Vol. 8-32 – 08-06-2023 – It’s Saturday; Always Seeking
We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. we know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over Him. for the death He died to sin, once for all, but the life He lives He lives to God. So, you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ. –Romans 6:6-11
When we read the account of “Good Friday” it does not portray good things. We were not there, but we read about it. And we saw a movie. When we saw the movie, we reminded ourselves that there was make-up, artificial blood, and acting that simply sought to portray the real.
It was really a horror film. It even demeans what we read.
The man, Jesus, is a friend of sinners. He ministers to the poor, the sick, and those who are treated unjustly. Jesus, the Christ confronts the religionists and the corrupt government officials. His wisdom overpowers.
Interestingly, the story shows how He loves His mother; cares for her. You would think that He would have the respect of all. That word, all, is significant. I had a professor that told the class that all means all, and that’s all, all means. (Strange the little tidbits we remember from our illustrious professors.)
Who would have thought that one of His own band of disciples would betray Him? Make arrangements for Him to be arrested. In the movie, Judas becomes portrayed by Satan himself; a villain, dark, thinking he will win. He does not win.
And then Jesus dies.
I thought movies were supposed to have happy endings. Stories too. It is not happy. He is laid in a tomb. The tomb is sealed. It is horrific. Odd word, happy. People are always saying they want to be happy. God recommends His joy. Happiness and joy are not the same. Happiness is tied to events; it comes and then goes. Joy is tied to who God is; therefore, it has an eternal quality.
If we were to view a movie on Sunday, entitled Resurrection Day, our hearts would be moved with a kind of emotion we would never forget. For when He rises, alive for scads of people to see, we might clap in such a movie. Sadly, most people would not go to that movie.
Paul tells us that we who believe died with Him on that Good Friday. We gave up our self-concern to be His children. Turned our backs on the person we used to be. Surrendered. Submitted. We were set apart. Things were all new. The Scriptures tell us how our future days will turn out. We get a new set of clothes. And new bodies.
In between Friday and Sunday is Saturday. It was a time of deep mourning. Jesus lay behind a stone, sealed by the Roman government. It was a Saturday for faith because there was no sight of Jesus. He said He would return. He did. He will again. Both are true.
We get to live on Saturdays, the day between Friday and Sunday. What are we going to do with it?
I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. –1 Corinthians 15:9-10
Paul was not at the crucifixion. He was on the road to Damascus when he met Jesus, the Christ, who pointedly asked Paul why he was persecuting Him (Acts 9:5). Can you imagine such a confrontation?
Have you experienced a confrontation with Jesus, the Christ?
Paul thought himself to be a Pharisee of Pharisees. Special. Intelligent. Scholar of the OT. Trained and brought up in the best of circles. Readied for a religious position. Showed his Jewish qualifications through abuse of the People of the Way. He is stunned on that road.
The Messiah he looked for was to be a conquering king, freeing the Jews from the Roman yoke. Re-establish them as the elite of the world. God has a different plan. To seek and save the lost. Not only those who are Jews but the Gentiles as well.
So, Paul meets Jesus. Why? Because our God is a seeking God. He chases with His love, grace, and mercy. He does not give up. The only cut-off is for those who die without surrendering to Christ.
Paul learns from seeking God. He is re-trained on the backside of the desert. Interestingly, the training takes about the same time as a seminary student’s training today. He learned well that Jesus is the Messiah. That there is sure hope in Jesus the Christ. He had missed it. But no longer. He is all in.
In his blinded state, he sits. He gets the gift that keeps on giving—guilt. But God removes it. The guilt. He could have met the Messiah earlier. But he did not.
Amazingly, he met Jesus, the Christ in a sight-blinding Damascus Road experience. He was left to contemplate in darkness for several days. Then he met Ananias who came to his aid. Healed by someone he tried to destroy. An eye-opening experience.
This one who was chased by God has countless encounters with the lost. His trail is flooded with those who come to Christ.
Who is on your trail?
We do not and cannot save ourselves. Salvation is only available through God (because of the sacrifice of His Son). We die with Christ to reign with Christ. In between our decision to follow after Christ, we live by faith, not by sight. Between. That means there is a coming day when we will live in full sight of Jesus, the Christ.
Why should we, then, be captivated, and entrenched, in the world system that will one day be burned up? Imagine for a moment what it will be like in eternity. Picture it in your mind and heart. Desire that time when you will see Jesus.
If you live with guilt, commit it. Commit (Psalm 37) in Hebrew means to roll it over and let it go. God is ever able to care for that guilt. Too often we let our lingering guilt silence us in speaking the Gospel. Our guilt is part of our own personal story to help others come to understand what Christ has done. God makes a difference in our lives when He comes in. Transforms us.
If we choose to live a life filled with regret and shame, after being told we are forgiven in Christ, how then will we speak to others about our seeking and saving God?
Live in the victory that Jesus, the Christ, secured for you on the cross.