Here we are in the season of Lent, which for Christians is the forty days prior to Easter meant to remind us of Christ’s forty days of wandering alone in the desert. During that time, Jesus was obedient to God through fasting, sacrifice and prayer; he fought off all manner of temptation from Satan and he endured with obedience battles of will knowing the remainder of his days were not going to be simple. Why is this period of Lent significant to us, the faithful? We endeavor to sacrifice, to fast, to pray and to endure with willful obedience for an equal time some manner of daily temptation. We know Jesus suffered greatly for us; culminating at the Cross, where he died for our sake – though he was truly innocent, sinless and unworthy such a death. Yet he endured it all with obedience, even the horrible death by crucifixion, bearing all the weight and burden of our sin and every human sin ever committed.
When I imagine such a love as to want to take from me the weight and burden of my sin and a God who loves me so much as to want to save me from such condemnation and hell for an eternity, even though I am unable to be perfect in my humanity like Christ, I am overwhelmed! It evokes my ability through discipline and obedience to make such minor sacrifices as giving up meat, wine, coffee, sweets, etc., or fasting for a time each season of Lent as just a small measure of my recognition and gratitude for Christ’s sacrifices for me! It reminds me of God’s many faithful promises to us, His faithfulness in keeping them all; and also how all the prophesies and instruction in God’s Word remind us of our secure place within His embrace of grace regardless the world!
Jesus first told the Apostles while gathering them as such that they should throw down their fishing nets to become instead fishers of men. Then upon rising from the tomb in which he was sealed after his death upon the Cross, Jesus prophesied to them by instruction that they would go out and spread the good news of the Gospel to all the corners of the world, being persecuted and martyred for it; and though they each were persecuted and martyred for it – even put to death or exiled, think of how true this prophesy is today?! That great news of the Gospel is known all around the world still; it lives and breathes hope and light into the lives of billions and billions of people far and wide! Sadly, many are still being persecuted and martyred for their belief in Christ. But think about it . . a handful of men (the Apostles) set out in a time when there were no cell phones, no computers, no cars or jets, no ease or speed of transportation or communication, and plenty of hostile unbelievers all around them. They set about to convey to the entire world the glory of Jesus’ life and his purpose as the Messiah, his meaningful birth, the miraculous things which they had witnessed being at his side, the lessons he had taught them, his rather significant death by crucifixion, and the salvation promised at the foot of that Cross because they had witnessed him as risen. They did just as Jesus instructed them to do in His prophetic instruction, having been endowed with that same will and power of the Holy Spirit within them. And even though persecuted and martyred for conveying such wonderful and glorious news to the world, they managed to keep this message of love not only living, but thriving to this very day!
So when I think of how hard Satan persists each new day by way of those who do his work to silence and destroy the message of the Gospel, how he endeavors to negate the meaning which Christ brings to each of our lives by way of redemption, salvation and love . . or how he attempts to destroy the hope we have in living our lives each day for God’s glory, it doesn’t take me long to quiet my mind in peace again! For in my faithful assurance, I know God will have His triumph through His loving grace, his promises made and kept as well as His faithfulness to us, demonstrated each new day in infinite ways. Jesus Christ will always have the victory over death, things of this fallen, sinful earth and the ways of the enemy. The prophesies foretold centuries and millennia ago throughout God’s Word in the Bible have played out and proven to be true, assuring us as our living, breathing evidence. And they will continue to play out until the end times. God is good, He keeps His promises, though we’re surely not worth it; by His grace and through Jesus Christ we have redemption, salvation and victory over all of that as well!