1999-04-01 - For the Good Man
Maundy Thursday - 1999
Rom 5:7-8 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (NAS)
The United States Secret Service has the charter of protecting the President and his family. They are sworn to give their lives to protect this individual if the situation warrants it. One man, Timothy J. McCarthy, has actually taken a bullet for then President Reagan in the performance of his duty. It was a shot at close range and could easily have been lethal. By the grace of God, it was not. Mr. McCarthy valued either the office of the President or Mr. Reagan to the point of daring to die for him. This is a rare moment in human history. There are others to be sure. But the group is select, and very few in number, who would intervene with their very lives.
Isa 53:3-5 He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4 Surely our griefs He himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. (NAS)
At the Garden of Gethsemane, all of the disciples of Jesus fled when he was arrested. Even the brash Peter, who sliced off an ear in the gallant defense of his Lord, eventually ran at Jesus insistence. John Mark left his clothes in the hands of a would-be captor and disappeared, naked, into the night. These men who knew Jesus firsthand for up to three years, would not die to protect the sinless Son of God; certainly a righteous man. Only John came to the foot of the cross with the women. Peter warmed himself by the enemies' fire. He spent the night convulsing in wracking sobs at his failure to keep his promise to die for his Master.
Through this day and evening, mentally stop here. Jesus laid in a tomb, slain after a mock trial and a brutal beating. Most prisoners died at the scourging. Isaiah 52:14 tells us that Jesus was almost beaten beyond recognition as a human being. Quite literally all of Hell tried to stop Jesus from getting to the cross. This was more a spiritual war than a physical one. Don't even take relief in the healing that was purchased by His blood tonight. Take in the horrible cost of sin and its power that Jesus came to break. Get a sense of the hideous price Jesus paid in the moment His Father turned His back on His Son who bore our sins.
The crowed railed at Jesus as He staggered to Calvary. The jeerers esteemed Him stricken of God. Surely this was God's punishment on this blasphemer. What they should have seen was themselves in His place, bleeding and dying. The difference was that we would be guilty. Jesus took out guilt upon Himself. He could have rightly walked away and didn't. We would not have had such a choice.
Luke 14:28 "For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? (NAS)
The Lord counted the cost in eternity past, according to Rev 13:8. Before time was set into motion, God knew that we would fall into sin. He knows our frames are simply dust, and just how weak we are. The Second Person of the Trinity counted the awful cost of our redemption in eternity past, and agreed to pay it. While we were still His enemies, before we could do anything to help ourselves - if that were even possible - the cost was known. And Jesus loved us enough to lower Himself to come and live among us, and to die for us.
Lord Jesus, Please give us a fresh glimpse of the price You paid for us. Help us to understand the awfulness of sin as You do. If we are honest with ourselves, we have the capacity for sin within us. We let You down daily, even routinely - and You still love us. Give us the courage to lean on You for the strength to resist temptation and to stand strong. Amen.