"How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss:
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.
Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there,
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life:
I know that it is finished.
I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ-
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart,
His wounds have paid my ransom."
-Hymn by Stuart Townend
In this season when many Christians celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus, I think it is a perfect week to share: "the old, old story/ that I have loved so long." Here is how it begins: Once upon a time, a long time ago, God said:
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing that thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I turn their glory into shame.
They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity.
And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them for their doings.
For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the Lord.
Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart."
"Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up.
After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.
Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the latter and former rain unto the earth."
|Ocotillo and storm clouds, Dan Eckert via www.kcet.org|
"For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we also are His offspring.
Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent."
"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."
-1 John 5:13
"And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
They say unto Him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
Now Moses in the law commandeth us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
This they said, tempting Him, that they might have to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not.
So when they continued asking Him, He lifted up Himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.
And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
When Jesus had lifted up Himself, and saw none but the woman, He said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
Then Jesus spake again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?"
|He is Risen, Arthur Hughes, 1893-96|
"He is not here, but is risen: remember how He spake unto you when He was yet in Galilee,
Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again."
"This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
|The Old Rugged Cross, via www.biblicalserpent.deviantart.com|
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."-Romans 5:1-2
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
Whereunto I [Paul] am appointed a preacher, and also an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
For the which cause I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day."
-2 Timothy 1:7-12
That's the story; that's my story. That's the story of all those that know Jesus; all those that God calls "friends."
Do you know Him?