over than the giants of faith and failure we see in the Word. I’m committed to understanding the culture of our Home. I will do anything necessary to see that others understand this for themselves. We are a holy nation. A royal priesthood. Unified in Spirit by the ultimate and authoritative purchase of Jesus’ blood. Let’s live like we believe that there is no stopping this Kingdom or the King’s agenda. He has a plan. He is risen. We are free and loved beyond our wildest dreams.
Bask in the wildness of the love of our powerful Lord today.