Friday, March 26, 2010

For My Transgressions

“By oppression and judgment he was taken away.

And who can speak of his descendants? For he was

cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions

of my people he was stricken.” Isaiah 25:8 (NIV)

The religious leaders stirred up the crowds, using trumped up charges, of all things. Jesus went to the cross because we are so sinful. He died a horrific death so those sins we commit will not count against us.

In the Old Testament, only the appointed priest could go into the Holy of Holies to take the sins of the people and give them to God. This passage into the presence of God only happened once a year. One priest, chosen by drawing lots, going into God’s presence carrying the sins of all the people of the Hebrew nation. No one else could go into this most sacred area. The other priests tied a rope onto the chosen one’s ankle so they could pull him out of there, if he was in there too long and God had dealt with him.

Now, imagine with me how difficult this was. One man, a human, at that, carried his own sins, those of his family, his friends, his neighbors, and the government on his shoulders. He entered the Holy of Holies as best he could. He gave the sins to God, who received them from him. How would a priest feel as he exited the area?

Recently, I sat in church with a lady who has been bringing me a magazine. She tapped me on the arm and asked me if I had seen the movie, The Passion of The Christ. I told her I had. She hadn’t at that time. She wasn’t sure she could see it when it was at our local theaters. I encouraged her to see it. Our church’s singles group was going to watch it on video. They invited anyone who wanted to, to see it with them. That movie impressed in me that my sins put Jesus Christ on that cross.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Silent before His Accusers

“He was oppressed and afflicted and yet did not open his mouth;

he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her

shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” Isaiah 53:7 (NIV)

Jesus, the man, must have felt as if he were backed into a corner by the religious authorities. The religious leaders tossed Him back and forth between them. Our Master didn’t say anything in His defense. I believe God chose this path for His Son. The Father controlled the happening, the people and the contributing events in this. What could Jesus say in His defense? Had He said anything, would the religious leaders done anything differently? Would they have jeered and mocked our Lord any more if He had spoken? By not speaking in His own behalf He complied with His Father’s will.

Are there times we should be silent before our accusers, like Jesus was? I had a time when that was how something occurred. I was confronted with something I didn’t want to hear and then hear other ‘bad’ things about me. I had always said, if the situation arose, I would let the person know my feelings about the situation. Well, guess what. I could barely open my mouth.

I now believe God didn’t want me to be in that place any longer. He kept me from saying things that might have been true but those people were not able to understand what I would have said.

Jesus doesn’t let us down when we are faced with taunts and jeers from those around us. He shows us how to handle ourselves when we are backed into a corner by issues of life. We need to be more in tune with Him and let Him lead.

Monday, March 22, 2010


“. . . to release the oppressed.” Luke 4:18d (NIV)

Who are the oppressed? Webster’s New World Dictionary defines the verb oppress as “1) to weigh heavily on the mind, spirits, etc. of burden, 2) to keep down by cruel or unjust use of authority; tyrannize over”

Again we see oppression in two different lights.

We have witnessed political oppression when we heard of a nation taking over a smaller, weaker country. We read in history about the religious oppression of the Jewish people in Europe in the days prior to and during World War II. In the late summer of 1990, we heard of a middle east nation overtaking an smaller one in that region. Our government leaders weighed the options of bearing arms against the aggressor country.

Later, we heard of government in the same part of the world that took away the rights of women, taking away their jobs and allowing them out of their homes only if they were covered from head to foot. I was saddened by what we saw.

Sin, if allowed to run rampant in our lives can oppress God’s people. But Jesus came to show us we can strive to live better lives by staying close to Him. God tells us to take His yoke upon us. (Matthew 11:2930)

The enemy uses the memory of our transgressions to keep us down. He comes into our lives and whispers, “Do you remember. . . .” Satan brings to our attention what shames us. We can’t be vulnerable to the adversary, if we turn our sins over to Jesus when we realize what we have done. All it takes is to say “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...