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Good Friday

Good Friday: How Love Wins

To any of you who have not purchased what is in my opinion one of the greatest Christian albums of all time, buy yourself this precious gift. The CD is called “Music Inspired By The Story” and it features some of the top Christian artists singing songs from many different Bible characters perspectives. The way in which Nicole Nordman, the lyricist, and Bernie Herms, the composer, express humanity and God’s love in this musical composition is nothing short of an inspired masterpiece. Yes, I am this passionate about it and the dozens of people I have convinced to purchase this album have agreed with me! If you own this CD, you know I am right and please leave a comment as to which is your favorite song (mine changes constantly).

As I shift gears, I personally have been inspired by one of the songs on the CD called “This is How Love Wins.” The words leave me in tears every time. As we approach Good Friday, I’d like to reflect on Jesus’ death through the eyes of a very unlikely man. You see, the word “Cavalry” makes me emotional. For those of you who read these articles each day, you can refer to my “Love at First Sight” article to further understand my connection to, and passion for, the streets I walked in Jerusalem that led to a deeper understanding of God’s great love and the personal song it inspired called, “He Gave Calvary.” This passion is understandable because this is where Jesus began the journey to win us back. We were nothing more than common criminals, thieves, who had robbed God of so much love and repaid Him with constant disobedience.

We were just like Joe. Who is Joe, you are probably wondering? I am glad you asked! Joe was a kid who was always getting into trouble and from a young age had a bit of a mean streak. He tried hard to please his parents while in elementary school, but after his many attempts to win their love had failed, Joe decided he would capture other people’s attention by being the neighborhood troublemaker. Joe was a small kid who always boasted scuffed up knees and smelt of rotten eggs. By middle school, Joe embraced his evil by causing other people pain in any way he possibly could. He would throw rocks and break windows, bully other children, and disrespect adults. Needless to say, school was mostly spent in detention and the principal’s waiting room. It wasn’t long before Joe’s family split and his now single-mother had to take another job to pay the bills. This resulted in Joe living out his nights home alone. Joe knew he was abandoned, unloved, and a mistake. In fact, deep down he wished he could change who he was, but he had established his identity as a hoodlum and he was committed to be something, even if that something was a no-good teenage boy. As Joe grew up, fathers kept their daughters far from Joe and Joe became increasingly lonely. Joe had no friends, no one who loved him, and he had no education or promise of a future. After dropping out of school his sophomore year, his time was spent drinking, smoking and trying to experience new ‘highs.’ By the time he was nineteen, he was out of juvie and back in jail a year later for car theft. There seemed no hope for Joe. Many years later, Joe found himself on death row for murdering four girls who were all teenagers. No one would be sad to see Joe pay for his sins and no one would ever love Joe. Yet, this is not what happened in Joe’s story next.

Here are some of the words to the song “This is How Love Wins,” will you pretend with me for a moment that this was Joe’s voice singing these words?

My life began like any other man held beneath a mother’s loving gaze
Somewhere between now and then I lost the man I could have been
Took everything that wasn’t mine to take but love believes that it is not too late
Only one of us deserves this cross, a suffering that should belong to me
Deep within this man I hang beside is the place where shame and grace collide
And it’s beautiful agony that He believes it’s not too late for me

This is how love wins, every single time
Climbing high upon a tree where someone else should die
This is how love heals, the deepest part of you
Letting Himself bleed into the middle of your wounds
This is what love says, standing at the door
You don’t have to be who you’ve been before
Silenced by His voice, death can’t speak again
This is how love wins

We now see that Joe, this fictional, no-good character, did one remarkable life changing thing – he allowed God’s love in. He surrendered to Jesus and called Him Savior – repenting of all his sins. Joe’s story could have been similar to the nameless thief on the cross who accepted Christ just moments from his last breath and who is now in Heaven with our Lord. Joe could be countless little boys who are growing up right now, unloved, unwanted and yet, they also still have one final hope: redemption through Jesus. Even if you see yourself as a pretty good person, there is probably a part of Joe that is a part of you. We are all sinful, lost, hopeless, people without one truth: Good Friday. Good Friday and Jesus’ decision to embrace Calvary that allowed all the average and horrific Joes, who could never be good enough in their own right, to become royal children of a King. This is how love wins, every single time.

If you need to be freed from guilt and sin, Good Friday makes this possible. It’s a beautiful gift and one where love wins. The following is a Scripture that allows you to change your story. If you are a Joe, the good, bad, or ugly version, I challenge you to allow love in,

“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”  (Romans 10:9-10)

If this was your fist time truly believing these words, please send us an e-mail so that we can begin to help you on this amazing journey. If you are a believer already, please don’t forget to intentionally seek after other ‘Joes.’ You have truth that they need and Good Friday is a perfect time to start allowing love to win.

Power

An Easter Reminder: Unleashing The Power

Recently I had the unfortunate experience of losing power for an entire day. For any of you who have been powerless before, you can likely recall how unproductive you become once the sun goes down – left with nothing but a dozen candles and a flashlight to continue your night. If you’re anything like me, you also forget that just about everything you normally would do requires electricity. You go to turn on: an appliance…oops…a switch…nope…television…funny…the dishwasher…good try…you get the idea! Living a life without power is discouraging, fruitless, and a huge wake-up call. I thought to myself, how did they enjoy an entertaining and productive life in the olden days? Yet, I couldn’t help but think of all that Jesus accomplished without having electricity, a car, an iPhone, or mass media to help promote His message. Ironically, this is because Jesus had all the power in the world and more. We see in John 13:3 as Jesus began the Last Supper with His disciples, He reflected on His love for them,

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God.

Jesus had a power that allowed Him to operate with authority and this power exists today in the form of the Holy Spirit. Additionally, thanks to Thomas Edison, there is another kind of power that allows us the luxury of continuing our lives at ease. I have come to find that we desperately need to have both types of power. However, while we all notice immediately when the electricity goes out, we often miss when we stop living in the empowerment we have as Christians. In case you think this sounds judgmental, let me tell you, I am preaching to the choir. You see, I was the first to discover when we lost power in our home and it affected me greatly. However, it took hours of quiet reflection to come to this conclusion….am I living in the power that comes only from Christ? As we reflect on Easter, we must be reminded that there is power in the blood that saved us on the cross and arose King, may we also be reminded of a verse that gets to me every time I read it:

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12)

Why does this verse leave my eyes wide and my head titled? Because Jesus gives His power to us! After creation and our ultimate fall through Adam and Eve, Jesus still honored us and  I can’t help but wonder, are we living without this power? Are we living in a dark house with a small flashlight hoping to lighten every corner of every room without any true means? I read this verse and I am left with so many questions, which all can be summarized by a unwanted yet doubtful thought…greater things…really…me?

I, personally, would be the first to embrace changing the world and enthusiastically listing all the ways, as Christians, that we could bring about a wonderful Jesus-centered movement. However, when I start talking in this manner there is a feeling that nips at my heels. Whether it be from past failures, or a lack of sustained enthusiasm, I give up and become powerless. I know that the enemy must be elated with this state because it is like we are standing at the gate of an international flight without a passport. You see, with the passport we would have no problem claiming our spot and showing our identity to all who need to see it. Yet, without it, we aren’t going anywhere. I think sometimes I am that person, knowing my rights as a child of God to do greater things, but forgetting to show my passport in order to gracefully continue on. Hopefully someone, somewhere, is reading this and nodding their head saying… that’s me too! The good news is that we have permission from God to live in power. He wants us to operate in this way, all the time.

We can read the four Gospels and see a common theme inJesus’ life and those who followed His footsteps. They all owned the power that they knew was their’s to claim. Generations later, we still want power, yet we are looking in all the wrong places. We live in a world where power is needed in a physical sense and craved in a spiritual sense. In fact, it doesn’t take long to even see these themes in the movies be it power through success, money, or even witchcraft and vampires. Power is something always sought after. Therefore, it is time we turn on the lights. It is time that we remember the power we have through Jesus. The empty tomb that churches recreate across America on Easter Sunday should perhaps have the words written:

“I’m no longer here…your turn to demonstrate some power!”  Love, Your Father

What if we embraced this? Could we show the world that all the false methods of gaining power pale in comparison to what we have? Wouldn’t that be amazing? Wouldn’t that bring joy to our Father? I believe it is as simple as waking up, recognizing our need for it, claiming it and actively calling on Jesus’ name to operate in it.  The truth is, it requires some faith to proclaim, “I want to do these greater things you spoke about Jesus.” However, someone’s got to step up, passport in hand, ready to board with the entitlement rightfully given to us.

Noah

Noah: The Movie, The Man and God’s Infinite Love

As you can probably tell by now I often write using film as a backdrop. Why? I love seeing stories visually brought to life. I must warn you, there has recently been some controversy about the movie I’d like to explore in this article: Noah. It’s hard not to have some opinions about the movie after viewing it. For me, as a Christian, I understand why it received a negative reaction from a theological aspect. However, as a storyteller, I cannot deny that non-theological, technical, execution of the movie was suburb – it was well executed in that it brought about real emotion to an event that happened long long ago. Instead of focusing on the liberties that were not Biblical, I want to focus on the beauty of the original author’s plot and plan.

Can you imagine with me for a moment what true evil looks, tastes, feels and sounds like?

Pretend that a room is filled with the worst dictators, murderers and horrific people that the world has ever known. This is what God saw when He looked down on the earth during Noah’s time period. No one was “good’ in the way in which God had designed creation to be and everything lacked redemption. What could be done with such a world filled with pure evil? What would you do? In Genesis, we see the Lord’s thoughts and frustrations,

 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.(6:5-8)

Imagine the pain that the Lord must have felt looking down and seeing nothing of Himself in something that He poured everything of Himself into. He would have been right and just to destroy the wickedness that no longer reflected the good He had made man to be. Yet, there was this guy named Noah and something about him reminded God of Adam. There were traits that Noah possessed that exhibited light amongst the dark. Noah’s right standing with God was enough for the Lord to reconsider saving all of humanity, even knowing the awful people that were still to come long after Noah’s death. Perhaps, Noah had conversations with God and their friendship filled the Creator with joy. Or, maybe Noah revered the Lord wholeheartedly but heard nothing from Him but silence. There was obviously no Old Testament to encourage Noah’s faith, or hope of Jesus’ plan, just a bleak world where one guy was trying to honor God day by day regardless of a happy ending. Thankfully, the grace of God was so unimaginable that one man was worth absolute undeserved redemption. We see this through Jesus’ act of sacrifice  – a death on a cross; and we see this again when He looked at Noah. Surely, love triumphed God’s pain and heartache.

The irony is that while Noah is indeed a hero in Genesis (and portrayed as such in the movie), without God’s mercy, Noah is no more than a faceless, nameless man.

God could have saw Noah and contrasted him with everyone else, coming to the logical conclusion that one man does not equal a second chance for all. But yet, we see God gave new beginnings and didn’t dismiss His grace for a fallen world. This is where the movie lacked the depth that we know as Christians. In the movie, God is seen as a ruler, but not as friend. We must recognize that He is both a loving God and a just God. He could have wiped mankind off the map and figured a new way to create good, but His desire for a relationship with man never ceased. Oh, how I wish that the thousands and thousands buying their movie ticket to see Noah on the big screen could walk away with this truth: God loved us so much that He couldn’t just give up on us even though we showed little regard for a promising future with Him.

We were still worth the fight.

As the ark closed and Noah’s family was kept safe inside with all the animals, we hear the cries of the corrupt begging for salvation. As a young child growing up in Sunday school, when I think of Noah’s story I remember the rainbow and how two by two the animals’ paired together. However, we often don’t allow the rest of the story to truly sink in. Did the waves drown out the screams that Noah’s family would have otherwise heard locked inside the ark? Did Noah’s family live in isolation their entire lives or were their friends that they left behind knowing that they too would die a miserable death? Did Noah and his sons ever truly forget what they saw – water from the sky, wiping out of everything that once breathed? Did they ever wonder, ‘why me?’

Did they wrestle with guilt? Did they feel love amongst devastation?

The older I have become the more I wonder about what it must have been like to be burdened by this responsibility – to carry on a good and new race. How could they have felt living with the tall order to shun sin when the flesh craved it? Could you have done it? The truth is, we must do these things… but we are not alone. Thankfully, we have the complete story to push us forward. We see wickedness just like Noah did and we see our second chance just like Noah witnessed in a remarkable way. The common denominator is understanding God’s mercy and just nature. We are called to be blameless, just like Noah – fearing the Lord yet enjoying His companionship. We must live in His offered grace, yet know the costly price He paid for us – teaching us how to despise our sinful ways. Do we look in the mirror and see a little of Noah within ourselves? Does God call us ‘blameless’ and see Noah when He looks at us? If we have received Christ and are operating in His forgiveness, putting on His righteousness, the answer is simply…yes.

Divergent

A Lesson From The Movies: Divergent

Recently I saw the best seller book, turned movie, Divergent in theaters. Then a week later, I went back and saw it again! Needless to say, I am a little hooked on the creative concept the author (Veronica Roth) explored in how we contribute and where we belong in society. Without giving any thrilling details away, the author used five basic categories to define where a person might fit within the human race and called them factions: abnegation, erudite, dauntless, amity and candor. If you were part of this society, when you became of age you would take a test that would determine where you belonged:

  • If your result came back abnegation, it meant that you were selfless and could govern the people justly.
  • If your test results came up dauntless, this meant you were brave and would protect the people courageously.
  • If your test showed you were erudite, this would mean you were intelligent and could make wise decisions to increase the value of the overall society.
  • If you scored as amity, you were kind and would work the fields happily.
  • Lastly, there were those who always spoke the truth, at any cost, and these people were called candor.

In addition to the five, there were those who possessed not one single characteristic listed above, or were booted from their particular faction,  and were called factionless, living homeless, never belonging in any one particular group. Finally, to the main story-line, where some who were neither factionless nor one of the five mentioned above. These people were considered the rarest type of mankind, unable to be labeled as just one faction: selfless, intelligent, courageous, kind or honest. This meant you were divergent and as Christians, we too are meant to be divergent.

In Scripture, the Bible reminds us in 2 Corinthians 5:17,

Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence.” (God’s Word Translation)

What does this mean for us as Christians? It means that when we accept Christ, we have entered into a relationship which changes our old sinful DNA into a new creation, something reborn and repurposed for higher things. We receive the Holy Spirit as our helper and the “tests” that the world tries to give us, and label us, should come back with an inconclusive result making us among the “divergent.” We are no longer who we were because the old has passed away; we are now something that cannot be defined in one category. We are now something the world should see as light, a rare gift, something that cannot be easily classified. As we are the image of God on earth, people should see glimpses of who He is through who we are in Him. Yet, what tends to happen as we begin to live our day to day lives in a broken world is:

  1. We separate ourselves and become like the factionless, wandering through life feeling powerless and often purposeless. While we know the Creator of all power and purpose, we struggle with our identity, believe the lies of the enemy and are not envied by the rest of society. We are considered by many people to be outcasts. Or…
  2. We conform to a faction. We find our worth through one characteristic, skillset or strength. We play a role that we deem is who we are in this life, sometimes even apart from Christ, other times just as a separate compartment. For instance, we compartmentalize our occupation, family, God, hobbies and so on. We become camouflaged. We blend in too well with the world and we lack leaving room for God’s light to shine through the windows of people’s hearts.

The truth is, we are not supposed to be removed from people and we are not supposed to be undesirable to model after. We have something extremely attractive to others if we present the Gospel correctly because we have Christ to offer. Likewise, we are not supposed to continue living with our own little group of choice, never surpassing all God has for us to become. We cannot afford to be timid with our faith. We are to be divergent, much like Paul stated when he said, we must be all things to all people, allowing them to see the difference within us. We are a new creature and we must embrace what that means each day for the creation around us.

My prayer for you, as for myself, is that we begin to look, act and live differently. We remember back to the day we accepted the beautiful gift of Christ and the challenge of becoming a new creature. I hope that people can see something that cannot be defined as a faction within us. Instead, they see our Savior. They see us as multifaceted, possessing many gifts… but most importantly, on a mission to neither separate fully or conform easily to the ways of the world….a true divergent.

Grafted In

What Does It Mean to Be “Grafted In”?

I recently attended a workshop to learn how to graft new branches onto an existing Bonsai tree. In this case, it was to graft branches from a Shimpaku onto a Personi Juniper. In the process I was reminded of Paul’s words to the Christians in Rome when he speaks to the Gentiles as being united to Christ. He told them that they had been “grafted into the nourishing root”, meaning they were now intimately connected to Jesus.

So, if in fact we have been grafted into a relationship with Christ, what lessons are there from grafting that caused Paul to use this illustration?

The first one came to mind with the first action I had to take toward the plant that would receive the graft. It required taking an extremely sharp straight-razor and cutting a deep wound into the tree. I had to cut through the bark and cambium and into the heartwood of the tree. I couldn’t help but think of the wounding what Christ had to go through prior to and on the Cross in order for me to have forgiveness and a new life. When the instructor said you need to cut to the heartwood I could only picture the spear cutting to the heart of Jesus Christ.

In order to receive me as one to be connected with Him, Jesus was willing to be deeply wounded beyond what I can comprehend.

The second step dealt with the piece of Shimpaku branch that was to be grafted into the cut on the Personi. I had to select a small branch and cut it from its original tree. If it was going to be a successful grafting it had to be completely removed from where it previously received it’s nourishment and support. You cannot keep a connection between the old plant and the new plant. It just doesn’t work. It is impossible. The piece to be grafted will surely wither and die if it tries to remain connected to both Shimpaku and Personi. When it comes to following Christ, trying to hang on to what we have trusted in for support and nourishment in the past will not work. Jesus put it simply, give up everything and follow Him. When he bid Peter to step out of the boat, he was bidding him to give up everything his experience told him to rely on for support and trust only in his connection with Jesus. Peter couldn’t cling to both. He couldn’t hold onto the boat and walk on water with Jesus. James and John could not follow Him and stay on the shore with their nets. Matthew couldn’t be a disciple and stay sitting in his tax collector’s booth. And neither can I. Neither can you.

Being grafted into a relationship with Jesus Christ means being cut off from all that you would cling to for safety and trusting only His word as you follow behind Him on a path that only He can really see.

There was another aspect of the grafting that struck me. In order for the newly grafted branch to take, it needs a clean, solid, tight connection to the life giving nourishment of the receiving plant. The vascular system of the graft can only bond with the vascular system of the receiving plant if it is intimately and tightly connected. Jesus made the point in John 15 that we must abide in Him if we are to have real life. He makes the point that he is the vine and we are the branches and apart from Him we can do nothing. Apart from the nourishment of the receiving plant, the graft can do nothing and it will in fact wither and die.

If we are going to grow strong in Christ we must absolutely be bonded to Him in such a way that our life’s nourishment, what feeds us and strengthens us, is His life giving Spirit.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is famously quoted as saying, “When Jesus calls a man to follow Him, He bids him to come and die.” Recently I read that quote in the context in which he wrote it in “Cost of Discipleship.” What Bonhoeffer was pointing to was the cutting off of the branch to be grafted from what had nourished and sustained it before. He is saying that all that you cling to, other than Christ, must be cut off from you. That such a life must be dead and, in fact, you must die to that life and find your life only in Christ. Bonhoeffer points out that for some they may await death as a martyr for Christ. For others not. But the dying he speaks of is not the future dying that may mean martyrdom, but the dying to yourself, and to all you cling to instead of Christ. This is a daily dying. It is a moment by moment reminding that only in Christ am I secure, only in Christ can I find safety, only in Christ is there truly life. Everything else is a counterfeit that seeks to interfere with the deep intimate bond that a well grafted branch must have.

 

Guilt

Guilt, Sin, and Forgiveness

It’s a gloomy day and the room feels claustrophobic. Heavy breathing can be contrasted to wide eyed stares as the jury and the judge claim a certain amount of ownership for the reading that is about to transpire. A verdict has been reached and the reality is, at this very moment in time, what is about to take place can never be un-done. These next few sentences prepare a man for either a life of freedom or an almost certain death.

I hope that you never find yourself in a physical courtroom awaiting such a fate but to escape guilt is indeed a problematic thing. Guilt is a powerful weapon that keeps a person confined to living in the cycles of limitation within their own nervous mind. How do I know this….because we were all born with a verdict of guilt. The hospital room that heard our newborn cries and wrapped us in warm blankets didn’t see the fate we were destined for, the birth certificate didn’t read ‘guilty offender’ and our parents didn’t see our horrific crime but make no mistake about it, we were born in a metaphorical courtroom where our verdict was a guilty one.

In the Gospel of John, we receive extra information about Jesus and the many lessons He taught. Unlike the three synoptic Gospels, the Gospel according to John tells us a compelling story about guilt. I love this story because it is the way in which Jesus sees us all. Please read along with me,

“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.” (John 8:3-6a)

It’s a sitcom drama plot for sure; a traditional conservative Jewish woman is having a foolish daytime affair with an unknown lover. Now, notice that this woman is caught in the act of adultery and dragged to Jesus. I imagine this woman’s shame as she is ripped from her bed and pulled through the streets recognizing neighbors and seeing people point and whisper at her expense. It’s a terrible way for religious leaders to behave and their motive was of course, wrong. Here, this woman is brought to the Temple. There was only one Temple for Jewish followers and to them; it would have been the most sacred place to go, so this in and of itself was a hugely embarrassing moment as she clearly wasn’t wearing her best. All of these Scriptures set the stage for her dramatic courtroom appearance where she is about to meet the judge in garments of shame. Now, Jesus was in a bit of a predicament-should He disobey the Law of Moses or keep it and have this women killed? The true Judge needs no other authority to claim but that of being God Himself, whatever He decides next is rightful justified:

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.” (John 8:6b-8)

I imagine the woman’s shocked expression. I imagine the religious leader’s faces turning bright red as the ground becomes what I would guess is a laundry list of sins detailing their own crimes. What was written…their affairs, hidden murders, betrayal of each other? Who knows? Whatever it was, it was no doubt detailed as the oldest to the youngest began to cowardly walk away. It is important to remember that in Jewish culture, elders were respected and therefore, once they began to leave it was appropriate and a given that the young would skirt away also. However, my favorite part of the story is about to be brought to the surface. Jesus and a still very guilty woman are left starring at each other. What can she say knowing that she should be trying to dodge shards of rock against her skin? Her blood should be splattered across the dirt as she slowly died a miserable guilty death. Jesus lovingly looks at her and asks her where her accusers have gone. Is no one left to punish her rightfully? Jesus is the only person who could have allowed her to pay for her sins but He knew more about her past and her future than she could ever comprehend. He leaves her with this one statement about her verdict, “I do not condemn you, Go now and leave your life of sin.”

This is a powerful story and it is meant for Christians, the religious people, just as much as those who are currently far from and God living in both guilt and shame.Depending on your background it is possible you feel you are the woman in this story. You may have met the Healer, the true Judge, the one who has forgiven and set you free but you have encountered Jesus and walked away from that moment still living in a perpetual state of guilt. The truth is that you were born into guilt….so it is not entirely your fault. Additionally, the devil can’t change your verdict of an innocent fate due to the blood of Jesus but he can still make you believe that you are your own prisoner. If you find yourself raising your hand week after week to accept Christ or constantly asking for forgiveness beating yourself up for always falling short and always feeling tied to your sins, you are forgetting the courtroom moment where your verdict was metaphorically read. When Jesus said ‘forgive them for they know not what they do,” God honored the sacrifice that was being made. For centuries, lambs were slaughtered day after day to atone for guilt. The Temple wasn’t a pristine marble building where angels sang on cathedral ceilings, it was a bloodbath! It was a constant place where sacrifice occurred to pay for guilt. However, when Jesus split his blood, the perfect Lamb of God took our guilty sentence and proclaimed, “It is finished,” and this means that the guilt ended. Perhaps, this has never fully sunk in before. My prayer is at this very moment…..it would.

Fast forward with me for a moment… It was gloomy day and the outdoor air felt claustrophobic. Heavy breathing by a perfect man could be contrasted to wide eyed stares as the people took a certain amount of ownership for the death that was about to transpire. A verdict had been reached, “the King of Kings….guilty.” The reality was, at that very moment in time, what was about to take place could never be un-done. These next few sentences prepared our Lord for either a life of freedom or a certain death. Jesus whispers, “It is finished.”