For Us, For Me

“But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.  All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.” Isaiah 53:5-6 (NLT)

The end of this week we commemorate the events leading to Easter.

Jesus left Heaven and all of it’s glory to come to Earth. He did not have to do this. God the Father created this Earth, He (the Trinity) could have decided that they were done with this creation and with a word ended this whole thing. They decided differently,giving us a pure example of love in parenting, giving our children another try, God chose to send His Son to Earth, making a way for us to discover redemption and relationship.

Jesus came to earth as an infant. He was human, as we are. He cried as an infant, cut teeth, had childhood ailments, ear infections, fevers, colds, and flu. He skinned His knees, stubbed His toes, most likely got sunburned. He came to experience everything we do as humans.

He was human and God. This boggles my brain when I think of it. Have the power of God Almighty and yet choose to be human and restrained in these bodies. He didn’t do it grudgingly, He did it willingly. That humbles me.

On Thursday night we remember the Last Supper. Jesus brought his friends and followers together. He knew one would betray Him, and yet Jesus celebrated with this man. He broke bread with him, He included him. I couldn’t do that. If I knew someone was going to stab me in the back, I would keep that person at a distance and have no fellowship with them. Not Jesus, He feasted with Judas.

After the feast, Jesus went off to pray, His disciples slept off the meal, even after hearing that Jesus was going to be betrayed. What did Jesus pray? He prayed for us. He prayed for our protection. He prayed that we would continue in God. He thanked Father God for us, for me. (John 17)

When we have an appointment like a dentist or surgery there is a feeling of panic. We dread going. We ask for prayer. We warily approach the time of what we feel is going to cause us agony.

Not many of us go through what Jesus did. Yes, people around the world have been persecuted and martyred, but for the most part, we have no idea what that agony is like. We panic at the sound of a drill, or the sight of a needle.

Jesus knew. He knew what was about to happen. He knew He would be brought in front for a mock trial. He would be beaten. Not like what we see in movies, He was beaten, think about a piece of meat we have tenderized with a meat mallet. How that meat is stretched and mutilated. That is what Jesus did for us, for me.

That was just the beginning. He was crowned with thorns. Not those jiggers we get from roses or brush. Thorns long enough to piece through His skull. He did it for us. He did it for me.

We complain when we have to carry a bunch of groceries up stairs and we think it is so inconvenient and hard. Jesus carried His cross. With a pounding bloody head, and His flesh torn apart. He did it for us. He did it for me.

All of this sounds terrible. I know I haven’t begun to truly describe what He went through. After all of this, Jesus was nailed to a cross. His flesh, once more thrust with pain and agony. When we first went to Japan, we had an English language paper delivered to our home. One day, I opened the paper to see photos of several people crucified. Crucifixion was still allowable then. I stared at the photos in disbelief. They were gruesome and I was stunned. Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified, because of us, because of me.

“This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step. He never did one thing wrong, Not once said anything amiss. They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing. You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you’re named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:21-25 (MSG)

Today I have had my mind filled with the sacrifice Jesus made for us, for me. Simply saying, ‘Thank You, Lord’ just isn’t making me feel better. I know He freely did all of that because of love. Forty-five years ago this Monday I asked Christ to come into my life and save me from my sins. I did this with Dale as we knelt beside our bed. There was no altar call or music leading us to the decision, it was our Lord, gently poking and prodding us to come to Him, freely. We did. The past forty five years I have tried to put into words what the remembrance of Christ’s death has meant to me. All I can say is He did it for us. He did it for ME.

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