Thursday, April 24, 2014

Heart Revealed!

When we have lost a loved one, their final words resonate in our hearts as we go on with life.  With Resurrection Sunday just passed, my heart continues to mull on the words of Christ on the cross.  Now, I know He still speaks...and He spoke after the Resurrection.  But upon the Cross the whole heart of God lay bare for us to see.

Words matter for they both reveal and produce reality.  Many things influence words:  culture, circumstances, fatigue, motivations and stress are but a few.  The truth, though, is that words reflect the heart of the speaker.  

Pain, ridicule, sleep-deprivation, vicious dis-respect, and literal torture assaulted Christ, yet His final words matched His life message.  Integrity to the character of God flowed as freely as His blood.  Through it all, the final words of Christ revealed the heart of the Father.   

From the bloody sweat of Gethsemane to the crucifixion itself, an unwavering commitment to the will of the Father and the holiness of Scripture overflowed His heart.   

Upon the Cross, the first three utterances of the Savior encapsulated his life ministry.  “Forgive them.”  While walking on earth, Jesus exercised his authority by forgiving the sins of others.  Here, lifted up from the earth, Christ identified himself with humanity and asked the Father to do the forgiving.  Here he spoke as the one who accepted and bore the curse of sin, honoring the holiness of God.   

Yet for the thief who repented, the deep desire of God for fellowship pours forth.  WE will be together is a beautiful reminder that the presence of God is the essence of heaven.  Saving humanity is not the goal:  togetherness with God is the aim. 

Looking down upon his mother—and a disciple who fled but returned, Christ bonded them together.  He cared for his earthly responsibilities faithfully, nurturing relationships to the end.  There were no regrets or recriminations, simply the joy of assignments for the future.   

One day Christ will reign in His kingdom.  It will be a kingdom of unity, holy fellowship and abiding relationships.  We honor the sacrifice that brought the hope of this Kingdom to each.

 The next three utterances…made with extreme difficulty as he pushed his body up to get air to speak, reveal faith, fulfillment and contentment.  In his despairing cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  there is faith.  Separated for the first time in eternity from the Father--by the sin of the world, not His own sin, Jesus cried out in faith.  He trusted the Father to answer despite His circumstances and feelings. 

By now, the sac around Jesus’ heart was restricting the function of the cardiac muscle.  On His mind, though, was the nearly fulfilled messianic prophesies.  “I thirst” was much more than a physical truth.  The Lord’s passion for the fulfillment of the Word; His submission to the will of the Father; and His thirst for humanity to come to Him—the living water find proclamation in those words.   Christ could have stepped out of His role and met His own needs at any time…His love for you and I kept Him there. 

Finally, it was time for Jesus to conclude His mission: “It is finished.”  He had stayed the course, endured until the end…opened the door to His Kingdom for all who would believe. 

 Let us rejoice in the example of Jesus, our King.  Might we be like Him:   faith-filled; Scripture-saturated and wholly submitted to the plans of the Father. 

 The seventh statement of Christ must be our daily refrain:  Into thy hands, I commit my Spirit.  His work done, Christ entrusted His essence to the Father.  Those watching did not yet see the victory—but it was, and is and always will be.  This final statement is one we can choose day-by-day.  As we live in Him, our circumstances need not defeat us.  The victory is won.  Christ is our Holy Abode until the day we rule and reign with Him upon the new earth!




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