The picture to the left is of shadows that dance in the corner of my living room wall many mornings as I light a candle and curl up onto the sofa to sip coffee. It's 5:30 am; too early and dark to sit on the porch! The house is quiet...calm...it's my time to visit with my Savior. This is my morning ritual when I'm up early. I first noticed the shadows about a month ago. If you look closely, you will see the cross on the right and the shadow of the lamp on the left. It was then that God whispered into my ear. "See the cross? I suffered there for you! My hands and feet were nailed to a cross." "Look closer at the shadows," He said. "Do you see the challis?" (the shadow of the lamp) "It is much bigger, Lord" I said. "Why do you want me to notice that it is larger than the cross? What do you want to show me?" Then my spiritual eyes and heart was opened to think and go deeper! Jesus prayed in the Garden that this cup would pass from Him, although not His will be done but the Father's. Jesus, in the upper room, broke the bread and shared the wine. Take, eat, this is my body given for you. Take, drink, this is the new covenant in my blood. Do this in remembrance of me! It wasn't the cross or His suffering that saved me (though that played a huge part), it was His blood and His sacrificial death - the cup! God wanted to get my attention. "Think about all that I sacrificed" He seemed to say.
I've been preparing to share a different topic this week, but the Holy Spirit led me to change it Wednesday night! I've had the cross on my mind for weeks now, and about the Savior's love. Then I heard another whisper from Him, "Go deeper!...I want to show you more!" So what you are about to read is what He has been showing me. Really, it's simple and perhaps you have already had many of these thoughts and insights. I had not thought about the sacrifice of Jesus, God's only Son in this way. It was a paradigm shift for me! I hope it is fresh and new for you. Stop and take a moment to pray before you read any further. Ask Him to speak to your heart, see through a Holy lens, and go deeper still...with Him.
I closed my eyes and imagined Jesus, my Lord, God's only begotten Son, on the old rugged cross. I began to see Him from head to toe, front to back, His middle, side to side, inside and out. Then, deeper; His dignity, His will, His emotions, His appearance, and His clothes.
Head, Will, and Authority:
On His head was a crown of thorns. We know according to scripture that the crown of thorns was a mockery from the soldiers (Matt. 27: 27-32). Jesus had submitted and turned Himself over to earthly authority of government and to the will of His Father in heaven. He sacrificed His head, and His will (Matt. 26:42). In comparison, we must die daily, also sacrificing and submitting our head and mind to God. "A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways" and "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God..." James1:8, 5 How is your thought life? Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. (Phil.4:8) We also should submit to authority 1 Peter 2:13 "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human authority..." But more importantly, to God (James 4:7)
I then thought about His hands that were nailed; sacrificed. Both the right hand and the left hand. He used those hands to serve. He washed the feet of the disciples. He cooked on the beach. He lifted Peter up. He touched eyes and ears, and healed with His hands. He served bread, wine, and fish. I imagine Him helping Zacchaeus out of the tree, lifting the chin as she washes His feet with perfume, knocking on his friends door and putting a small child on His knee. All acts of service! From the right hand to the left hand and from the east to the west, our hands should also serve one another. (Gal. 5:13) "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might..." (Ecc. 9:12a)
I thought of His feet and where they had traveled. They walked with the 2 on the road to Emmaus, they walked on water, climbed into a boat, down a dusty and rocky road, they were washed by one who loved him greatly, they spent 40 days walking in the desert, they stood teaching in the temple, and lastly, they took that weary walk up the hill to Galgotha. Jesus sacrificed His feet to perform His Father's will. Think on the paths that you walk. Do you sacrifice your steps by walking in the Spirit? (Gal 5:16) How beautiful are the feet of them that bring good news (Rom. 10:15). Do you go out of the way to help a brother or sister in need? Sacrifice your feet in service to the Lord.
The soldier pierced Jesus' side. He was sacrificed from the bloody, matted hair on the top of His head to the bottom of His feet. Then, His side, the very middle of his frame. I think of it as the very center or the depth of who He was, all around the vital organs; close to His heart, His lungs and taking his very breath. Do we give our all, our very being? Jesus did! For Me to live is Christ, to die is gain. (Phil. 1:21)
Back and shoulders:
Jesus was scourged. Beaten and whipped. His back was covered with blood and his muscles exposed. By his stripes we are healed. His flesh was ripped and torn. Yet, He carried the heavy burden of the cross. Are we willing to sacrifice our back and shoulders to help carry someones cross or burden? (Gal. 6:2) Be a friend to someone.
Jesus sacrificed His whole body, including His appearance. His face was spat upon. His brow was bruised and bleeding. How often we have let our appearance get in the way or our identity. It's called pride. Will you sacrifice it for the cause of Christ?
Even His clothes were taken. Along with His dignity. (Matt. 27:35) Give what you have (Luke 6:38 Matt. 5:40)
Jesus even sacrificed His emotions. Can you imagine watching your family go through such grief. (Jn. 19:26,27)
What about the emotions He had as the Father turned His Face away? Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice by taking on the sin of man and paying the penalty for us. In Jn.19:28 we read, "After this Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said, I thirst." I can't help but think that now he thirsted not only for drink, but for the Living Water that He freely gave.
Jesus Christ sacrificed everything! From within and out. Why? Because of His deep love for us. For you. For me. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. Heb. 9:22 Prophecy was fulfilled, payment was made, and now the free gift of eternal life is yours by receiving God's son, the Savior and Lover of your soul.
" Love so amazing,
so divine, demands my soul,
my life, my all!" ~ I. Watts
How deep is the Father's love for us! Won't you go deeper still...with Him? Play the recording below. Listen closely to the words and let the Holy Spirit minister to your soul. Then read the scripture. It will help you know how to live a sacrificial life. One that is pleasing to God.
A Living Sacrifice
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