Friday, April 6, 2012

The Father Hath Punished For Us His Dear Son

The first Easter was approaching. God incarnate was grief stricken to the point of death. The Lord prayed in the garden of Gesthemene "Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."

Jesus Christ was fearless when confronted with the Devil, the Pharisees, the Saducees, King Herod, the Romans and their Governor. None of these intimidated the Lord as he boldly preached in their faces. But when faced with the cup of God's Holy wrath Jesus asked for another way. Mark's Gospel account reveals that Jesus petitioned the Father three times for another way than the cup of God's wrath. The wrath of God must be terrifying beyond comprehension.

It is this wrath that rests upon all unbelievers poised to strike at any moment (John 3:36). Pause and ponder that for a moment this Easter and honestly evaluate whether you value keeping the peace with an unbeliever more than informing them about the wrath that rests upon them. Jesus Christ, Who created all things, warned us with these terrifying words "do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28).

It is our endless littany of sin that fills the massive cup of God's wrath to the point of overflowing. When Jesus was in the garden he stared at the unspeakable horror that lay ahead. It was not the Roman beating that disfigured Him beyond recognition (as bad as that was). Nor was it the crown of thorns that penetrated deep into His skull (as painful as that was). Nor was it the capital punishment that Roman soldiers inflicted through crucifixion (as excrutiating as that was). It was the cup of God's just and righteous wrath poured out on the only Man who never deserved it. God demonstrated His great love at Easter in dying for His Church while we were still sinning!

As we travel back to Calvary today do you see your face in the angry mob shouting "crucify Him"? Do you hear the Savior saying "Father forgive them"? Do you grasp to some small extent the transaction that took place when Jesus cried "It is finished". Come today to the hill called Calvary and survey the wondrous cross where my Savior atoned for all my sin - past, present and future. Oh how precious is the blood that my Savior shed!

The Lord in the day
Of his anger did lay
Our sins on the Lamb, and he bore them away.
He died to atone
For sins not his own;
The Father hath punished for us his dear Son
Love moved him to die
On this I rely
My Savior hath loved me, I cannot tell why;
But this I can tell:
He loved me so well
As to lay down his life to redeem me from hell
(Charles Wesley)

Death and the curse were in our cup
O Christ, 'twas full for Thee!
But thou hast drained the last dark drop
'Tis empty now for me.
That bitter cup, love drank it up
Thy bruising healeth me!
Jehovah lifted up his rod
O Christ, it fell on Thee!
Thou wast sore stricken of thy God
There's not one stroke for me...
Thy tears, thy blood, beneath it flowed
Thy bruising healeth me!
(Fanny Crosby).

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