Thursday, March 28, 2013

Three Nails | The Nails of HOPE & FAITH

One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, "Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!" But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? "And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!" And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise." (Luke 23:39-43)

Today we are going to continue to look at the three nails that held Jesus to the cross:

1.    The Nail of HOPE His Hope in the Resurrection Brought and Held Him to the Cross.
Hope Defined: a desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment; to expect with confidence;  Hope is the wellspring from which we draw the courage to act against all reason and logic.  Hope is the trust in God which turns away from itself and the world, which waits patiently for God's gift, and which, when he has given it, does not consider it to be a possession of one's own disposal but is confidently assured that God also will maintain what He has bestowed.  The only way Christ could say what He said to the thief was if hope was in His heart. Again, the only way that the thief would realize the promise was that the nail of hope would hold Him to that cross.  Is your hope in Christ?  Do you live with the hope that Christ died with?  Hope brings peace and courage to those who would claim His cross as payment for their sin.

2.    The Nail of FAITH - His Faith in the Father's Plan Brought and Held Him to the Cross.  After all Christ had done, He still had to have faith that God would reward His sacrifice.  The cross was an act of love and an act of mercy on our behalf; but it was an act of faith for the man Jesus of Nazareth.  The amazing thing about these words is that they show us that Jesus was in control of the timing of His death.   The nails pierced His hands and feet; He was beaten to the point of being almost unrecognizable; yet He died only when He decided to yield up His spirit.  In his account of the crucifixion, John says Jesus "gave up His spirit."  This was an active, not a passive act. The significance of this wording is that it shows that Jesus was in control of the timing of His death.  He did not die because His body could take no more punishment or because of blood loss. He died because He decided it was time to die.  His work was accomplished and there was no reason for Him to linger. And so he gave up His spirit and returned to His Father.

Jesus cry of “Tetelestai!”
After being given a drink of vinegar mixed with gall on his request he quieted for a while. Then arching his body to secure one last breath he cried out, "Tetelestai! It is Finished!"  It was not a shout of defeat, but a glorious cry of victory. Like a master craftsman finishing his work or an artist his life masterpiece.  All around the cross grew silent.  Lifting his eyes heavenward he said, "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit. And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” His body hung limp from the nails. The women wailed in grief.

Christ was fully conscious that only His death could satisfy the law of God, bear away our sins, and bring us unto the Heavenly Father. Therefore, though men scoffed at Him and accused Him of lying and hypocrisy, He stayed on the cross, bound by love, hope and faith, to the tree.  It was for my sin that He stayed there in the deepest expression of love the world could ever know. There is but one way open to the fair-minded person who realizes that his sins nailed Jesus to the cross, and that is to receive Jesus as Savior.  No one took Jesus' life from Him. He did not lose it, He gave it. He died that you might live. You cannot live without Him.

Scripture to Claim:
“Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” (John 19:30) 

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