Monday, June 6, 2016

“Crucified? Crowned!"

"Crucified?  Crowned!"

    Scripture calls us to expect God, that is, to anticipate His loving, detailed, and applied involvement in our lives based on the truth that "in Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28).

   "I will look for Him… My expectation is from the Lord" (Isaiah 8:17; Psalm 62:5).

    Scripture, however, also counsels us to realize that we will not always perceive or understand the way in which God will work in His active devotion to us.  We know that He will act on our behalf.  We frequently don't know how He will do so.  

    "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:9).

    Israel long awaited her Messiah.  He came, but not as she expected in His first advent.  "The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28).  Thus, the Lord's chosen earthly nation crucified rather than crowned her king.  "Ye killed the Prince of life" declared the Apostle Peter, raising the personal question for us all: are there graces of Christ's presence and involvement in our lives that do not fit our concept of how we expect God to work?  Do we thus resist, as it were, the coming of the Messiah to us?  We can figuratively nail the Lord Jesus to a tree no less than Israel literally did so when "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not" (John 1:11).  If He comes in ways we do not expect, or that are unpleasant to us, the temptation to reject His working lies before us in alluring enticement.  Let us therefore open our eyes, even as we bow our heads in seeking our Lord in this vital matter:

   "Heavenly Father, are there blessed bestowals of Christ in our lives that we rather view as intrusions of irritation, misery, and despair?  Has the Lord Jesus come unto His own again, only to again be rejected rather than received?  Are we failing to remember that the Savior still often comes in the servant's garb rather than the warrior's mail?  Are You revealing Christ in our lives in some way and manner that we completely fail to see?  If so, open our eyes, convict and convince our hearts, and lead us to crown rather than crucify the Lord Jesus.  We pray in His blessed Name, Amen."

    We rightly expect the fact of God's loving involvement.  We must also rightly realize that His ways are not ours, and that much of His working in our lives still reflects the light of Christ's first coming rather than the second.  "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our  body" (II Corinthians 4:10).  Let us state the truth in its most stark terms: had the Messiah come as His people desired, in regal royalty rather than suffering servitude, we would have been condemned to a lost eternity.  In similar fashion, if the Lord Jesus came to us now in ways always pleasing to our flesh, so very much of God's faithful provision and working to conform us to the image of Christ could not happen.  We presently need the nature of the First Coming at least as much, if not more, than the power of the Second.  Thus, let us expect God.  And let us expect that He will often work in ways known only to those who trust His heart when they cannot understand His hand.

"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment."
(John 7:24)

Weekly Memory Verse
     Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
(Hebrews 12:11)

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