Friday, April 6, 2007

Behold Him Now on Yonder Tree

It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. I Timothy 1:15

Behold Him Now on Yonder Tree
Words by George S. Smith

Behold Him now on yonder tree,
The Prince of Peace, the heavenly King;
O what can His transgression be
Such shameful punishment to bring?
And lo, a thief hangs on each side;
Who justly suffers for his crime.
But why should Christ be crucified,
The One so holy, so divine?

It was for me, yes, even me,
That Jesus died on Calvary;
My soul to cleanse from all its guilt,
His precious blood my Savior spilt.

O sinner, see, for you and me
He freely suffers in our stead;
And lo, He dies upon the tree;
Behold, He bows His sacred head!
So pure, yet He has borne our guilt,
By death our ransom He has paid;
It was for us His blood was spilt;
Our every sin on Him was laid.

O loving Savior, take my heart,
No longer can I live from Thee!
With all unlike Thee now I part;
Thy wondrous love has conquered me.
I yield to Thee my little all;
Accept me now, Lord, as Thine own;
I’ll be obedient to Thy call
And spend my life for Thee alone.

Today is Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified. Many Christians do not want to think too much about Good Friday – it gets glossed over in favor of Resurrection Sunday – Easter. After all, Easter is the good news part of the story, right? Jesus rose from the dead! However, without Good Friday there would be no Resurrection Sunday – and Good Friday is when Jesus accomplished the purpose for which His Father had sent Him to Earth – to take the sins of man upon Himself and be sacrificed, once for all.

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God. I Peter 3:18

Jesus died a shameful death FOR US and BECAUSE OF US. This hymn makes it very clear – Jesus freely suffered in our stead, bore our guilt and paid our ransom.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Mark 10:45

Are you grasping the gravity of this? God, in human form, came to serve. He is God. You would expect that the King of the Universe would be served instead of serving. But His words are clear: He came to serve and give His life as our ransom. The sins of the whole world, past, present and future, were put on Him.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. II Cor. 5:21

All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. Isaiah 53:6

When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Col. 2:13-14

Because of His suffering, we are healed – healed from our sin, and made whole.

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. Isaiah 53:5

The third verse of this hymn is our response to this amazing gift. Our lives are now yielded to Him, we are called to be obedient, and to live our lives for Him.

For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. II Cor. 5:14-15

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Gal 2:20

By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
I John 4:9

I urge you to contemplate Good Friday and what it means for you personally. It was my sin and your sin that sent Jesus to the cross. Jesus’ death was painful and real, and He experienced it as any human would have. Because of His incredible obedience to His Father, and God’s amazing plan, we are redeemed – we no longer live, but Christ lives in us. Hallelujah to the Lamb!

Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:29

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