Sunday, January 30, 2011

Comforts from the Cross - Day 21

We have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. -1 John 4:14

"We are continually saying good-bye to those we love." Whether we recognize it or not, we leave or lose people, places, and possession all the time. Life is a series of good-byes to different things.  However, the greatest goodbye is death.  "It separates from those we love, and the more we love, the greater our grief. Aside from the mitigating comforts of the Gospel, the level of grief we experience when we're separated from our loved ones is analogous to the level of attachment we have toward them.  In the Bible, we see times when people grieve.  Jesus showed his compassion for those who grieve when He wept over Lazarus.

No earthly grief can be compared to the Heavenly Father sending His Son to earth.  John recognized this in 1 John 4:14.  He was an earthly eyewitness of Jesus on this earth. The Father, Son, and Spirit enjoyed this perfect relationship in Heaven, but because of His great love the Father would send His Son to earth. "We cannot image what our sin cost Him. We cannot imagine the depth of a love that would sacrifice such joy for the good of another." Then come my favorite words in the day's reading, "We should be astounded by the incarnation." Wow. How often do I rejoice in the incarnation? The Son left the glories of Heaven in order to redeem a people who had rejected and sinned against Him. I challenge you to consider and rejoice in the incarnation. This truth blows my mind.

The incarnation was not the greatest point of separation for the Father and Son, but direct your thoughts to the cross.  While suffering death on the cross, Jesus would utter the words, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34) "On the cross, the Father would forsake the Son and pour out all His wrath upon Him.  The Bible tells of the death of Christ in Isaiah 53, that it was "the will of the Lord to crush him." Jesus suffered separation from the Father and the wrath we deserved, all at the will of His Father.

Jesus knows. He has experienced what we have experienced as people here on earth, yet without sin.  "Your Savior wants you to know that He's walked this path ahead of you." The loneliness, separation, and grief that we experience are not unknown to Him.  Today, I rejoice that the Savior knows and understands. I rejoice even more that His redemption offered us hope beyond the good-byes of this world.  In John 17, Jesus prayed that we would be where He is. He promised that He was going to prepare a place and would not leave us as orphans. Because of the work of our Savior on the cross and even now, we can rest in hope of a future with Him. As a believer, the separation and loneliness we may experience is only for a short time. Find comfort in the cross and the truth of the Gospel today!

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