. . .
The Thousands upon Thousands—beyond number—In Christ.
As I pointed out last week, in the Gospel record we see Jesus consistently coupling the cross with rising again from the dead. Thus, although His followers were decimated by His death, He had told them repeatedly of His resurrection. While I encourage you to contemplate the greatness of His provision for us through His death, I encourage you to also contemplate the goal which took Him through the Cross. In my mind, I see Jesus, moved by the utmost love for each individual comprising “the whole world,” looking right through the Cross in the foreground, out through the empty tomb, and on to all the Saints of all the ages—including you! As the writer to the Hebrews expressed it:
For the joy set before Him,
He endured the cross, despising the shame,
And has sat down at the right hand of The Father.
His provision at the Cross was, without doubt, to pay for our sins, cancel the debt, remove Sin from us, and cleanse us from the guilt and shame. The importance of His provision for us in these matters is beyond words . . .. Such a result is certainly cause for great joy! Yet, paying for our sins (the attitudes and acts) and removing Sin (the thing itself) and guilt was not the fundamental goal of His plan for us! Dealing the death-blow to Sin was a very costly and absolutely necessary first step toward the achievement of His goal, but His goal was far more than “sin removal.” Beyond paying the penalty, removing the guilt, and destroying the power—all accomplished at The Cross—His goal was not so much removal as impartation. He came that we might have Life—Life to the Fullest—by His rising out from among the dead He made possible new birth which furthers His new Creation in which we actually become the born-ones of Father God, the Dwelling Place (“home”) for His Spirit, so that The Risen Christ can live in and through us—bringing our identity, thoughts, desires, and actions into complete congruity with Christ Himself. This impartation of His Risen Life to us and our resulting growth in grace and experiential intimacy with Jesus is not something we will ultimately receive only in some future existence after all things are made new; such vitality of union and communion with The Risen One is for us to enjoy now, in our mortal bodies (as the Scriptures attest).
As you contemplate Jesus on The Cross—the very dying form of One, . . . Who suffers there . . . for me—ask His Spirit to grant you His view through the Cross and the Tomb, on to the joy He anticipated. The joy of hundreds of thousands who are not only freed from Sin (Oh, happy condition!), but who have become the very real embodiment of The Risen Christ! Jesus fully alive in the here and now. His joy is to accomplish this goal in us . . . in me, . . . in you, . . . and in each of His beloved ones—so that we speak His words of truth and love, so our hands bring His touch to those who are broken, . . . the lame walk, the blind see, those who were in bondage are FREE!—Jesus in us bringing Life out of death. That was the joy for which He endured that old, rugged cross! Are you living in such a way that His joy is being made full? How few of us go through our day conscious of such continued incarnation, which brings me once again to the words of Richard C. Halverson (of which I was reminded yesterday):
You go no place by accident. Wherever you go, Christ is sending you.
You are no place my mistake. Wherever you are, Christ has placed you.
You go nowhere by accident–you are nowhere by accident. Wherever you go–wherever you are–Christ is placing you or sending you, because Christ has a job He wants to do where you are and He can only do it in your body.
Think–wherever you are, Jesus Christ is literally present in the flesh. Believe that, and go in that confidence.
May it be so.