Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ah, Holy Jesus

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen. Galatians 1:3-5

This old German hymn tells a powerful story.

Ah, Holy Jesus
Words by Johann Heermann

Ah, holy Jesus, how hast Thou offended,
That we to judge Thee have in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by Thine own rejected,
O most afflicted!

Jesus, who was sinless, took our sin upon Him and was offered as a sacrifice on our behalf, a gift for which we can never repay Him. Jesus truly suffered through His time on earth. He came to save His people, but He was rejected by them, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah.

But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. Luke 17:25

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. Isaiah 53:3

He was the creator of the Universe, but His own did not receive Him.

There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. John 1:9-11

Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon Thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone Thee!
'Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied Thee;
I crucified Thee.

It was my sin and yours that sent Jesus to the cross. Our treason, living life our own way instead of according to God’s standard, caused Him to be undone. We often are so critical of Judas and his betrayal, but is our sinfulness so different?

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. Isaiah 53:5

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit… I Peter 3:18

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
The slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered.
For our atonement, while we nothing heeded,
God interceded.

We could do nothing to earn our salvation. The price is too high. We could never work hard enough or be good enough. Someone had to be the sacrifice and pay through death. It should have been each of us. But God interceded to save us by sending His son to die in our place.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; Ephesians 2:8

For me, kind Jesus, was Thy incarnation,
Thy mortal sorrow, and Thy life's oblation;
Thy death of anguish and Thy bitter passion,
For my salvation.

Jesus came to earth as a human, ministered, suffered and died a miserable death. He gave Himself as an offering (oblation) in humble obedience to His Father.

… just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:2

So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. Romans 5:18-19

Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:8

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay Thee,
I do adore Thee, and will ever pray Thee,
Think on Thy pity and Thy love unswerving,
Not my deserving.

We can never repay Jesus for what He did for us on the cross that day. Our response must be to live for Him, bringing Him glory in everything we do, and praising Him for His great love for us.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7

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