GOOD NEWS--CHRIST LOVES US
BEFORE we jump ahead into Revelation 1:6, I want to BACKTRACK just a moment to finish the LAST PHRASE in Revelation 1:5-- "And (which is continuing a salutation, a blessing) from Jesus Christ, Who is the faithful witness (Prophet), and the first begotten of the dead (Priest), and the prince of the kings of the earth (King). UNTO HIM THAT LOVED US, AND WASHED US FROM OUR SINS IN HIS OWN BLOOD"...
The last phrase, in UPPER CASE, turns our minds to the most BASIC TRUTH of all ABOUT JESUS. His shed blood at Calvary washed us clean of our sins. There is absolutely no other way by which sinful people may approach a HOLY and OMNIPOTENT God. While in our sinful bodies, IF we came face to face with God--WE'D DIE.
God shows, by the sacrifice of His ONLY Son, that HE DOES NOT WANT PEOPLE to be destroyed, or to DIE in their sins. God has provided A WAY for people to approach Him, and to have a friendly relationship with Him!
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believes in Him, shall NOT PERISH, but have EVERLASTING LIFE." John 3:16.
The TRUTH of the GOSPEL (which means GOOD NEWS) is that CHRIST DIED FOR US. He SHED HIS BLOOD for us. He SUFFERED untold agonies, sweating blood, being beaten. He was spit upon and ridiculed. His beard was plucked out. He reeled under a violent flogging--a scourging. He was stripped naked and hung on a cross where he dripped blood while He slowly suffocated.
And that was NOT all. He experienced AGONY as every vile SIN that can be named--and their accompanying DISEASES, DISORDERS and INFIRMITIES--afflicted Him. He carried the WEIGHT of EVERY SIN that has EVER BEEN COMMITTED--from Adam and Eve to the VERY END of the future Millennium. ALL those sins (OUR SINS) were placed upon His head and shoulders, and permeated the VERY FLESH OF HIS EXISTENCE. (Imagine a perfect Holy God, Who is INDEED JESUS, with pollution like this coming upon Him! What a sacrifice HE MADE!)
And that was STILL NOT all! AS JESUS BECAME OUR SIN AND DISEASE, He SUFFERED the emotions of ABANDONMENT and SEPARATION from God (which sinful man, WITHOUT A SAVIOR and REDEMPTION will experience). When Jesus BECAME THE SIN OF ALL OF MANKIND, the sky turned dark, so black, so awful, that light could not penetrate. The eyes of those who surrounded the cross were NOT allowed see what happened to Jesus when the FULL WEIGHT of mankind's sin consumed Him. In that state, He cried out, "My God, My God! Why have You forsaken me?" Finally, in a last gasp of breath, He added "IT IS FINISHED." AND THEN HE DIED.
At that precise moment, the foundation of the earth fractured under a massive earthquake. The whole creation responded to awful death of Jesus--One Who played an ACTIVE part in its formation!
The heavy veil that hung before the sacred altar in the Jewish Temple was ripped from the top to the bottom, by the very hand of God, demonstrating that THE WAY to His Throne was now open--no longer concealed or guarded. JESUS' DEATH PROVIDES THAT OPEN WAY!
And Jesus was JUDGED by God for the SINS of mankind. Jesus paid the price IN FULL--FOR US! The ENTIRE PAYMENT was rendered.
IN THE HEAVENLY REALMS, THIS WAS A VERY DARK MOMENT. THE SON OF GOD WAS DEAD--AND THE DEMONS MUST HAVE DINED AND REJOICED.
One cannot imagine the GRIEF experienced by Jesus' best friends, His disciples. One cannot imagine the utter AGONY of Mary, His mother. Three long days and nights of the deepest depression, the worst defeat people have ever known--slowly inched by. Do you think it affected them like this, even though Jesus had told them this scene must come to pass? They were human. One cannot imagine the depths of their sorrow.
BUT IT DID NOT REMAIN LIKE THAT...
Into the region of the dead, the paradise compartment of hell (hades), God's Holy Spirit entered. The devil and demons must have watched and flinched, withdrawing in horror as God's LIGHT of glory touched the crucified Jesus. The Holy Spirit entered our Savior--and energized Him with power and victory. God brought THE GIFT of LIFE and RESURRECTION to Him.
That which was CORRUPT and VILE (our sins--which had POLLUTED Him), were cast out and tossed aside like the REFUSE they are (THE PENALTY HAVING BEEN PAID IN FULL). And the spirit of Jesus rose triumphant from the region of the dead. Jesus now possessed a new gift--the KEYS of hell and death. "I am He that lives," He says in Revelation 1:18, "and behold, I am ALIVE FOR EVERMORE, amen, and have the keys of hell and death."
In the tomb, His fleshly body, wrapped in linen and spices, glowed with a new and glorified wonder. Jesus broke free from the graveclothes and stood upon His feet.
On that RESURRECTION MORNING, an angel appeared outside the tomb, and stone which covered the opening rolled away. The power of God shook the guards. They fell to the ground as dead. INSIDE THE TOMB, JESUS WAS GONE. All that was left were the empty graveclothes.
Where did Jesus go? Depending upon which GOSPEL you read, we can glean varying pictures from several witnesses.
In John's gospel, there's the detail of how Mary Magdalene SAW Jesus, and He told her to NOT TOUCH Him because He had NOT YET ascended to His Father. About a week later, Jesus invited the doubting Thomas TO FEEL the scars on His hands and feet. Was this a contradiction?
No--it's NOT a contradiction. Directly AFTER the resurrection, Jesus ascended to the Throne of His Father--and like an attorney, or an advocate, He handed a voucher to the JUDGE. The fine is PAID IN FULL, it declared, and the prisoners of sin are NOW SET FREE.
Acting as our GREAT HIGH PRIEST, Jesus sprinkled the blood of His sacrificial death upon the HEAVENLY MERCY SEAT--for us. His sacrifice (for our sins) was done ONCE and FOR ALL. No more sacrifices need to be done--God is satisfied by the work of His Son.
There yet remains one MAJOR DETAIL. The PARDON (which is freedom from THE PENALTY of our sins) has INDEED been given. The sentence of hell and eternal separation from God (which fell upon those sins) has INDEED BEEN PAID IN FULL. But, like any other GIFT that's given, it must be ACCEPTED by those who are supposed to RECEIVE it.
Have you accepted this GIFT FREELY GIVEN? Have you turned to Jesus in faith, and received THAT which He paid such a HIGH PRICE to give you?
Yes, Jesus DIED for ALL mankind. The sins of ALL mankind ARE PAID IN FULL. But, each individual MUST ACCEPT and RECEIVE this gift. It does NOT automatically drop onto a person.
We also SEE in the Gospels, that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way that mankind may come to God. Jesus said in John 14:6--"I am the WAY, the truth and the life: NO MAN comes unto the Father, but by Me."
Why is Jesus THE ONLY WAY to get to God, the Father? Why is Jesus THE ONLY WAY to get to heaven? BECAUSE JESUS IS THE ONLY ONE, THE TRUE SON OF GOD, WHO GAVE HIS LIFE, WHO SUFFERED AND PAID THE PRICE FOR US, AND THEN ROSE FROM THE DEAD!
I could list ALL kinds of faiths and other religions: Did Baal (an Old Testament idol) DIE to pay for man's sin? Did Ashtoreth? Did Astarte? Did Molech? Did Chemosh? Did Jupiter or Zeus? Did Druid? Did Gaia? Did Vishnu? Did Shiva? Did Buddha? Did Confucius? Did Zoroaster? Did Shinto? Did Muhammad?
No, ONLY JESUS! Jesus DIED so that He could offer us a FREE GIFT, the gift of salvation, the gift of eternal life.
We receive this gift by FAITH. This is our CONFIDENCE and ABSOLUTE TRUST that Jesus INDEED paid the price. This is our faith that Jesus INDEED took God's judgment for our sins (which should have been our own judgment). It's our faith that BECAUSE Jesus rose from the dead, WE RISE, TOO, passing out of separation from God and spiritual death. It's our ABSOLUTE KNOWING that we entered into a life lived in God's presence and fellowship--done through spirits REBORN which commune with Him.
I'm NOT just writing about the ETERNAL LIFE which we will have when we get to heaven. I'm talking about REBORN spirits through which we have ETERNAL LIFE here on earth, as soon as we accept Jesus Christ by faith. This is WHAT IT MEANS to become BORN AGAIN.
Have you told God that you've sinned, and need his forgiveness? If not, DO IT. He will forgive you.
Have you asked Jesus to come LIVE in your heart, and to LEAD you into His life of freedom, peace and joy? DO IT. He WILL enter your heart and HELP you live a full life--granting guidance and everything that you need.
As soon as you, by faith, receive the GIFT that Jesus PAID SUCH AN EXTREMELY PRICE to give you, then you ARE SAVED--passing out of spiritual death into a NEW LIFE of resurrection power. This is what Jesus wants to give you. Have you accepted Him?
"Unto Him that LOVED us, and washed us FROM OUR SINS in His OWN BLOOD."--the last phrase in Revelation 1:5. What an AWESOME word!
May you know the joy of ETERNAL LIFE today.
All power and glory be to Jesus, forever and ever, amen.