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Friday, March 5, 2021

Eternity in our Hearts

As soon as I looked up this verse from Ecclesiastes, I was reminded that one other verse comes up with the same search. The words I used were “eternity” and “heart”. 

This is what I was looking for: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”[1] 

This consideration that, “he has put eternity into man’s heart,” amazes me, and all the more as the finish line grows closer every day. 

The one other verse that came up with that search was this: “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.’”[2] 

We cannot escape this connection between God putting eternity into our hearts and God inhabiting eternity. In his own words, he inhabits both the eternity that is his home and the life of the person who is contrite and lowly of spirit. 

The history of man begins with this action of God: “then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”[3] 

What are human beings made of? Dust, dirt, soil.[4] 

Where did our life come from? The God who created us breathed into us the breath of life. 

What did the breath of life do to us? It made man a living creature. 

We all know that man is also a dying creature. Death came into the world because of sin. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,”[5] and, “the wages of sin is death.”[6] Sin destroyed the highest good of the life we were given, which was to walk with God our Creator. 

So now we have a creature that is both “dead in trespasses and sins… by nature children of wrath,”[7] and yet still with eternity in our hearts telling us we were made for more. At the same time, we have the God who inhabits eternity looking for the poor in spirit with whom he can live. 

But how do we get past death? What does it matter that eternity is in our hearts if our sins have killed us in one way and brought a death sentence over us in another way? 

The only hope for the world is that the same God who breathed into man the breath of life has also sent his Son into the world to restore us to life. 

When Jesus entered the world, he arrived with this declaration: “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”[8] 

In Jesus was life. When Jesus breathed into the first man the breath of life, he was giving man the life that was in him. When Jesus came into the world of zombies that were living in death, the reality of life was still in him. And, for spiritually dead-man-walking people, this was the great light that would lead us back to life. 

So, what is the good news of great joy to the people living in darkness? 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”[9] 

This is the light, folks. God so loved the world of spiritual zombies that he gave us his only Son, the Creator who breathed into us the breath of life in creation, and through believing in Jesus Christ as Creator and Savior we will no longer perish in our sins but “have eternal life”, the life Jesus breathed into us in the beginning. 

God’s promise is that, “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.”[10] 

He says that eternal life is “that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”[11] 

Knowing the only true God and his Son begins with the God who inhabits eternity also coming into the lives of the poor in spirit who receive him, giving us eternal life now so that we begin getting to know him, and one day taking us to his dwelling place where the eternity he has already placed in our hearts will be fully satisfied in his presence forever. 

I urge you to look into the Book of Life, the Bible, the breathed-out words of God, and let your heart humble itself before him to admit that you are dead and dying without Jesus, and that you want to receive the life that is in the Son of the living God. 

As it is written, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”[12] 

The worst part of the coronavirus is the possibility that it could kill us. However, even this is no match for Jesus. He is “the resurrection and the life.” Whoever believes in him, “even though he die, yet shall he live.”[13]

 

© 2021 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8

Email: in2freedom@gmail.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

 

 



[1] Ecclesiastes 3:11

[2] Isaiah 57:15

[3] Genesis 2:7

[4] This is easily verified by what we turn back into when we die!

[5] Romans 3:23

[6] Romans 6:23

[7] Ephesians 2:1-3

[8] John 1:4

[9] John 3:16

[10] John 3:36

[11] John 17:3

[12] John 20:30-31

[13] See John 11:25-26 (in context of John 11:1-57)

Monday, February 15, 2021

The Grace That Does For Others

For a while I have been exploring the theme of doing things for the sake of someone else. I realize that this comes down to three general expressions.

First, there is what God does for our sakes. Second, there is what we do for God’s sake. Third, there is what we do for the sake of others because of what we are doing for God’s sake (which happens to be our response to what he is doing in us for our sakes).

This morning, the thing that is standing out is the connection between the activity of the grace of God (for our sakes) and what we end up doing for the sake of others (God and people together). It began here:

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor,
so that you by his poverty might become rich.[1]

What stood out is that “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” was expressed in what he did “for your sake”. Grace is God’s undeserved favor actively working in our lives for good. Paul is reminding the believers of this in the greatest expression of grace ever, that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, made himself poor in earthly standing, submitting to servanthood and the humiliating death of crucifixion.

However, there is a pattern in this we need to notice, that God’s grace was expressed in doing something undeservedly good for others with the aim of bringing about an experience of goodness to the measure of God’s good, acceptable and perfect will.[2]

We find that this is the pattern expressed in the very familiar description of salvation:

For by grace you have been saved through faith.
And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.[3]

This gives the big picture of what it looks like when God’s undeserved favor touches lives. It first awakens to the life of faith, and then it sends us on our way doing the good works we were designed to express.

This being true, what would we see happening wherever God’s grace was actively working? The workmanship of God (the church) expressing the good works we were designed to walk in.

When I began looking at the context of the initial verse, I discovered that this was exactly what Paul described.

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.[4]

Paul is talking about “the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia”. How did he know the grace of God was evident? In the extreme expression of generosity towards others.

If we looked at this without the grace of God, we would have a bunch of people going through “a severe test of affliction” in their own strength, thinking of themselves and how hard it was for them, perhaps becoming overwhelmed with depression and hopelessness because nothing was working their way, and then scrimping and saving every morsel of everything they had to eke out a living and take care of their own.

However, when we look at this through the activity of the grace of God what do we see? We see people going through “a severe test of affliction,” responding with “their abundance of joy”, combining this with “their extreme poverty” so that they “overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.”

The point is that Paul attributes the joy and generosity to the grace of God that was at work in these people, and the way he knew that God was doing something for their sakes was the way he was leading those people to do something abundantly generous for the sake of others.

I cannot escape the imagery of the vine and the branches that Jesus uses to teach us how to abide in him.[5] There is no doubt that there is a saturation of grace in our lives when the eternal Son of God wants us sinners to have the experience of abiding in him.

However, what Jesus describes as giving the Father glory is that the branches bear much fruit.[6] The grace that Jesus flows into our lives in the way a vine sends its sap through the branches is for the purpose of the branches bearing fruit in the lives of others.

I can already see that II Corinthians 8 is going to be a fascinating and transforming expression of grace in that it shows me so much of what God is doing right now to actively lead me into undeserved blessings of his favor. However, it is already standing out that God was bringing people together into so many interwoven relationships to express his grace in good works that I know that his grace through his word is leading me and you to do the same.

No wonder Paul concludes his description of “the surpassing grace of God upon you”, by declaring his praise, “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” The grace of God had united so many people then, and through the record of those interactions continues to unite people today in the activity of God, that whatever we participate in that weaves together what God is doing for our sakes, what we are doing for his sake, and what we are doing for the sake of others on his behalf, can only be explained as an expression of God’s “surpassing grace”.

What do I expect to happen as a result of what God is speaking to me/us about? That we will feel the Spirit moving us to actively bless others in Jesus’ name, and that we will have divine appointments with people that God personally chooses to share in the grace of God with us. As we express our attachment to God in faith, and our attachment to others in love, we will find that Jesus’ joy is graciously filling our own joy to the full, enhanced by the joy of being part of returning others to joy, which then blows our minds as we realize how that leads us into greater joy than any self-centered pursuits have ever accomplished.

And when we see all that happening in real life relationships, we will know the grace of God is being poured out among us.

 

© 2021 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8

Email: in2freedom@gmail.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

 

 



[1] II Corinthians 8:9

[2] As seen in Romans 12:1-2

[3] Ephesians 2:8-10

[4] II Corinthians 8:1-2

[5] This is found in John 15 (particularly John 15:1-11) which is part of Jesus’ final teachings to his disciples immediately prior to his arrest and crucifixion as recorded in John 13-17.

[6] John 15:8

Saturday, January 23, 2021

George Orwell, John Lennon, and Real Life

Do you believe George Orwell’s prophecies[1] that our world will become increasingly under the domination and rule of big brother? What about John Lennon’s imaginary world[2] where there’s no heaven, no hell, no countries, no religion, no killing or dying, just a brotherhood that makes “the world live as one”?

It doesn’t matter if we have a pessimistic view of a world ruled by big brother or an optimistic view of a world ruled by an unrealistic brotherhood, the same thing is missing. The God who created man in his own image and likeness is gathering to himself a people of his very own that he can restore to the image and likeness of his Son and no one can stop him.

Let’s consider what Jesus promised to do throughout all the course of history that makes both the Orwellian and Lennonian worldviews incomplete in a heading-in-a-deadly-wrong-direction kind of way.

When Jesus was telling his disciples about what he was doing, he summarized it like this: “on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”[3]

On the rock-solid faith of that band of disciples, Jesus would build his church. It would be “the household of God”, “a holy temple in the Lord,” “a dwelling place for God by his Spirit.”[4] And, because it would be Jesus doing the building, this will continue taking place all the way through the last days no matter how many big brothers and brotherhoods are attempted.

The problem with both Orwell and Lennon is that they were dead to their Creator. Their worldviews leave out the one person who makes reality what it is.

On the Orwellian side, big brother cannot stop Jesus from building his church even under the most severe dictatorships and totalitarianism the world has ever seen. The church that flourished in the evil’s of the Roman Empire, the sinfulness of the Jewish religion, and the fairy tale world of Greek and Roman mythologies, is flourishing in countries that are trying the big brother method of stamping it out.

On the Lennonian side, there is no loving brotherhood that will ever get along so well apart from knowing and loving Jesus our Creator that the whole of humanity will unite under such a banner. There will always be people in the world that are hearing Jesus’ voice and following him where he leads, and they will never be satisfied with the Christless world of a fading Beatlemania.

In God’s Book he states the distinction like this: “Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.”[5]

Even though evil men and nations do appear to put God’s children to shame by taking their land and houses, putting them in prison, disowning them from families, denigrating them to the lowest castes of society, or even broadcasting their beheadings for all the world to see, and even though evil people and nations seem to get away with their prideful celebrations of sin, God has decreed the final act of the play.

When Jesus returns to gather those who belong to him, those who trusted in him will not be put to shame, while those who willingly worked against the divine plan will be ashamed forever. At one and the same time, Jesus’ brotherhood will enter into his joy for eternity, while,

the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hide themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”[6]

It doesn’t matter whether the world of the time has achieved more of an Orwellian big brother totalitarianism that has horribly persecuted Jesus’ church for refusing to bow to its deception, or more of a Lennonian brotherhood that has denounced and oppressed Jesus’ church for refusing to let the world ride its yellow submarine into Utopian oblivion, all who have rejected Jesus the Creator, no matter whether leader or follower, will cower at the appearing of the unstoppable Savior who comes as King and Judge of all.

There is coming a time 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.”[7]

Everyone who bullied or believed the big brother lie will bow before Jesus and confess that Orwell was wrong and Jesus the Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. Everyone who bullied or believed the imaginary brotherhood will bow before Jesus and confess that Lennon was wrong, there can be no unity apart from Christ, and the Son of God is King of kings and Lord of lords forever.

When Jesus was introduced to the world, he came with this description: “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.”[8]

Both Orwellian and Lennonian movements have tried to stomp out Jesus’ church. However, since Jesus is the one building it, and in him is the light of life, “he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”[9]

And, with Jesus himself interceding for those he is saving, not even the gates of hell can stop him from building his church. The only issue for you is whether you are joining Jesus in his work.

 

© 2021 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8

Email: in2freedom@gmail.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

 



[1] Referring to George Orwell’s book, 1984, published in 1949.

[2] Referring to John Lennon’s song, Imagine, presented in the album by the same name in 1971.

[3] Matthew 16:18

[4] All of this is found in Ephesians 2:11-22.

[5] Psalm 25:3

[6] Revelation 6:15-17

[7] Philippians 2:10-11

[8] John 1:4-5

[9] Hebrews 7:25 (NIV)

Friday, January 22, 2021

The Faith That Has So Much Going For it

There are some people who had to live by faith and hope in Yahweh-God without a history of people already doing so.[1]

Noah may have been the first to face an assignment from the Creator in which he had to take God’s word as truth without any testimony of people who had already done so. God told him to build an ark to save his family and a sampling of all God’s creatures from a coming worldwide flood. This was at the same time as all of Noah’s extended family were making the earth such an evil place that they were the reason the judgment of the Flood was on its way! 

The next person who stands out is likely the most well-known of those who lived by faith. The world’s three major religions all identify him as the Father of their beliefs and way of life.[2] Abraham lived many generations after the Flood of Noah’s day, and well after God separated humanity into groupings based on language.[3] 

Without any further interactions with humanity than what Abraham would have heard about regarding Noah and Babel, God suddenly appeared to Abraham and promised him both a land and a people.[4] Abraham would have to believe God for a land that would not be his to possess in his lifetime, but would belong to his descendants hundreds of years after his death. He would need to believe God for a great people and nation even while his wife, Sarah, was barren and could not have the child who would begin the journey. As everyone knows, Abraham believed God, and Israel’s history proves God’s faithfulness. 

As we look back on Abraham, we ourselves have a few thousand years of prophecies that have already been fulfilled. We also have Abraham’s example of faith cheering us on as we seek to live by faith today. His testimony is, “Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.”[5] 

The issue for Abraham is the same as for us. It revolves around three P’s. 

The first is “promised”. Everyone who lives by faith does so on the basis of promises that have been made by our Creator to his people. God promised Noah a flood was coming, and that the ark would save him and his family. God promised Abraham a land and a nation. Both had sight-based reasons to doubt anything would happen, but they had something we have today, which are promises from God. 

The second is “power”. We may believe someone fully intends to keep their promise but know that things could happen that are beyond their ability to control.  

When we are dealing with the promises God has made, we are also dealing with the fact that God has the power to do what he promised. Abraham knew that even without a trail of testimonies proving it true in real life experiences. We now have oodles of prophecies and fulfillments showing God both faithful and powerful at doing what he says, and so we can believe that the promises not yet fulfilled will certainly come to pass. 

And, the third is “persuaded”. God’s promises and his power to perform them are just as real for us today as for anyone who experienced his work throughout the millennia. The clincher is whether we are persuaded in our own minds that the promises we are waiting on will happen just as certainly as the ones that are already embedded in history. Abraham believed God; his believing God’s promise was credited to his account as righteousness, and his example calls us to do the same.[6] 

Now, let’s contrast what men like Noah and Abraham would have experienced without a history of faith-building testimonies with our present-day experience. Not only do we have testimonies that include Noah and Abraham, but God has added so many direct prophecies about things that were to happen in the future but with their fulfillments already behind us. In a sense, living by faith today is easier than ever. 

We even have the word of God that was saturated with prophecies about the coming Messiah’s life, death and resurrection, and the fulfillment of salvation in which people like us can be born again by faith, born into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, so that we are living IN the realities that were once promised. 

We also have the Holy Spirit poured out into the church so that we are empowered to live the life of faith with the personal presence of our Savior with us always. God simply wants us to live by faith in him each day with our hope settled that the things still future for us are just as settled as the things that were once future to Noah, Abraham, Moses, the prophets, and even the disciples. 

I will close with this reminder that, “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”[7] Noah believed what God spoke to him. Abraham believed what God said. They both heard the word of Christ and that was enough for them to trust him in faith. 

The most influential thing on your faith is hearing the words of our Savior through the Scriptures on a daily basis. It is as we hear Jesus speaking to us through his word that we not only know his will, but feel faith rising within us to put his words into practice. 

© 2021 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8

Email: in2freedom@gmail.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

 



[1] Yahweh is a transliteration (sounding-out) of the Old Testament name God gave his people to use when addressing him. In our English Bibles it is presented as “the LORD” (notice the all-caps), which misrepresents what God breathed-out as his divine name, not a title of authority. However, in God’s grace and mercy, he now uses this error to identify that Jesus Christ is “Lord”, affirming the deity of our Savior, the name by which we are saved (see Acts 4:12).

[2] Judaism, Islam and Christianity all identify Abraham as central to their religious beliefs, albeit with different understandings of the role that Abraham plays in how we live today.

[3] You can read the historical account of this in Genesis 11:1-9, leading to the genealogy from Noah’s son Shem all the way to Abraham in Genesis 11:10-32.

[4] Genesis 12 and following.

[5] Romans 4:20-21

[6] Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23; Galatians 3:23-29

[7] Romans 10:17

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Agapè-love Crucified

Morning time with God: Part 1

 

As soon as I woke up this morning, the Spirit showed me today’s lesson: that the whole while Jesus was being despised and rejected of men,[1] he was demonstrating the agapè-love of God through everything he endured.[2]

This is unfathomable to me. Jesus was the only person who lived such a righteous life that he was not only worthy of our respect and admiration but was worthy of our worship and attachment as Immanuel, “God with us”.[3]

And yet, when he experienced utter despising and rejecting from the people he himself had created, he responded with unceasing, unfailing, and undiminished agapè-love.

 

Morning time with God: Part 2

 

As I was typing this out in a sharing email to our home church, God expanded this for me in a very helpful and encouraging way.

It started with me clarifying that the love Jesus expressed to his brothers, the love he expects us to express towards one another, is indeed the agapè-love that has been so central to our understanding of attachment to God.

I now summarize agapè-love as the distinctive love that seeks God’s best for someone. It is the love Jesus told his disciples to have for our enemies. It doesn’t require attraction whatsoever in order to have a genuine desire for an opponent to know God’s very best.

In the following Scriptures, I am simply identifying that each time Jesus refers to love, it is agapè-love. In other words, he is not telling us to have the affectionate love of friendship, or the affectionate love of family, or the affectionate love of marriage (even though in English we use the same word “love” for all these attachments).

Instead, when we understand that he was using a very distinct word in the Greek language, “agapè”, we can get a sense of how this love transcends normal affections (while making each of the appropriate affections rise up to their highest expression), and calls us to see people through the eyes of God’s perfect goodness.

On the night of Jesus’ arrest, as he prepared his disciples for the impending trauma they would experience because of his suffering (how agapè-loving is that!), look at how central agapè-love was to him: 

  • “A new commandment I give to you, that you agapè-love one another: just as I have agapè-loved you, you also are to agapè-love one another.”[4]
  • “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have agapè-love for one another.”[5]
  • “This is my commandment, that you agapè-love one another as I have agapè-loved you.”[6]
  • “You are my friends if you do what I command you.”[7]
  • “These things I command you, so that you will agapè-love one another.”[8] 

When Jesus told the disciples that they would be his friends if they did what he commanded, he wasn’t saying that we prove our friendship by obedience. He wasn’t saying that, if we are his friends, we will keep the Ten Commandments.

No, what he was saying was that, as they were about to witness God showing “his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”,[9] the way they would walk with him in friendship was if they became like him in agapè-loving others.

Have we not seen this, that groups of friends unite around similarities? People are friends because they share the same interests, values and worldviews.

So, Jesus was not telling his disciples that they could attain the level of friendship with him if they met the requirements of obeying everything he ever commanded.

No, he was telling them that his whole focus, the thing he commanded, the thing that someone would need to have in their lives to share the same interests, values and worldview as Jesus, was showing the same agapè-love to one another as he was expressing to them.

 

Morning time with God: Part 3

 

What is the connection between Jesus showing unceasing, unfailing, and undiminished agapè-love through the whole time he was despised and rejected of men, and Jesus calling us to agapè-love one another as he has agapè-loved us?

Simply that his expectation that we agapè-love one another would include every time we feel despised and rejected by others, particularly those who claim to walk in the agapè-love of Christ.

Does that mean we are to suppress all our feelings of hurt and heartache when we are despised and rejected by family, friends and fellow believers?

No. That’s the whole point of connecting the dots, that our sympathetic high priest knows our weakness when we are despised and rejected because he endured the same temptations as ourselves, but without every sinning.[10] Him being “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief[11] tells us that he associates very well with the sorrows and griefs of his brothers.

 

Morning time with God: Conclusion

 

Jesus’ life of love carries with it the sense of, “You go, and do likewise.”[12] This comes out clearly in the exhortation to, “be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”[13]

The agapè-love that God demonstrated on the cross, and exemplified in the gracious gift of redemption, is the same love we are to have for everyone, even when it involves being despised and rejected of men. And, since Jesus already gave us his example, and the Holy Spirit is with us to enable us to do the will of God, we can certainly tell God we are willing to go and do likewise, and then accept whatever changes God will make to transform us into the likeness of his Son.

 

© 2021 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8

Email: in2freedom@gmail.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

 

 



[1] Isaiah 53:3

[2] Romans 5:8 (agapè-love is the distinctive Greek word used for the love of God, and the love God calls his children to express to him, one another, and even our enemies).

[3] Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23

[4] John 13:34

[5] John 13:35

[6] John 15:12

[7] John 15:14

[8] John 15:17

[9] Romans 5:8

[10] Hebrews 4:15

[11] Isaiah 53:3

[12] This was Jesus’ conclusion to the parable of the Good Samaritan. As it was the one who showed mercy to the injured man who truly loved his neighbor, Jesus called people to do likewise in all their dealings with one another.

[13] Ephesians 5:1-2

Saturday, January 9, 2021

The Best and the Worst for Jesus


You know how our immature little hearts like to think that we have endured worse things than anyone else? Even seniors are known to compete over whose surgery wins the award for worst experience ever. We want our good stuff to be the best and our bad experiences to be the worst as if we gain our status from what we have gone through.

Today it has been a special ministry to me to face the Lord Jesus Christ who knows the best and the worst more intensely than I can imagine.

Think about it. As the image of the invisible God and the radiance of his glory, living in the eternal realm with his Father where they share the fullness of joy and pleasures of attachment that continue forever, Jesus knows the perfection of love and joy and peace beyond our capacity to feel or comprehend.

On the other hand, when Jesus was “despised and rejected by men,”[1] the extreme contrast between what he deserved and what he received was so unthinkably huge that I am in wonder at the divine seashore knowing I can never fathom the depths of what this would feel like.

I think of the eternal Son of God who radiates “joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory”[2] coming into our world to experience life as “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” and my mind is blown trying to understand such an extreme contrast of experience.

When I know that the Lord Jesus Christ is the way that God would “make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you,” and the one through whom he would “lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace,”[3] and yet he would be “as one from whom men hide their faces,” I know I am in the presence of greater injustice than I have ever experienced.

And, to have the One who “has made everything beautiful in its time,”[4] experience being “despised, and we esteemed him not,” puts the brain into shock with the horror of the discrepancy. How is it possible that the one who has given humanity the best of what it has ever known then experience from humanity such a lack of esteem for who he is and what he has done that we would sink to the extreme of despising him? How is that possible?!!!

And now I grapple with this wonder, that such a Savior as this has “searched me and known me.”[5] So when he finds that I despise him by preferring my dusty reflections to his eternally glorious thoughts, he has already felt being despised to such an extreme that I can know my sin of scorning him is forgiven.

When he investigates my soul and sees the attachment-pain of one who has been despised and rejected of other specks of dust, he feels such real knowingness of what that feels like that my tiny experience of heartache is comforted by his superabounding love and grace and mercy.

I tremble to even let myself consider such a thing, but when he who searches hearts and minds sees into my hidden places where I feel like a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and he reveals himself to me as one who has felt and experienced these things more intensely than I can imagine, I feel the comfort of not only the divine God who is perfect in his overflowing sympathies, but this wonder of reality that Jesus KNOWS WHAT I FEEL LIKE!!!

The horrifying thing is that Jesus is still “despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief”. People are still hiding their faces from him as if he is contemptible. They still despise him instead of giving him the esteem he deserves as Creator, Savior and Lord.

What comes over my soul in a fresh way is that Jesus wants me to feel him sharing in my heartaches as the man of sorrows who is acquainted with any kind of grief I have experienced, so that I can “rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”[6]

And the reason I can share in Christ’s sufferings now with my hope set on the day that Jesus’ glory is revealed is because he has already spoken to me the things that will cause his joy to flow into me and my joy to be filled to the full,[7] and one day soon I will enter into the joy of my Master forever.

 

© 2021 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8

Email: in2freedom@gmail.com

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

 

 

 

 



[1] Isaiah 53:3

[2] I Peter 1:8

[3] Numbers 6:22-27

[4] Ecclesiastes 3:11

[5] Psalm 139:1

[6] I Peter 4:13

[7] John 15:11 (in context of John 15:1-11)