Dear Fellow Children of God,
Have you ever felt un-loved, or lacking value? In a Christian Couples’ Group get together this week someone noted how a person can feel failure when life has its struggles. For example, if someone loses their job they may feel like they failed in life. Or, when troubles happen with family and friends a person can feel unloved.
This Sunday begins the celebration of Holy Week, the last week of Jesus’ life before His Crucifixion. In reality the opposition, torture, and execution Jesus faced are a testimony to the sin and evil that exist in the world, and exist in all of us. But, at the same time the suffering and death of Jesus show us the depth of God’s love for us in the lengths to which God was willing to go to save us. The suffering and death of Jesus show us how great a price He paid to save us.
Consider the events of Holy week. The story of Palm Sunday says that God loves us enough so that the Creator of the universe enters Jerusalem in humility on a donkey. Yes, there were cheers from the crowd, but there was criticism and opposition from the religious leaders. Jesus willingly accepted that opposition for us.
On Monday and Tuesday of Holy Week Jesus spent His time in the temple. His teaching and discussions were not necessarily pleasant. In fact, Jesus was constantly attacked and criticized by the leaders of the day. Jesus was willing to face this attack and criticism, because He loved us.
On Thursday of Holy Week Jesus not only celebrated the Passover but He also washed His disciples’ feet. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords took on the job of a servant to show how much He valued the disciples and gave them an example of humility to follow. Later that evening, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He knew he would be arrested. But Jesus Himself, and the prophets before Him, had said this was coming. Jesus was willing to humble Himself and be arrested because He loves us.
On Thursday night and Friday Jesus faced trumped up charges in a crooked trial. He was mocked, whipped, and beaten. He was then nailed to a cross where He hung bleeding, suffocating, thirsty, in pain and dying on that cross. Jesus knowingly went forward to his betrayal, His suffering, and His death to pay for our sins . . . because He loves us.
And please realize, it is not that we are better people or less sinful than the people of Jesus’ day. We too are proud, rebellious, lustful, greedy and selfish like the people of Jesus’ day. So Jesus’ love is amazing not only in the lengths and depths to which He went to love us, but His love is also amazing because He was willing to be rejected, and suffer, and die for sinners such as you and me. One of my favorite sections of Scripture is Romans 5:6-8 where God speaks of the surprise of His love.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Holy Week is worth celebrating. If you ever feel unloved or worthless, please realize how in the events of Holy Week God shouts His love for you and how valuable you are to Him. The Creator of the Universe, the Son of God Himself, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords willingly submitted Himself to the humility, the suffering and the death He faced for us. If God would do that for us we must really be important to Him.
A Child of God, Amazed and Humbled at God’s Love for me in Jesus,
ABOUT ‘THOUGHTS FROM THE PASTOR’ - I am sending these e-mail messages, hopefully weekly, to all St. John members and friends whose e-mails I have. (I am always adding new names of friends and members – in case you are just receiving this e-mail for the first time.) However, if you don’t want to receive this e-mail, please let me know, and I’ll gladly leave your name off my list for this message. . . Or, if you know someone who would like to receive one of these e-mails, please send me their e-mail address.