Being a human and having flesh and blood is a wonderful thing. Every single, individual cell in our bodies was created by God. God looks at our bodies and souls as His greatest creations, because we are made in every detail in the image of the Trinity ("Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image and likeness" Genesis 1:26/NCV). Thanks to the extraordinary Hand of God, we reflect the Godhead in many ways. We have emotions; we have compassion; we can love others, to name a few. God knows what we are feeling at every step of our lives; he knows our every desire at every turn of our existence; he knows us better than we know ourselves.
Still, there are many differences between God and us. One difference above all others is that God is Spirit only. Until we get into Heaven we will not understand how God "sees", "feels", and "hears" since He does not have a body, but we know that He does all of these things with ease. The Scriptures are replete with times when "God sees", and "God commands", and "God touches" those whom He has called and instructed to do His Will.
But the biggest difference of all is that God cannot sin -- ever. This is something that we alive today cannot understand. What is it like not being able to sin? Again, we won't know until the very second we enter Heaven. Some have said that it is believed that Jesus became a man so that God could understand why we consistently sin on a second by second basis. They say that Jesus came here to find out why we cannot obey the Father's commands that were designed to keep us safe from harm and to keep us holy. These theories may sound nice, but I believe they are stated by those who are looking for an easy way out of the terror of discovering just how sinful they are and just how close to being in Hell their lives are getting. Jesus Himself clearly stated just why He took on flesh and came to this earth: "…I did not come to judge the world, but to save it" (John 12:47).
Jesus did not come to see why we couldn't stop acting so bad. He didn't come to condemn us and tell us all our faults. He didn't come to smack our hands like a parent every time we made a boo-boo. He didn't come to yell at us or send us to our rooms. No – He came to save us! That's it! He created us. Who better than the creator to understand the created? When you create something – a painting, or a toothpick Eifel Tower – you know every little detail of every stroke and the pitted, wooden surface of every toothpick you use. You alone have made the brush stroke that made the picture appear just the way you wanted it. You alone glued every toothpick into place exactly where you wanted to put it. So why do people feel that God has somehow lost touch with His creation? Why do they feel that God has forgotten them and left them all alone in their pain?
Some scientists believe that man evolved without a god. Some scientists believe that the mechanism of the cell to reproduce didn't need a "creator" to start the process of creating an entire human body made of billions and billions of individual cells. Sounds incredible doesn't it that the more intelligent a person is, the less likely they are to believe the truth? For those of us who believe the real truths that a real God has put forth, we can state clearly that we know the real reason why Jesus left His power and majesty behind to become just like us. He simply came to save us so that we could be reconciled to our Father in Heaven who wants very much to have a relationship with us, so that both of us together can enjoy each other for all eternity. Leave science behind with all its complicated equations and theories. Come to the simple truth that Jesus wants to save you and became a human to do so.
Only as a human with flesh and blood could Jesus die for us.
Hebrews 2:14-15 states that “Since the children are made of flesh and blood, it’s logical that the Savior took on flesh and blood in order to rescue them by his death. By embracing death, taking it into himself, he destroyed the Devil’s hold on death and freed all who cower through life, scared to death of death” (MSG).
Jesus had to become a human in order to bring us back to God. The Old Testament sacrifices showed that God required that blood be shed to cover the sins of the people. The first blood was shed by God to make animal-skinned clothing for Adam and Eve after they had sinned in the Garden. Once a year, all of Israel was required to come to the Temple to sacrifice a spotless lamb so God could forgive their sins. At that time, and this time only, the Priest entered the Most Holy Place where God resided in the Temple, and sprinkled the blood from these sacrifices onto the Altar, thereby where God would forgive all the sins of the people from the previous year. Also, blood would be sprinkled of the head of a goat and the goat would be sent into the wild to be eaten and die. This is where we get the word scapegoat.
But why was blood required for the forgiveness of sins? Leviticus 17:11 gives us the answer: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul” (NKJV). Our blood is where our life source is. If we bleed out our life's blood we die in a matter of seconds. As the Scripture says "the life of the flesh is in the blood." The shedding of blood signifies the cleansing of the body.
In days gone by, doctors in medieval times used to "bleed out" a patient's wounds to cleanse them from infection. It didn't always work, but they did have some success with the practice. We still do the same thing today when we drain out a pimple; when it starts to bleed you know that the puss has been flushed out and healing can begin. It is the same with our sin. The cleansing of our souls needs to be covered in the blood of Jesus. So that we could live, Jesus allowed His blood to be shed and placed it on Himself as the scapegoat for our sinful natures. Then He went into Hell to conquer death for us so that, when our blood is bled out in death, we would not have to die as sinners, but can now enter Heaven cleansed and pure because of Jesus' pure, untainted blood. The Old Testament speaks about an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, or a life for a life -- Jesus gave up His life so that we could eternally have ours.
Jesus knew He had to suffer: The prophets foretold it long ago.
There are many Scriptures that speak about the suffering of the Messiah, but none more so than the prophet Isaiah. God gave him a great revelation about how the Messiah would be treated and how and why He had to die. Let's go through each of these verses and see what the Lord will tell us about His sufferings on this earth.
Isaiah 53:3-5 reads, "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed."
What's it like to be rejected? Many of us know the pain that comes from not being accepted by those around us who we thought loved us. Sometimes we are rejected by people who have been through the pain of rejection themselves, whereby they easily learn how to reject others without realizing it. Unfortunately, some very hurt people commit suicide because they can't stand to live that way anymore. Having tried suicide five times myself, I will tell you that it is an easy way out of your pain when there is a Savior who can not only take your pain from you, but also raise you up into a life of peace and great acceptance from the Lord. But Jesus couldn't commit suicide because he would never do that and because His Father in Heaven had other plans for His pain. Jesus had to carry the pain of our sorrow and rejection around with Him, even as He spoke to the masses about loving their neighbors. Jesus is the only One in the universe who could talk about loving others while He was not being loved Himself. How many despise the Name of Jesus today? Unfortunately, too many do. The people of the day considered Jesus cursed from God because He was nailed to a cross, pierced for our transgressions (Deut. 21:22-23; Gal. 3:13). But He endured it all, the hatred and the mocking, knowing that, in His Name, we could be freed from the power of sin and temptation. By His wounds we are healed.
In Isaiah53:7 we read, "He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
When Jesus was accused of calling Himself a King, and was saying He was equal with God, during His mock trial He said not a word in His defense. He knew what the plan was and had no reason to offer His own witness. Besides, isn't what they were accusing Him of true? Is He not equal with God? Is He not the true Messiah? He knew that He was, even if they didn't want to believe His true words when He told the masses that He was sent from God. As He was being beaten and nailed to the cross did He cry out in pain? Not according to this verse. As He was being mocked and beaten, Jesus did not once open His mouth to say anything. Again, He knew the plan and how it would end.
Unlike Jesus, God does not give us the luxury of knowing where He is heading with the plans He has for our lives. Not too many of us have prophecy spoken over us, telling us exactly what God wants us to do. God expects us to start where He says to and to leave the where, why, and sometimes the how, up to Him. The articles I write started out as a book idea and will, someday, be collected into book form. At the time of its conception (1999), I didn't know what to do with the information the Holy Spirit was revealing to me, or how to use it. It wasn't until November of 2010 that He revealed to me the next step in the book's evolution. Now these articles are being read by more people than I had ever imagined would read them. God has recently revealed that He wants me to preach, something that I increasingly want to do. I don't know where God is taking me, but I trust His plan for my life. I don't know what God is doing with these articles, but I know that it will be something spectacular for those who read them. As Jesus did when He went to the cross, we just have to believe in God's plan and be obedient to His Will, and watch Him take us to heights we never thought we could ever achieve.
Finally, Isaiah 10-12 tells us, "Yet it was the LORD’S will to crush him and cause him to suffer… After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
Yes, even Jesus' soul suffered great agony when He knew that the time of the cross was upon Him. His soul cried out to God to take away the cup of suffering that He was about to endure. His pain was so great that He sweated great drops of blood. But it was God's will that Jesus not only endure the cross, but to be victorious because of it. As Jesus poured out His life for us on the cross, God was already at work restoring Him back the glory and honor that was His before He took on human flesh and lived as one of us. As Luke said in his Gospel, "…they (the prophets) said that the Christ must suffer these things before he enters his glory” (24:26/NCV). Because of Jesus' great sacrifice, His light now shines forever more within those who have called on His Name.
Jesus suffered and died to save His sheep.
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep" (John 10:14-15).
Like a shepherd, Jesus is continually gathering His people together so that they can live eternally with Him. Those of us who have already put our faith and trust in Jesus for salvation have already been gathered and given a purpose to spread to gospel of salvation to the world. As we do, Jesus calls those individuals that He wants to come to Him for salvation and eternal life. Unfortunately, some who are called will not or do not want to respond. For those who are at this point, I want to tell you that you are making a big mistake. Life without Jesus is no life at all.
If not for Jesus having called us, there are those like me who would be dead now before our time. You see, God has a date and time for every human on this planet to die. Living life with Jesus brings peace, patience, healing, understanding, and many other wonderful aspects to life that we will never see if we don't give our lives to Jesus. This is a life we are all looking for right now. Being saved doesn't just mean being saved from Hell; it also means being saved so that God can love you His way – with the full expression of love that only God can give and show. The world doesn't really know what true love is, but we're all trying to find it in whatever way we can, even if it hurts us. Love should never hurt. As a shepherd, Jesus gently gathers us into His loving arms where we are safe from the world's ways and from Satan. If you hear the Shepherd, whose suffering in the flesh has ended, calling your name, respond with a "yes", and let Him show you a life worth living. You'll never regret it. I promise.