“For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes and has decided to trust in Him [as personal Savior and Lord] is not judged [for this one, there is no judgment, no rejection, no condemnation]; but the one who does not believe [and has decided to reject Him as personal Savior and Lord] is judged already [that one has been convicted and sentenced], because he has not believed and trusted in the name of the [One and] only begotten Son of God [the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind, the One who alone can save him]. This is the judgment [that is, the cause for indictment, the test by which people are judged, the basis for the sentence]: the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” (John 3:16-19)
“In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:1-7)
When I was praying and thinking about how to follow up my post from a few days ago entitled “Let Your Suffering Be a Reminder of God’s Love.” I wanted to write something for Easter but something different from the normal Easter devotion. I was pondering Easter and really thinking about how Jesus is God, He is one third of the Holy Trinity but, while on earth He was also fully human. As I thought about His humanity along with re-reading the post that I just mentioned I was struck by the frailty, the hardship, the pain, the suffering, and in that moment something else illuminated in my heart that I have never heard nor have I ever thought of.
We’re told in Luke 2:7 that Mary wrapped him in swaddling cloths which were the same type cloths that were used for burial, and that she laid him in a manger which is a feeding trough. Even in His birth we see in small ways we see in symbolism the foreshadowing of our Savior being offered into death to be the perfect sacrifice to atone for and redeem us from our sin. A baby wrapped in grave cloths lying in a trough that perhaps a lamb being prepared for the Passover sacrifice would have eaten.
As we jump forward to the traditional Easter part of the story another image comes to mind. One that many of us can remember experiencing for ourselves. Let us cherish the moment in our hearts when our face broke the surface of the water as we were baptized. For those who haven’t experienced immersion baptism, who are believers in Christ, who have prayed to accept Him and to receive God’s Holy Spirit I highly suggest this very meaningful experience. To experience and to actually be a symbol of being buried to our sin as we go into the water, being cleansed of our sin and raised into a new life is amazing and reflective. It serves as a good reminder of this “re-birth” of our Savior on Easter morning. A rebirth that each of us has to undergo to enter into eternal life with the God that we love and live for. It also serves as a Mighty and Glorious reminder of the Amazing Love that God has for each of us, a love so great that He was willing to give His own perfect Son as a living sacrifice for.
I would like to encourage everyone who reads this as Easter approaches and even if you are reading this after Easter to stop and reflect on God’s amazing love. If you haven’t made the decision to accept Christ as Your eternal Savior, invite Him into your life, and to invite His Holy Spirit to dwell with You I invite you to do so. If you are already a born again believer I would like to invite you to reflect on your commitment and what it means to you. I think also, that this is a good time of year to ask God to show us what we need to die to in our lives and what needs to be resurrected so that we can be closer to Him each day.
Most High Sovereign God, we bow before You humbled and broken, yet pure and spotless in Your sight because of Your Amazing and Glorious Love. Thank You for sending Your one and only beloved Son Jesus to this earth so very long ago as a baby. To grow up like us, to live a sinless and pure life as an example and model for us to aspire to, and to be the ultimate and final spotless lamb to take all of our sin and to be sacrificed for us. Father God, we thank You for the death and resurrection of Your Son, Christ Jesus our Savior and Lord! And it is in His Glorious and Majestic name that we give thanks and praise to You. AMEN!!!