Above All

He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.

He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word.
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.
And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.       Isaiah 53:3-7 (NLT)

Lectionary Texts for Good Friday: Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Psalm 22, Hebrews 10:16-25, John 18:1-19:42

Yes, there are some pretty lengthy passages for today. But when I remember how much Jesus did for me on that Friday, I think I can give Him some time.

As I read through this passage of Isaiah, it’s hard to read with tears in my eyes. Would I recognize Jesus if I passed by Him on the street? He wouldn’t have a yellow halo over his head. He probably wouldn’t look like the sun-streaked brown-haired, blue-eyed guy I’ve seen in so many pictures. He would be ordinary.

Jesus was also God. Fully God. Fully man. The perfect sacrifice that would satisfy, atone, for my sins. Every disgusting word that was hurled at Him, He took in silence for me. Every lash of the whip, He took in silence for me. A humiliating Roman crucifixion was for me. Jesus could have satisfied the sacrifice in an easier way. But I have an example when I am humiliated, insulted, falsely accused, or even persecuted as some are in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Jesus walked that path so I would never have to blaze any trails. Jesus has always walked before me.

Psalm 22 begins with the words that Jesus cried from the cross. It goes on to testify that difficult trials may come into my life but God is faithfully by me for every step. When seemingly random, horrific things happen and I wonder, “Where is God in all of this?” I can know that He is right here.

Hebrews reminds me that right now I have been given a great blessing. I can come into the Holy of Holies and sit down and talk to God. Am I worthy? No. But I am covered with the Blood atonement of Jesus so the Father sees me as a Blood-bought child. When I cry out to Him, He hears me just as He heard Jesus from the Cross.

Take time today to find a quiet place and meditate on Jesus. Read these passages, listen and/or sing songs, and just be quiet and listen. Jesus gave His all. Choosing to give my time to Him – blesses His heart and tangibly shows my love for Him. Above all else in my life.

Above All by Paul Baloche and Lenny Leblanc, sung by Michael W. Smith 

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