Had a great meeting last night learning more about the persecuted church and praying more intentionally about specific situations in countries such as North Korea, Egypt and China. It was so humbling to hear of the faith and love that persecuted Christians have, their strength in the face of so much persecution, lies, false criminal charges being laid on them and how even in the face of death they remain strong in their faith. Just started to draw parallels this morning as I was reading Mark 15 as Jesus was brought before Pilate, praise God for the strength and courage he gives to us all in the face of adversity and praise God that through his amazing sacrifice we are all able to claim the victory over death and the enemy.
John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
YOU LOVE ME TO DEATH
The charges were being read and you never said a word except to confirm your status as King of the Jews, you left the charges unopposed, refused to use your influence with God to give yourself a second chance, a way out, an escape, you listened silently as the crowd turned, stirred up by the chief priests shouting crucify and still you denied yourself the chance to speak, to save yourself from being flogged then certain death, you permitted the soldiers to manhandle you, remained silent as they mocked and beat you, they put a crown of thorns on your head whilst taking the proverbial, “we salute you King of the Jews” they scoffed, they spat at you, needled you and still you kept your cool as they took the tools of their trade and made you stand while they nailed your wrists to a cross, what a cost Jesus, what a cost, you died because of me and it may be a story I’ve heard a hundred times but here’s the thing, it was messy, painful and shameful, your betrayal a travesty, the crowd turned against your royal majesty, how quickly they forgot, how quickly they turned their heads away from the Saviour who was paving the way for their salvation, who turned his heart towards every nation, for your love Jesus is greater than life itself, what a sacrifice, precious holy sacrifice, and do you recognise the immense price that Jesus paid, yes he was Son of God but he still paid for our sins with his own life, imagine the pain of the blade in his side, the nails as they pierced his arms, the weakness as his blood drained from his body, the pain, the thirst, the heat of the midday sun beating on his body, the desire to cry out to anybody to save him from the agony of a slow death on the cross, praise you Jesus for your love, knowing that anything less than death meant my death, anything less than your sinless sacrifice meant I would lose my life, oh how you love me, your love lavished on me, your death an eternal reminder that I am loved by a God who loves me to death, who literally loves me to death…