Friday, November 23, 2012

He put Himself in our hands

Judas guides the soldiers - Alexandre Bida
Judas guides the soldiers - A. Bida
TODAY'S SPECIAL: John 18:1-27

"Now when He said to them, 'I am He,' they drew back and fell to the ground." - John 18:5

Even in this darkest of moments, when one of Jesus' friends is in the act of betraying Him and another is about to deny Him, flashes of His God-essence come through. Otherwise what was it that caused these soldiers to "fall to the ground"?

"Man was not made to handle the electricity of God" someone once said (or words to that effect; I can't find the exact quote). Which makes what Jesus did when He surrendered Himself up to die for us all the more amazing. He could have immobilized that whole detachment long enough to get away. But instead, a little later when Peter did some damage with his sword in Jesus' defense, Jesus rebuked: "Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?" - John 18:11.

In a few weeks we'll be celebrating Christmas and Jesus' birth. It's more evidence of how intentionally the God of the universe put Himself in human hands as He took on human flesh and surrendered Himself to the human condition. Let's let the enormity of what He did give depth and breadth to our praise, worship, and thanksgiving.

Dear Jesus, Your life was not taken from You; You laid it down, and for me. Help me to comprehend just how amazing and wonderful this is. I thank You. Love, V. Amen.

MORE: And Can it Be?

The second stanza of the old hymn by Charles Wesley expresses today's thought so well:

"He left His Father's throne above
So free, so infinite His grace
Emptied Himself of all but love
And bled for Adam's sinful race
'Tis mercy all immense and free!
For O my God, it found out me!"

Hymn historian Robert Morgan believes this song may be the subject of Charles' diary entry on Tuesday May 23, 1738, written two days after his conversion on May 21st: "I began a hymn upon my conversion." The fourth stanza is certainly a vivid testimony of a changed life:

"Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature's night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee."

- Robert Morgan, Then Sings My Soul, pp. 44, 45.

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