Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
Jesus, God incarnate, laid aside all the splendor of heaven and the glory He received in heaven for what purpose? The beautiful Rose of Sharon knew the ultimate suffering and sacrifice He would have to endure if He came to earth to do the will of His Father.
He knew He would be rejected by those He came to minister and to serve. He knew that He would be betrayed by one of His own disciples, and that another disciple would curse and deny Him. He knew Pilot was going to sentence Him to death by crucifixion, even though Pilot said he found no fault in Him. Jesus knew the physical suffering He would have to endure: the crown of thorns placed on His head, the plucking out of His beard, the scourging and beating. He knew the mob would mock Him as King of the Jews. Jesus endured all the suffering and laid down His life all because of a greater love.
Hebrews 12:2-3 says “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” Jesus proved His greater love for EVERYONE by laying down His life for us, but the joy that was set before Him is what helped Him endure the cross.
What joy was set before Jesus that caused Him to endure a horrible, humiliating and painful death by crucifixion? It’s simple: the victory over death, hell, and the grave. Jesus knew that on the third day He would burst forth from the tomb. He endured the cross because He knew that Mary and Martha would be coming to the tomb just a few days later, and the angels would be able to tell them “He is not here, for He has risen just as He said.”(Matthew 28:6a)
Jesus knew the outcome of His personal suffering. He knew men and women of all races, culture, and creed needed a Savior. He knew that some 2,000 years later a young boy in Statesville, N.C. named Tim Braddock would need a Savior.
My friend, may I submit to you the answer for the opening question “for what purpose?” Jesus endured it all for YOU!
If you have never definitively placed your faith for the eternal destiny of your soul in the fact Jesus loves you so much He was willing to leave heaven, live a perfect, sinless life, suffer physical and emotional pain, endure the death of the cross, and rise victoriously from the dead having obtain eternal redemption for you and me, I invite you do that right now. It says in Romans “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Friend, all you have to do is let Jesus know that you accept His great love for you. Tell Jesus you are humbled, and thank Him for enduring the cross, despising the shame, and satisfying the demands for your sins by his death and resurrection. Let Him know you, by simple faith, accept Him as your Savior.
If you have definitively placed your faith and believed on Jesus, isn't He worthy to be worshiped? May you worship Him wherever you are right now. Pause and reflect on the eternal power the resurrection has on your life. After all, it was not religion, good deeds, or anything else that paid the price for your sins on Calvary. It was Jesus!
Tim Braddock is pastor of Emerald Coast Baptist Church in Destin and can be reached at Tbraddock@emeraldcoastbc.com.