And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. Luke 23:33-34
Ask yourself these questions: “Is it possible for God to lack completion in anything? Can God possibly be not fully perfected in any aspect of His being? Is there something that God had left unfinished?”
Yes He could and yes there was.
A preposterous comment to make? It is not when you consider the story how God resolved this quandary because it IS the reason for that first ‘Easter’. Just hold on because this gets interesting.
It Is About Perfected Power
Where or what could the God of Glory possibly be lacking or not perfected?
In one thing – Strength or Power.
According to God’s standard and God’s economy ‘perfect’ strength can only come one way and God up to this point in the realm of eternity had not yet attained it. There is reason why. Because God’s strength is made complete or ‘perfect’ in weakness:
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
The word “strength” in this verse is the Greek word (δύναμις) ‘dunamis’; translated to mean force or miraculous power. God is all-powerful and occupies the heavenly glories. But, that power was not perfected because there was one dimension, an enemy in God’s created universe not yet defeated. The enemy was death, the byproduct and offspring conceived by the operation of sin:
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Romans 5:12
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. James 1:15
And God in heaven with all power and strength could not contain it. Why? First of all the power to defeat sin and death demanded perfected strength that only perfected weakness could produce.
Weakness does not reside in the heavenly dimension. Heaven occupies eternity along with its storehouses of God’s glory, grandeur, and splendor. This source of weakness must be found elsewhere.
Life Is In The Blood
The remedy or antidote for what destroys life (sin) can only come from that which gives or sustains life – blood:
For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Leviticus 17:11
And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. Hebrews 9:22
According to God’s commandment only blood can remit and eradicate the root of sin. Since blood and weakness are not “naturally occurring substances” in the heavenly realm, they would have to come from another source.
Sin’s Solution – The ‘Living Word’ Of God
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:1, 14
The Lord had the sin solution all figured out “before the foundation of the world”. God zinged a split-fingered, 101 mile-an-hour fastball right past a swinging, spinning devil who thought his pretty little game (pre-fixed mind you by his bookie agent named ‘Death’) was airtight. Wrong.
God performed the perfect union on earth for everything He needed to produce the perfected strength to conquer death, hell and the grave through weakness and blood:
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:6-7
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29
Jesus Christ as the living, breathing, Word of God was both weak and life-energized:
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: Romans 8:3
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. John 10:10-11
Infinite Weakness Produces Infinite Power
Jesus Christ in the process of becoming infinitely weak through the crucifixion as the Son of God became infinitely strong or powerful. There has never been nor will there ever be an act of earthly weakness so profound. God in flesh, the Creator of all living, placed Himself into the hands of His Creation. It was the crime of all ages. The ‘Creator’ mercilessly killed by the hands of the ‘Created’. The thought is mind-boggling, sobering and paradoxical.
One writer penned it this way: “God’s involvement with shame has spun a web of mystery too intriguing for the human mind to let alone.” The crucifixion was so earth-shattering that the planet would no longer revolve around an axis between the North and South poles. After Calvary the earth would now spin on the vertical axis of Jesus’ cross spanning the heaven and the earth.
The same writer had this to say: “The cross stands at the center of everything. There is not a person born or unborn, there is not a decision that anyone has made or will make that the stark naked cross does not stand a witness to and a judge of.”
Someone recently made a commitment (regarding the Christian walk) as to “Why crucify the flesh? What advantage can possibly result in living a cross-bearing, crucified life before God?”. This is why. It is said ministry is “flow”, the flow of God’s spirit through broken vessels of clay. Something miraculous will result when that flow operates unhindered from fleshly motivations and carnal thinking. Yes, we are not perfect, but that does not preclude the miraculous from happening “through us”. And when it does, nothing and no one can take credit for it, for it belongs to God and God “gets the Glory” for it.
Death’s Resurrection Exalts Jesus To God’s Right Hand Of Power
The Easter story is God’s act of love to confront and forever eradicate the curse of sin. Jesus was the perfect Lamb of God, the only living creature or being that ever lived who was totally “sinless”. What did John the Baptist say upon seeing Jesus for the first time? (John 1:29 Behold the Lamb of God …)
God needed perfected strength to conquer this last enemy death. To accomplish this God had to become perfectly weak so that He might become perfectly strong.
What did this “perfected strength” grant the Son (Flesh) of God? This:
For he must reign (the Sonship, the Son of God), till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. I Corinthians 15:25-26
For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:21
All things which include sin, death and Satan are now subject to the authority of Jesus. The victory of Jesus over “all things” through the sacrifice as the perfect Lamb of God at Calvary, Jesus’ resurrection and the resurrection of his church marks the end of the Sonship. Jesus delivers the Kingdom of God to the Father, sits on the ‘right hand’ in heaven’s throne , crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords:
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 1 Corinthians 15:24
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. Hebrews 12:2
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. Revelation 1:8
Easter – The Message of Love and Hope
Creation has never witnessed nor will it ever witness a weakness so profound, so perplexing or so magnificent then what was displayed on the cross at Calvary 2,000 years ago. God sacrificing his own life for lost humanity:
I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:14-15
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
When we ever get a grip and clear understanding of Calvary’s Love, we will be forever eternally changed. When you think about it, there are only two principal driving forces in life: love and hate. They both result in action (read the news about the latter).
Jesus came to this world to set the record straight regarding the most powerful and constructive life force on earth: love. Love is the reason for Easter.
It is said the great preacher Jonathan Edwards on July 8, 1741 in Enfield, Connecticut preached a famous message entitled “Sinners In The Hands of an Angry God”. It is recorded the message was so energized and powerful one could almost feel the heat of hell and smell the acrid scent of burning flesh.
Unfortunately, when it comes to God and faith, fear will only take you so far. And if by perchance it happens to take you all the way on your journey home to heaven, it will be a most joyless, sad and burdensome one to say the least.
If Mr. Edwards were alive today the Lord just may alter his title and its content. The impact of his message and its response if preached with the same zeal and passion may bring the same results in this day and age if focused on another aspect of salvation.
There is no question the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and we are to “work out” our salvation with “fear and trembling”. We definitely need to fear God and reverence Him. But, there is a flip-side to this equation. What is it? It is God’s love.
But, who has yet to speak with lips of clay the whole essence and total expression of what Calvary’s love really means? If they ever do, it will eternally change the souls of those who might hear the truth concerning the love of God as the Savior of the world – Christ Jesus.
It could be that what the generations of people living on earth today who are inundated with fear, hatred, sexual immorality, heartbreak, brokenness and weariness from the pressures of life need to hear something else.
What this world needs and the one thing the church has at its fingertips is an inundation and heart-transforming message of “Good News” – the gospel of Jesus Christ: (I Corinthians 15:1-4).
And He himself antedates all things, and all things in Him cohere. And He himself is the Head of His Body, the Church. He is the originator, the firstborn out from among the dead, in order that He might become in all things himself the One who is pre-eminent, because in Him was well pleased that all the fullness be permanently at home. And through His agency to reconcile all things to himself, having concluded peace through the blood of His Cross, through Him, whether the things upon the earth or the things in the heavens. Colossians 1:17-20 (Wuest)
It is high time for a resurrection. God is calling His church and the world to be resurrected from the graveyards of past mistakes, failures and SHAME! God is calling for His Creation to sing again.
Happy Easter 2018!
Washed in the blood of your sacrifice
Your blood flowed red and made me white
My dirty rags are purified
I am clean, I am clean.