“When Jesus, therefore, receives the vinegar, He says, ‘It is finished;’ and He bows His head, and gives up the spirit.”
Jesus dies on the cross, accomplishing payment for the sins of the world. He is buried, visiting hell to remind our adversary he has no power over us.
“Peter, therefore, goes forth, and that other disciple, and comes to the sepulcher. So they run together; and the other disciple does outrun Peter, and comes first to the sepulcher. And he, stooping down and looking in, sees the linen clothes lying; yet goes he not in. Then comes Simon Peter following him, and goes into the sepulcher, and sees the linen clothes lying there, and the cloth, that was about His head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then goes in also that other disciple, who came first to the sepulcher, and he sees, and believes. For as yet they know not the scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.” (John 20:3-9, KJV)
He is risen! to achieve glory for Himself and for His children, the sons of God.
Jesus takes the cup, blesses it, gives it to His disciples, tells them to drink of His blood in remembrance of Him. He takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it, shares it with His disciples, tells them to eat of His body in remembrance of Him. The last supper with His followers is here.
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
As we remember Him, His love “constrains us” — we are reminded that “if one died for all, then were all dead.” We remember He “dies for all, that [we] which live should not henceforth live unto [ourselves], but unto Him.”
What makes us live for Him? His love, and the power of His resurrection from the dead. As we die with Him in weakness, so we rise with Him in power. He dies for us. We live for Him.
Acceptance is the act of taking or receiving something offered; it is a favorable reception; approval; favor. Acceptance is the act of assenting or believing: the acceptance of a theory; and it is the fact or state of being accepted or acceptable.
Paul tells us God’s good pleasure is to accept us. God’s plan from before time is to show us His favor and give us His approval. In Christ, God is pleased to gather us together along with all things in heaven and on earth. And what is the mystery of His will? His good pleasure that He purposed in Himself! When? Before the foundation of the world! Why? To the praise of His glory!
Here in the first chapter of Paul’s letter to Ephesians is the ultimate picture of God’s love for us:
“3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
7In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
8Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
9Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
10That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:”
Jesus teaches some truths privately. He takes aside His twelve disciples — including Judas the betrayer — to tell them about their trip to Jerusalem. We’re going up there to the city of God so that I can be condemned to death. I’m going to be ‘scorned, and scourged, and crucified.’ But I’m also going to ‘rise again to life’ on the third day. He may even speak an aside in Judas’ direction, This will thwart the plans of Satan, those plans in which you are to be deeply involved very soon.
Imagine the twelve looking at each other. What did Jesus say? What are we doing? Why are we going to Jerusalem? Did Jesus really mean He is going to die? And what else did He say? He’s going to rise again to life?
“And Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and took his twelve disciples in private, and said to them, [And Jesus, ascending up to Jerusalem, took his twelve disciples in private, and said to them,] Lo! we go up to Jerusalem, and man’s Son shall be betaken to princes of priests, and to scribes; and they shall condemn him to death. And they shall betake him to heathen men, for to be scorned, and scourged, and crucified; and the third day he shall rise again to life. [And they shall betake him to heathen men, to be scorned, and scourged, and crucified; and the third day he shall rise again.]”
Then, upon entering the city, the crowds greet them with waving palm branches and shouts of “Hosanna! to the Son of David! Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21: 9, KJV) You can almost hear the disciples, What are we to make of this? These people don’t seem to want Jesus to die? What’s going on?Is our Master mistaken?
These men walk about in a daze, not fully knowing. The next thing Jesus does is clear the temple of money-changers, saying to them, “My house shall be called the house of prayer,but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Matthew 21:13, KJV) Next He heals the blind and the lame. Then, He tells the chief priests and scribes that God has “perfected praise” in the mouths of infants. (Matthew 21:16, KJV) He laments over Jerusalem, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them who are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37, KJV)
From the moment Jesus enters Jerusalem, He challenges the chief priests, scribes, Pharisees and Sadduces as well as the Herodians. Eventually, the plot to kill Him is fully developed and His statement to His disciples comes to pass. Soon they know.
Do we forget Jesus becomes sin (wickedness) on the tree? All our evil is put in Him by God so that “He suffers what should be our chastising, or our punishment.” An extraordinary event — God becoming sin. Our minds protest. How does the Holy One become unholy? Does He? Or is Jesus only dressed in sin? Is sin only “put on Him” as a garment, or is sin “put in Him?”
Isaiah, the great prophet from the Old Covenant, writes:
“5 Forsooth he was wounded for our wickednesses, he was defouled for our great trespasses; the learning of our peace was on him, and we be made whole by his wanness. (And he was wounded for our wickednesses, he was defiled for our great trespasses; he suffered what should have been our chastising, or our punishment, and we be healed, or made whole, by his scourgings.)
6 All we erred as sheep, each man bowed into his own way, and the Lord putted in him the wickedness of us all. (We have all wandered astray like sheep, each one turned to his own way, but the Lord put on him all of our wickednesses.)”
Jesus is defiled, defouled, punished, wounded, scourged. God the Father treats Jesus as sin. As a result, we — who err and wander astray, each to our own way — are made whole, healed, restored to God’s graces.
Ever downplay a mistake or a sin? Ever speak of it as if it wasn’t that bad or even worth mentioning? Ever make excuses for it? Ever deny that you sin?
“If we acknowledge [grant, concede, accept, admit, recognize, confess] our sins, he is faithful and just, that he forgive to us our sins, and cleanse us from all wickedness.”
God expects us to acknowledge that we are sinners saved by His grace. If we accept our sinful state and concede that it displeases God, then “He is faithful and just,” and forgives “us our sins.” As if that isn’t enough, He “cleanses us from all wickedness.”
He does this; we don’t. God is faithful and just. He is forgiving. And He has the power to wash us white as snow though our sins be as scarlet.
Imagine the cherubim of the Lord and the flaming sword barring the entrance to Eden, keeping Adam and Eve from returning to the garden, cutting off access to the tree of life. Here is the beginning of the ‘day of the Almighty’ as described repeatedly in His Word. This day is near; it comes like a tempest. We are banished from paradise and from the presence of the Lord God. What a day, says Joel.
“15 A! A! A! to the day; for the day of the Lord is nigh, and shall come as a tempest from the (Al)mighty. (O! O! O! what a day! for the day of the Lord is near, and it shall come like a tempest from the Almighty.)”
Death begins; we are eternally damned, separated from God. The tree of life is outside our reach. A flaming sword flashes back and forth to guard the way so that we do not live forever. We are actually kept from God and prevented from eternity.
The day of the Almighty is close. What a day! A day of nakedness and shame. God asks Adam, “Who told you that you are naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” (Genesis 3:11, NIV) Now we know both good and evil; and evil dominates our lives.
Paul cries out, “When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” (Romans 7:21) “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24)
The only rescue from the day of the Lord is through the finished work of Jesus the Christ. Jesus Himself declares as He dies on the cross of Calvary, “It is accomplished.”