Saturday, April 03, 2010

Day of Prayer and Fasting, Easter, Part 3

Guest blogger: Patsy Weinberg

(All quotations are from Max Lucado's book, He Chose the Nails, pgs. 72-75)


Evening


Scripture says little about the clothes Jesus wore. We know what his cousin John the Baptist wore. We know what the religious leaders wore. But the clothing of Christ is nondescript: neither so humble as to touch hearts nor so glamorous as to turn head. With one exception.


Read John 19: 23-25.


Scripture often describes our behavior as the clothes we wear. Peter urges us to be “clothed with humility” (1 Pet. 5:5 nkjv). David speaks of evil people who clothe themselves “with cursing” (Ps. 109: 18 nkjv). Garments can symbolize character, and like his garment, Jesus’ character was seamless. Coordinated. Unified. He was like his robe: uninterrupted perfection.

The character of Jesus was a seamless fabric woven from heaven to earth…from God’s thoughts to Jesus’ actions. From God’s tears to Jesus’ compassion. From God’s word to Jesus’ response. All one piece. All a picture of the character of Jesus.


But when Christ was nailed to the cross, he took off his robe of seamless perfection and assumed a different wardrobe, the wardrobe of indignity.


The indignity of nakedness. Stripped before his own mother and loved ones. Shamed before his family.

The indignity of failure. For a few pain-filled hours, the religious leaders were the victors, and Christ appeared the loser. Shamed before his accusers.

Worst of all, he wore the indignity of sin. Jesus was not only shamed before people, he was shamed before heaven.

Every aspect of the crucifixion was intended not only to hurt the victim but to shame him. Death on a cross was usually reserved for the most vile offenders: slaves, murderers, assassins, and the like. The condemned person was marched through the city streets, shouldering his crossbar and wearing a placard about his neck that named his crime. At the execution site he was stripped and mocked.


Since he bore the sin of the murderer and adulterer, he felt the shame of the murderer and adulterer. Though he never lied, he bore the disgrace of a liar. Though he never cheated, he felt the embarrassment of a cheater. Since he bore the sin of the world, he felt the collective shame of the world.


Jesus traded a robe of seamless purity and put on my patchwork coat of pride, greed, and selfishness, along with the wounds I’ve suffered--and the wounds I’ve caused.


Though we come to the cross dressed in sin, we leave it dressed in the coat of his strong love (Isa. 59: 17) and girded with a belt of goodness and fairness (Isa. 11:5) and clothed in garments of salvation (Isa. 61:10). Indeed, we leave dressed in Christ himself: You have all put on Christ as a garment (Gal. 3:27).

It wasn’t enough for him to prepare you a feast.

It wasn’t enough for him to reserve you a seat.

It wasn’t enough for him to cover the cost and provide the transportation to the banquet.

He did something more. He let you wear his own clothes so that you would be properly dressed.


We have all suffered the pain of some level of injustice: blamed for something we did not do, wounded pride, a cutting remark from someone we love, someone who refuses to believe you—or believe in you. Perhaps you are the one who caused the pain, intentionally or not. Maybe you are carrying the weight of unforgiveness. Give these wounds, these indignities, to the one who “felt the collective shame of the world."

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