Saturday, March 30, 2013
True forgiveness is when One may pour out All the contents Of one’s heart, Chaff and grain together Knowing that The greatest of hands Will take and sift it, Keep what is worth keeping And, with a breath of kindness, Blow the rest away. Anonmymous
As the curtain was closing on the final act of His earthly ministry, Jesus was the textbook example of forgiveness – laid open.
The Word declares that Satan had nothing in Him, ZERO, NO DARKNESS and NO LEGAL RIGHTS! UNTIL, at the “Café Gethsemane” when He was served the ornate silver goblet bubbling with “our” judgment. Who was the maitre d? Was it a Principality or Power? Was it Satan himself, the one whose ultimate goal was to destroy Jesus’ and His Father’s credibility?
I believe Satan thought this was his finest hour, and he was dressed fit to kill. Was his attire, a tuxedo complete with white ruffled shirt, red bow tie, matching cumber bun, and of course, black coat and a tail? Now the smells of “Café Gethsemane” not only consisted of the lingering smells of anointing oil used to prepare Jesus’ body for burial fresh from the alabaster box, but now included the hissing, acrid, burning odors of death and Hell.
He, the ‘Accuser of the Brethren,’ this slithering epitome of evil, has now been given the God ordained opportunity to serve Jesus one simple concoction known as “the sins of the world”. The vilest depravity known to man was now being served to this spotless Lamb on a silver platter.
We cannot conceive all the ingredients in this Hellatious recipe. I believe this cup was bottomless. I believe that while Jesus was waging the warfare of faith… He had a vision. I believe there was a video replay of everything He experienced, saw, heard, tasted and smelled on the day He descended into Hell to take captivity captive. I believe He saw each one of us, by name.
This was not a pink lemonade drink cool with fruit flavored ice cubes, or decorated with fruit and mint sprigs, but I believe it was hot with Hell’s furious flames licking up the sides and top of the goblet.
Could it possibly have been the intense heat that ensued from the war between the contents of this cup and Jesus’ virgin lips that increased the intensity of sweat on His sinless, healthy body? From the time of His birth, throughout His ministry, Satan repeatedly ended up with Jesus footprints on his slimy neck. Continuously, Jesus defeated him, and he was forced to maintain his distance and position until his God appointed turn.
Now in this garden that had once been Jesus’ refuge, the mantle for the salvation of all mankind was being placed on His back.
The battle was not the decision to die for a sin filled society. That plan and procedure had been implemented when Jesus conceded at the foundation of the world. But now, the battleground was in his soul, the battle of wills, and the decision still must be determined if His flesh would yield to the will of His Father.
In order for this plan to go as preplanned, Jesus must now submit to his archrival. He must temporarily display defeat and relinquish the crown and the belt. From this point on, it was now a matter of each step He would take fulfilling His own prophecies.
Jesus very last discourse to His Disciples as He was about to ascend, was not a rehearsal of all the great miracles, signs and wonders during His earthly reign. Nor gloating over the fact He would indeed have the last laugh over the cruelty and speculation of the Religious leaders. Neither was it about how He knew that for all eternity, Satan would be eating His dust!
The issue of offences and forgiveness was the last thing on Jesus’ mind as He was ascending. Only because He did not partake of this poisonous bait was He enabled to make this trip.
Not one of the Gospels was inclusive to all of Jesus’ last commandments. Instead, Matthew’s commentary begins with the opening instructional statements and finished in John with the somber reminder that each of His disciples would in fact be faced with identical temptations but would be endued with power to overcome.
Matthew 28:18: “Go therefore and make disciples, baptizing and teaching”. Mark 16:14 –18: “Now if you take up serpents, or drink anything deadly it no longer has any power over you”. Authentication of their ministry by supernatural signs, and this declaration was now mandatory.
**The Gardens: The very first conversation the Accuser ever had with man was in the Garden of Eden to place doubt as to God’s credibility. He has slithered in and out of the Old and New Testaments dragging his accusations along with him. When the Holy Spirit ushered Jesus into the wilderness, the devil was waiting to tempt Him by doubting His own credibility and tempt Him to misuse his power at the wrong place at the wrong time. The greatest temptation was the temptation to save Himself!
The turmoil in Jesus’ mind was producing great drops of blood, slowly falling one by one, splattering on Adam’s cursed ground …that same ground that produced the crown of thorns that soon would be placed on His head. Both worlds were watching and waiting as Jesus was fighting the same battles Adam had faced in his garden. The Angels had witnessed defeat in the Garden once before.
Jesus was in the battle for His life, clutching His Father’s, and His own credibility to his drenched chest.
Satan was thrilled at the bloodletting, but all of Heaven had a secret. They knew that a supernatural real estate transaction was taking place. For every drop of blood that fell from the Redeemer’s brow another piece of the Garden experience was being redeemed! So YES, He could encourage, with authority, His Disciples to not fear any deadly thing. He had already bore the full brunt of the poison and knew His blood was the antidote. The Spirit of Truth had prevailed against the “Father of Lies”.
Luke 44 – 53: “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name”, instructions to tarry in Jerusalem until they would be endued with power, and lastly, implemented the “power of the blessing” by the raising of His hands and declaration by His mouth.
John 20:21- 23: He breathed on the Disciples for them to receive the Holy Spirit, and lastly, gave them the most crucial instructions of their lives….”If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
**He was saying “Boys you are about to experience the identical opportunities lying before you that I have just come through. Your life and service TO Me, and FOR Me will require a supernatural impartation of grace to forgive for what the church is about to do to you. You are about to be offered the opportunity to heap judgment unto yourselves if you drink the deadly cup of bitterness and un-forgiveness served by the “Offense” himself. The ultimate choice will be yours alone.
Biblical history was penning the last chapters of Jesus’ final hours.
At the end of the mock trial, the betrayal by a kiss, the physical and emotional abandonment by all of the significant males in His life (with the exception of John) including the excruciating torture – you would assume there was nothing more for Him to endure. But, never at any point during His short life span of 33 years was Jesus more human and vulnerable than when He faced His last temptation. This time not with His flesh intact, but layed open to the point He no longer resembled any human form.
Satan, now disguised, as a Roman soldier offered him the cup of gall (bitterness) one final time. Jesus refused the bait. Satan’s pressure on Jesus was un-relentless to destroy His and God’s credibility up until His last breath. This was reflected in Jesus bitter cry, “My God why hast thou forsaken Me?”
Jesus said, “IT IS FINISHED!” I came into this world branded an offense, bearing the responsibility to restore “Our” credibility. But I have overcome, and in a matter of hours the victory will be complete.
How often does Jesus have to still make the choice to forgive? Every time you ask Him!
The offended party may argue, how is it really possible to know if you have actually forgiven your enemies? There is no true forgiveness until you bear the same fruit Jesus produced during His time of ministry and betrayal… compassion. Not only was compassion His first fruit, but also the last. The fruit itself outwardly was not any different, but there was a difference…this time it was completely ripe, and mature. The fruit was now large enough for the entire human race, but palatable enough for you and me to partake and not choke.
I believe some of the detailed abuse Jesus experienced while going through the trial was unspeakable and unprintable. Hell’s fury and retaliation were unleashed against this virgin Lamb. With this choice opportunity availed to Satan, the son of perdition, you can be assured he left no stone unturned.
The one thing Jesus was NOT hung up on was self-pity or excuses by what was done to Him!
His last act of compassion and mercy was in the throes of His persecution, while He was strung high and wide. This was to remit the sins of all who had in the past, and in the future, would betray Him. All they needed to do was ask. He had done all the work.
Unforgiveness was the only thing that could have caused Jesus, the Christ, to miss eternity.
t-t-f-n (ta - ta - for - now)
Thursday, March 28, 2013
The old saying is …”One picture is worth a thousand words.” With that being said, I am allowing this illustration to depict what Easter means to me.
This particular illustration is not something I just dreamed up. This is a vision I have held deep in my heart since 1988. The night I made the initial sketch the only art supplies I owned was a small pack of inexpensive copy paper and a #2 lead pencil. I did not own a computer, and certainly did not have any working knowledge of painting digitally. This was also the same night I felt direct inspiration regarding all of the ideas that would eventually be the sum total of High Art Forms and Modern Orange.
As I contemplate all that embodies both the crucifixion, and the resurrection, I am amazed there is always another aspect of power to be revealed. I am not sure we can ever fully comprehend the magnitude of courage required to fulfill the mandate on Jesus life. It is this fresh revelation, together with the events of these last two years that have forged courage I have never experienced before.
As I read and reread the Biblical depiction of the Passover Season, I am also acutely aware of the difference in relationships birthed out of obligation versus love.
Relationships birthed out of obligation are ultimately destined to fail. The fruit of this type of relationship is inevitable; frustration, bitterness, resentment, etc. I submit that if the motivation of the cross had been anything other than love it would have been totally ineffective.
Love enabled this mortal man to sacrifice and endure the highest levels of betrayal, abandonment, abuse, and ultimately the most horrific of all acts…the Roman crucifixion. The rusty nails did not secure this spotless Lamb to the cross; it was the power of Love.
Love enables us to respond beyond the emotions of the Adamic nature. Love makes the impossible possible. Tis’ the season to forgive.
T-T-F-N ( ta-ta-for-now)