March 4, 2004
Encouragement for Today
Micca Campbell, Assistant Director of certified speakers, Certified speaker
“God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
As a little girl, I remember gazing at a picture of the crucifixion hanging on the wall in my Sunday school class. The body of Christ was thin, sagging limply to one side. His head was bowed low as blood trickled down His face from the crown of thorns. It appeared that the nails in His hands and feet were what fastened Christ to the cross. I would one day discover it was something much more than nails that held Him there. It was the love of a heavenly Father for a sinner like me.
Years later, I was a young adult when I saw the true picture of the crucifixion in the Word of God. The Bible painted a different picture of Christ’s death than the one I had known as a child. “Yet many shall be amazed when they see him—yes, even far off foreign nations and their kings; they shall stand dumbfounded, speechless in his presence. For they shall see and understand what they had not been told before. They shall see my Servant beaten and bloodied, so disfigured one would scarcely know it was a person standing there.” (Isaiah 52:14-15, LBT)
In that moment, I realized they had not simply nailed Christ to a cross, placed a crown of thorns upon His head, gashed His side with a spear, spit in His face, given him vinegar to drink, gambled for his clothes, and flogged His body with a whip - they beat Him until He became unrecognizable flesh hanging on a cross.
My mind suddenly flashed back to the first time I walked into the hospital room after my husband was burned in a house fire. Porter’s skin was completely black, his head was swollen twice the normal size and the skin on his arms was gone. He was unrecognizable!
If Porter had been told ahead of time that working in that house would result in being burned over 80%of his body, suffering for eight days, leaving his home, wife and child, and then his death, I’m sure he would have chosen not to go in. Not knowing what was ahead of him, Porter didn’t have that choice, but Christ did. Christ knew the horror of what men and women would do to Him and, yet He chose to suffer. He chose the cross. He chose to leave heaven and come to earth. Christ laid aside His royal crown and took off His righteous robe. He left His Holy Father and His heavenly home to come to the dark land of sin and corruption. The King of all Kings considered Himself nothing, a pauper at best. Born to die, He willingly paid the price for our freedom.
And yet, He was Innocent. Christ didn’t deserve death. He had never sinned. Christ never lied. He never stole anything, nor was He a drug dealer or prostitute. Christ never disobeyed authority or harbored hatred and bitterness toward others. The Son of God never judged or rejected others. He never gambled His money away nor was he a drunkard. He never spoke against His neighbor, cheated on His income taxes or betrayed a friend. No, Jesus Christ didn’t do any of these things, but we did. With fear and trembling I knew for the first time what Christ had truly done for me.
Suddenly, I saw myself at the foot of the cross. In one hand I held a hammer and in the other a whip. I, too, had nailed Christ there. It was my sin. Yet Christ was willing to die in my place as payment for all my past, present and future sins. It wasn’t man’s will or nails of iron that held Jesus there. It was the obedience of a Son and the love of a Father that held Christ on that cross. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
My friend, Christ didn’t die just for me, He died for “whosoever!” That includes you. More so, if you were the only one in the world He still would have come for you alone! Whosoever you are, a parent, a teenager, a man, a woman, a grandparent, or a child, Christ chooses you. Will you choose Him and His death on the cross as payment for your sins? Your life will never be the same.
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Lord, Thank you for paying for my sins by your death on the cross. Come into my life and make me your own. Thank you for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
First, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God born to die for your sins.
Second, turn from your sins, as if you were making a U-turn in your car, and turn toward Christ allowing Him to be the driver of your life.
Third, pray and ask God to forgive you for your sins, and then accept His forgiveness and love. Thank Him for saving your life and for a new beginning
Finally, get into a Bible believing church and share your decision to follow Christ with the pastor. Begin reading your Bible in the book of John.
Have you ever committed you life to Jesus Christ? What’s the evidence?
Have you received His forgiveness, or do you feel you have to be good enough?
Are you waiting for God to choose you? He already has - over 2000 years ago.
What impact does the cross have in your life?
Do you profess to be a believer with your mouth only, or is your life proof of what you believe?
Luke 1:47 We have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. (KJV)
Ephesians 2:8-9, For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God not of works, lest any man should boast. (NKJ)
Luke 19:10, For the Son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. (NKJ)
John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me has everlasting life. (NKJ)
2 Timothy 1:9…who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. (NKJ)
Who Holds the Key to Your Heart, Lysa Terkeurst
Living a Life of Victory, Mary Southerland
When God Pursues a Woman’s Heart, Cindi McMenamin
Originally published Thursday, 04 March 2004.