Though Jesus was always in complete control and laid down his life willingly, no man being able to take it from him by force and against his will, yet, Peter says that these wicked men “slew” (killed) Jesus and hanged him on a tree (the cross). Jesus submitted to allow them to do this to him. He could have stopped it at any time, but did not, in submission to his Father’s will.
O Lord, we know that it was our sins that you bore on Calvary and that we are all guilty, therefore, of “slaying” you. Those who lash out at Jews as “Christ killers” forget that we all for whom he died are guilty of his death. It was our sins that put him there. But you laid down your life for us, you sheep, willingly. For the joy set before you you endured the cross. Let us endure our crosses too, Lord, for the joy you have set before us.
Just for a moment – before you continue to read – close your eyes and hear Jesus saying to you, “Come to me, and I will give you rest.” Did you do it? Or did you just keep reading to see what I was going to say next? If you did, how did you feel? Could you feel your shoulders relaxing? Your breathing slow?
There is a story that circulates the internet every once in a while about the man who always stops at the tree outside his home when he returns from work and then again in the morning before he head off. When asked what that was all about, he says that he leaves the cares of the day at the tree instead of carrying them into his home so that he can be at peace in his home and with his family.
Jesus is telling us today, that he is willing to shoulder our load all the time, not just at the end of a sometimes frustrating and often tiring day. He willingly takes on our burdens. Why is it that we think we have to go it alone? I know some very caring people who will go out of their way to help a stranger, let alone a friend. However, they never think that someone would be willing to help them and so they struggle alone. It’s too bad that we think that the “buddy system” is only for children. Have you noticed? Children in a line always go two by two. Why shouldn’t adults? Look around you. There are those who need someone to pray for them, to help them carry their burdens, and there are those who will gladly pray for you and help you to carry yours. Jesus is inviting us. All he asks is that we come.
Jesus Christ was given the highest place of honor, after he died and resurrected for he had accomplished what he had been set out to do. He managed to do what no man or angel could ever do – he took the fall for all mankind. What a glorious act; what an expression of love. It is wise for us to acknowledge the sovereignty that has bestowed upon Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Lord and Savior. There is great authority in the name of Jesus, which is why we pray in His name. We come to the Father, through Christ Jesus, who was our intercessor and our gateway to reconciling with the Father.
Dear God, I thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ, who died for me and set me free from all sin and iniquity. Lord, I acknowledge the lordship of Christ over my life and I pray that I never look to any other. I cannot afford to look to any other because you are the source of my strength, my guidance, and my wisdom. I will live my life praising, worshipping, and exalting the name of Jesus – the name above all names. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.