If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them [Lk.6:32]. Being perfect as the Father in heaven, is defined in terms of oneâ€™s love [Mt.5:43-48]. And in this, our Lord Jesus excelled all men.
None were excluded from the broad self-sacrificing benefit of His loving heart. Neither a rich ruler nor miserable beggars were refused. Whether the most notable among teachers or be they ignorant multitudes, all were loved.
Children were embraced and violent persecutors prayed for. Repulsive lepers were kindly touched and weeping harlots washed His feet with shameful tears.
No distinctions of social status, nationality, age, gender, disease, occupation, education, religion, morality, tribe, or wealth determined His love. He loved because He was full of God, and God is love.
Love moved Him to pity and relieve the worldâ€™s misery. Love compelled Him to speak the truth to expose the secrets of hearts [Mk.10:21]. And love for His Father led Him to lay down His life in obedience to His every command [Jn.14:31].
Stop and think: Without love we are nothing [I Cor.13:2,3] and our religion stinks. Define love by considering the life of Christ.
And what shall I say, â€œFather, save Me from this hour?â€? But for this purpose I came to this hour [Jn.12:27]. The cross was the grand climax of Christâ€™s coming to this world [I Tim.1:15].
It was because the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sins that a body was prepared for Him [Heb.10:4,5]; a body in which iniquity would be taken away according to the will of God [Heb.10:6-10].
He was crucified through weakness [2 Cor.13:4]. There is no other avenue for the power of God to be revealed [2 Cor.12:9,10]. The cross, a seeming triumph of wickedness over all that is righteous and good, was actually the ultimate victory over it. Shame and reproach borne righteously leads to glory and honor unendingly.
This cross was described by Him as a baptism which would plunge Him into darkened depths of sorrow and judgment [Lk.12:50]. It was His cup received from the Fatherâ€™s hand [Mk.10:38; 14:36]; a cup of deepest red [Ps.75:8], full of horror and desolation [Ezek.23:33], fire, brimstone, and burning wind [Ps.11:6].
From it He would drink down the wrath of heaven to its last bitter drop. Thereafter, the cup we share became the cup of blessing [I Cor.10:16].
Yet when He speaks of His cross, that of our own is not far behind [Mt.16:21,24]. A grain of wheat that falls to the ground must surely die in order to bear much fruit. This He spoke regarding His glorification at the cross and, as well, of his servants who must hate and lose their own lives in order keep them unto eternal life [Jn.12:23-25].
It is finished [Jn.19:30] announces a debt discharged; a payment made in full. Thus the cross of the Lord Jesus once and for all settled every obligation of guilty man, paid every offense, and satisfied the demands of the righteous Judge against sinful men.
Nothing can, or need be, added to it. The ransom is paid, souls have been purchased, and pardon obtained. Hallelujah for the cross.
Stop and think: Christ has by Himself fully paid the debt to release us from sinâ€™s penalty. What then remains for us in order to fill up what is lacking in Christâ€™s afflictions? [Col.1:24 – 2:2; 2 Cor.4:7-12].
Christ is the Resurrection and the Life [Jn.11:25]. It was a moral requirement that He not be held in the power of death [Acts 2:24], since He voluntarily entered into it, being sinless [Jn.10:17,18]. The gospel writers all portray the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus as the spiritual pivot of human history.
Matthew emphasizes the glory, majesty, and authority of the risen Christ as triumphing over all wisdom and power of men until the end of the age. Mark presents the historical reality of repeated appearances that convince the reluctant and unbelieving.
Luke sets forth the spiritual necessity of Christâ€™s death and resurrection as foretold in the words of the Law and Prophets. Johnâ€™s record shows the transforming power of the risen Lord in the midst of His own as seen in Mary, Thomas, and Peter.
All carnal objections to the resurrection of Christ are crushed beneath the historical, logical, and moral weight of the rolled-away stone [see Appendix 2 Resurrection]. But it was not that disciples met an empty tomb that convinced them, it was that they met a living Lord.
Christianity itself underwent a resurrection of sorts after the Lord Jesus was raised. As Christ was raised in a transfigured body, so also were His followers.
Apostles who fled identification with Christ and who hid in fear and gloom were raised up unto power and fearless proclamation. They who were clothed with the carnal dress of worldly desires and hopes, cast those garments of death aside leaving them in the darkness of the tomb.
No more were they disputing who was the greatest among them [Mk.9:33,34]. Gone was self-confidence in their own commitment and carnal methods [Mt.26:35, 51, 52]. Forgotten was their desire for honor in the coming kingdom [Mk.10:35-37]. Instead, spiritual concerns for the glory of Christ and testifying to the souls of men consumed them though faced with persecution and death.
And thus, it was not their verbal testimony alone that provided the undeniable proof that Jesus was risen from the dead. It was that they themselves were also transformed and possessed that very life which can only be explained as coming from the living Christ.
Stop and think: How are Mt.10:26-33 and Jn.13:34,35 illustrated in the resurrection of the disciples?