Easter Reflections by Kathy Countryman
Reflecting on the Easter season, I am reminded that Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Jesus' last week upon earth. Lately, I have been pondering the sacrificial lamb, the shed blood, the atonement, etc. Sacrifice was ordained by God and instituted by Him in the Garden of Eden. From the beginning God has been saying to man, "There is no way to approach Me except by coming with a lamb." There were many types of sacrifices mentioned in the Old Testament. Most were DUE and OBLIGATORY, they belonged to God. But, in the New Testament we see ONE that was VOLUNTARY -- John 1:29: "Behold, the Lamb of God which (or who) taketh away the sin of the world." This sacrifice was not from man - who chose, slew, and offered to God - this was God GIVING VOLUNTARILY OF HIS OWN. "God sacrificed the Lamb on the altar of the Cross." Now, it is finished, now it is done, now we don't wait for a man (priest) to represent us to God once a year. Now we have access to Him on our own, anytime, anywhere, for anything, because of that final and acceptable sacrifice (LAMB) that was given for us.
Many times we show our love to others by giving flowers, cards, candy or doing something nice for someone. But, THAT LOVE - CHRIST'S LOVE - the purest and highest form of love EVER SHOWN - brings me to my knees in humility and leaves me speechless.
But this was not just ANY sacrifice. This was the PERFECT, FINAL AND SUPREME sacrifice.
Think about what He experienced that final week. Mental and emotional anguish, mocked, ridiculed, displayed, dishonored disrobed, disgraced, forsaken, rejected, taunted, spit upon, hit... then look at Isaiah 52:14: "His visage was marred MORE THAN ANY MAN AND HIS FORM MORE THAT THE SONS OF MAN."
No man EVER was marred, tortured, disfigured or hurt as He was. NO MAN WAS EVER AFFLICTED AS HE WAS. Look at and really see verses 4-7 of that same chapter. Note that in verse 7 it says TWICE, "that He opened not His mouth." To me that says there were at least two times that He was at the point - pushed to the point of humanness - yet He was obedient, even to the death on the cross. He was willing to "GO THERE" for you and for me. His love for mankind and the need so great propelled Him to the cross.
When I see and understand the COST of that kind of love, how can I refuse Him? That is why it is so easy to follow HIM, to serve HIM and to love HIM WHO FIRST LOVED ME! Not only did He say it but He showed it and proved it. Do we understand THAT KIND OF LOVE? Do we understand THAT KIND OF SACRIFICE? I ask you to ponder the week between Palm Sunday and Easter. I ask you to reflect upon the cross, the Lamb, the sacrifice, THE LOVE.
Let us never forget to celebrate, but let us also never forget to remember THE GREATEST OFFERING EVER GIVEN!