He Did It For Me

As I sat this morning with the elements of communion one phrase kept coming to my heart, “You did it for me.” As I handled the bread, the symbol of His body, I thought about the stripes, the wounds on His back. His body was broken so my body could be whole. He did it for me.

As I looked into the cup that represents His shed blood, I thought about the  blood running from the wounds on His head from the crown of thorns. I thought about the blood pouring from the wounds on His back. I thought of the blood running from the wounds in His hands and His feet where He was pierced by the nails that held Him to the cross in my place. He did it for me.

He was made sick that I might be healed. He was made poor so that I might be rich. He was made sin that I might be made the righteousness of God in Christ. He died so that I might live. He was broken so that I might be made whole. The chastisement of my peace was upon Him so that I could have nothing missing and nothing broken in my life. He was separated from God and went to hell, so that I could be reconciled to God and go to heaven. He did it for me.

And He did it for you.

…the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as oft as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26, KJV)

For God so loved me, that He gave His only begotten Son… He did it for me. And He did it for you. Selah, take the time today to think about that.

Behold the Lamb

People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa… I never made a sacrifice. We ought not to talk of ‘sacrifice’ when we remember the great sacrifice which He made who left His Father’s throne on high to give Himself for us. ~ David Livingstone (speech, Cambridge University, Cambridge, England, December 4, 1857)

What a humbling statement. How many times have we considered the time, the energy, the money, that we have given in service to the Lord? Or hesitated in stepping out in His Name because of what it might cost us, particularly our reputation.

When a person tells me they just can’t forgive this time, I share with them the words that Jesus spoke as He hung dying on the cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” No forgiveness that we are asked to extend even begins to compare with the forgiveness we have been shown at the cost of the very life and blood of the Son of God. Or the forgiveness He demonstrated when He prayed for those who condemned Him to death as He suffered and died on the cross.

This quote by Livingstone reminds me once again about how little we are being asked to give in light of what He gave. As Father He gave His Son to die for our sins. And as the Son, He left His place in heaven, came to earth as a man. He was reviled, insulted and rejected, beaten and crucified. He gave His life. He gave His blood… for you and for me, for all the people of this world. Will you freely and joyfully give what you have freely and joyfully received? Selah.

He First Loved Us

As the Body of Christ we have a command from our heavenly Father.

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40, KJV)

Today I have been studying the topic of covenant for a class I am teaching. One important aspect of covenant that I have studied is that in covenant one partner cannot ask another partner to do something that he himself is not also willing to do.

Remember Abraham and his son Isaac in Genesis chapter 22? God says to Abraham, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest… and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of” (KJV). As they travel Isaac asks his father, “where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham’s response,”God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.”

Just as Abraham is about to sacrifice his son Isaac the angel of the Lord stops him. He says, “Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me” (KJV). Abraham then looks up and sees a ram caught in a thicket. He offered this ram, as the Bible says, “instead of his son” (Amplified).

“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son…” (John 3:16, Amplified). “He did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?” (Romans 8:32, Amplified).

God’s sacrifice of His beloved and only begotten Son demonstrates a very important point. The Bible says that we love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). The sacrifice of His Son in our place demonstrates to us that He first loved us with all His heart, with all His soul, with all His mind.

We love Him because He first loved us. His love is the cause of our love. “Love begets love” (Henry Drummond, The Greatest Thing in the World ). We cannot love until we know we are loved. We can only love Him and our neighbor because He first loved us. Spend time today thinking about how deeply He must love you that He freely gave His Son to die in your place. “Contemplate the love of Christ, and you will love” (Henry Drummond, The Greatest Thing in the World ).