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Honoring His sacrifice

March 18, 2013

Sunday Judica

Honoring His sacrifice

Honoring His sacrifice

“Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”

Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”

He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take his life”.

Jn 11:47-53

 

We cherish life. We want to preserve life. We want to enjoy life. We want to live happily. We want to cherish the best moments of our lives. With all our might, we seek to live well, happily, prosperous, excited and contented. That’s the reality of being human. Human beings, by nature, long for things to be good and always seek to make things better. When I drive, or when I’m walking down the street, I like to watch people’s faces. When I go down the street, I see sad faces, and I see happy people’s faces. I see gloomy faces and I see worried faces. I see frowns, but I also see people laughing out loud. Every day you can see all kinds of faces. But all human beings want to feel good and if they already feel good, they want to feel even better. When people are feeling well, you’ll notice it on their face. You have to be a very good actor to hide with the face what the spirit truly feels. And even if you can manage to hide the look, it still affects the entire body and your health.

We are created in God’s image, everyone, Christians and non-Christians, whether we believe it or not. And having been created in God’s image, we have within us the seed of God. Our being desperately seeks love, and everything that reflects and produces love. Throughout our lives we pursue love, even though we often do not want to admit it. We want others to love us. We want others to seek us. This happens because the essence of the love of God is within us and drives us to seek him. Whoever does not believe or admit this is fooling themselves.

Man craves a higher being at all times, a being that will satisfy that need for love. Fortunately, there is one that can meet that need for love and happiness. And this one is our Lord Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, the men of his time failed to realize it, even though he was physically present there. And he was sentenced to death because of the rejection of his message due to jealousy and spiritual folly. But that was to be expected. It had been prophesized in the Old Testament, and so would be confirmed by the high priest Caiaphas. Jesus had to die to save every one of us. That’s what we want to remember especially in this time of Lent: The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross so that we could have salvation. Those who have already accepted His offer are honored and grateful that he saved us. Those who have not yet accepted His offer will hear the message of salvation again during Lent and that again and again God offers Salvation to us.

Today we have the opportunity to be gathered here and later we will share a dinner. Also, in the middle of Lent, we are especially glad that there is someone who saved us. That person is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. And that person wants to give us life in abundance. Jesus Christ wants to change our minds, to change our mindset, to change the way we feel and that we get to value, above all things, that he is alive and that he rose. He is alive, here and now among us and he wants us to have life, that our spirits begin receiving of His life because he paid dearly for our salvation on the cross, for us to change ourselves. Every Christian knows that we have salvation, but there are still many people who are not enjoying the abundant life that God gives us. There are many who have even converted to Christianity who cannot live a happy day. That is very sad. There are people who live in defeat, failure, sadness and oppression throughout the year. In the middle of Lent, Jesus brings us a message of hope and renewal: change your face, change your being and change your mind. He paid very much for your happiness. He gives salvation and also wants you to begin to live a content life here on earth. You might be wondering: ‘But I have this or that problem, I cannot be happy because I’m going through this situation or because I have these problems.’ Leave these burdens in God’s hands. To this you may say: ‘But I do, I pray to God every day.’ But maybe you’re not truly trusting God. There are people who pray to God for their whole life and keep begging for the same things. God wants us to ask only once. The first time you ask for what you want God has heard you. But then he wants you to start trusting. Thank God for what you have asked because it is on its way. God cannot answer the prayer that is not a trustful prayer. You have to pray and then begin to thank as a sign of confidence that God is answering that prayer. We must be like Jesus before the resurrection of Lazarus. In the Bible it is written that Jesus told Martha, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me” (Jn 11:40.41). Jesus gave thanks to God, after having asked and before seeing the result. Are you praying that way for the things that you require in your life? When you begin to pray that way, you begin to strengthen your faith because you are showing confidence and no doubt. Stop begging God the same all the time, He heard you already. Begin to thank God because what you asked for is coming to pass.

Jesus died to bring together “the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.” He wants to see you in his fold. Maybe you’ve already accepted the salvation message of Jesus Christ in your life. If so, then you have a reason for giving glory to God.

Still, it may be that your life is still a mess. Or that your life is a disaster. Do you ask yourself why; especially if God is promising life in abundance to all Christians? There can only be two reasons why God does not bless you in your life today. There can be only two reasons why you cannot show joy and God’s favor. One of them may be the hardest to accept, and that is, even if you’re a Christian, that you are not obeying God. How can I know what God wants me to do? We can find the answer in the Bible; in reading the Bible. Are you reading the Bible so that God can speak to you and tell you what to do?

Some may say: ‘How? I can’t understand the Bible.’ A well-known Christian once said: “Don’t worry about what you do not understand in the Bible. Worry about what you do understand in the Bible but do not live by.” (Corrie ten Boom) God does not ask things that are difficult or unachievable, he asks you to do what you know you have to do for him and you’re not doing. Thus, it’s very plain and simple. He is waiting for your decision.

A party of visitors was going through a national mint and was told by a workman in the smelting works that if their hand were dipped in water, the ladle would pour its contents over the palm without burning it. “Perhaps you would like to try it,” said the workman to a man standing nearby.

The gentleman said, shrinking back, “No, thank you. I prefer to take your word for it.”

Then turning to the man’s wife, he said, “Perhaps, madam, you would like to try the experiment.”

“Certainly,” she replied. And suiting the action to the word, she bared her arm, thrust her hand into a bucket of water, and calmly held it out while the metal was poured over it.

Turning to the man, the workman quietly said, “You, sir, believed, but your wife trusted.”

That’s the other reason why it might be that you are not living with the favor and blessing of God in your life. It may be your lack of trust in God. Ask God, pray, show him specifically what you need. He will listen to you immediately. But then begin to give thanks, for what you have asked for is on its way. It is coming to pass. Give thanks and imagine with faith that God is preparing what you have asked for. And always keep in mind that if God does not give you specifically what you’re asking for, it is because he has something better in mind for you. He has something even better to give you, so be prepared to always get the best from Him.

The season of Lent has been misunderstood as a time of grief, but for us it is not so. We do want to honor God’s sacrifice on the cross. We do want to esteem what he did on the cross for those of us who believe in Him: Our salvation; the inheritance of eternal life. But we want to do it with joy; we want to share the joy of Easter Sunday, the resurrection, of new life, of Jesus Christ’s final victory. Are you living your life in that joy, in that victory? Are you living your life with the blessing of God’s power? If not, he now invites you to change your life. He wants to make an important change to your present life. It depends only on you.

Let us pray:

Dear Father, thank you that you have permitted your Son to die on the cross  to bring us together to you. We accept your salvation, we believe in your Son as our Lord and God. Let us be obedient to your word so that we may put all our confidence in you through our daily thanks and praise. Amen.

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