In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
From the very beginning, Jesus is King. He is the author, creator and sustainer of life. Jesus has always been the light of the World, but King Jesus is not like the dictators or the self-exalting power broker leaders we see today. Our Savior is a humble, servant King.
The beautiful words that Paul wrote to the church at Philippi remind us of the characteristics of Christ as a servant in Philippians 2:1-11. He writes,
“If there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Jesus emptied Himself for us. He laid aside His privileges and came as a bondservant to serve man. Jesus was humbled on the cross and met the ultimate humiliation in His death. He accepted death humbly, but defeated it victoriously. The example of Christ should fuel us to be humble, sacrificial servants towards our family, our neighbors, the orphan and the vulnerable, because even in the exaltation of Jesus, he remains the model of loving service to God.
Therefore, as we remember Good Friday, we are humbled that Jesus came to suffer like us. He humbled himself to the likeness of man. He became a baby – dependent and needy. He lost greatly for our sake. However, not only did Jesus come to experience our pain, he came to bear our punishment and to die in our place so that he could free us from slavery and sin.
For every other great leader in the world, their death ended their mission, leadership, and calling. On the contrary, Jesus’ mission was to die: to die for the sins of the world.
Jesus also came to love and to show us what real love is all about. According to Jesus, to become great, you must become a servant. To be first, you must become last. Leading by love and sacrificing yourself for the sake of others, is how Jesus taught us to live.
Good Friday is foolish to those who do not know Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” What Jesus’ life taught at the cross is foreign to the unbelieving world. But to those of us who live by faith and not by sight, the cross is our only boast and the engine which drives our mission.
John Piper says in his book, Don’t waste your Life
“Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain. What was once foolishness to us—a crucified God—must become our wisdom and our power and our only boast in this world.”
But beloved, the greatest news that we celebrate this weekis not just Good Friday, but the reality of Easter morning. Jesus defeated death and the grave which ultimately is what made the cross good and beautiful.Good Friday isn’t good until Easter happened. Jesus conquered death and the grave.
And the mission to defend the fatherless is fueled by the truth of the Cross and Easter morning.
Deuteronomy 24:17-22 says,
“You shall not pervert the justice due to the sojourner or to the fatherless, or take a widow’s garment in pledge, but you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there; therefore,I command you to do this. When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over them again. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not strip it afterward. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore, I command you to do this.”
When we see Good Friday and Easter Sunday for the glory and the victory that they are, we begin to grasp howour Savior sacrificed himself for our sin, our unrighteousness, and our filthiness. Suddenly, we understand the poetry of Philippians 2 in a newly discovered way.
We reflect on the fact that we have a Savior who humbled himself to serve. Out of our love for Christ, we are compelled to love others sacrificially. We enter into the messy, the broken, and the beauty of adoption, foster care, and orphan care because we are now ambassadors of Christ. We now live with the same mind as Christ – having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind, doing nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility counting others more significant than ourselves. We look not only to our own interests, but alsonow to the interests of others including the orphan, the vulnerable child, the single mom, and the broken family.
Sweet follower of Christ: when this journey of emptying yourself for the sake of others leaves you tired, weary, and feeling alone; remember the truth of Easter. We aredependent on God as our ultimate strength. We come to Jesus like a baby. We are completely dependent on Him to serve us. We cannot live the Christian life without dependence on Him. We are not self-sufficient but God–dependent. Whether you are a believer or a pagan, we are all reliant on the God we worship at Easter. We are dependent on him for every single breath we take.
This Holy Week, may we let the sacrificial nature of Christ, thrust us into denying ourselves, taking up our Cross and following Jesus into the redeeming work of manifesting the Gospel to the least of these.
Happy Easter!!! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!