When Jesus was on the cross, He spoke. In John 19:30 it says, “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” This is not a statement of loss, but a statement of victory. Jesus knew that His death would do some important things for us believers. First and foremost: Jesus died in our place, so that we might have an abundant life. He took the cost of our sin, which is death, and paid it in-full. He redeemed us from the curse that Adam’s sin had brought upon the world, and Jesus’ work is finished! There is nothing else that needs to be done. Salvation is His free gift to all believers. Secondly: He destroyed the work of the evil one. We do have an enemy, but he is a defeated enemy. When Jesus laid down His life, He made the Holy Spirit available to all of us. We no longer fight alone against our enemy, but God’s Holy Spirit works inside of us and fights with us. When Jesus cried, “It is finished,” He meant it! Receive your victory today!
In Luke 19:41-43 it says, “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace―but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.’” Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem, because He knew the trouble and pain that would be coming upon the people there. Later we read that this happens because the people did not recognize that Jesus was from God. In Luke 19:44 Jesus says, “They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” Sometimes we think, “God, do you see my suffering? Where were you? Do you care?” But Jesus wept over Jerusalem. He wept when Lazarus died. He does care, and He cares very deeply. Jesus was moved to tears in this passage and lamented what was to occur to the people. He didn’t cause it; He wanted the people to receive Him. He did care. He cares.
Do you feel proud when you see your kids playing nicely with each other―sharing their toys and watching out for each other? Well, our Heavenly Father also appreciates it when He sees His children treating each other with love and kindness. Jesus said in Luke 6:27-28, “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Remember: He lived these very words out on the cross, praying for those that had participated. God’s way is clear and is much the same as what we teach our children: share, play nicely, treat each other with respect. And God’s way is even more encompassing; it includes loving and caring for those that are difficult to love. This is, of course, not easy. Just think how often we mess that up? But what if we Christians made an extra effort this week to be kind, quick to share what we have, and quick to help others―even those that we might not call “friends”? It’s the kind of love to which God is calling all of us. It’s how He loves us, and it’s how Jesus loves us. We can do it!
In Genesis 26:24 God says to Isaac, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase your number for the sake of my servant Abraham.” Sweet. God blesses Isaac―but why? God says, “for the sake of my servant Abraham.” Isaac is being blessed by God, not because he did something magnificent, tried real hard, or has a certain special something; it’s happening for one simple reason―he is Abraham’s son. That’s it. He can’t mess that up. No matter what he does, he will always be Abraham’s son. This story is for us. God has blessed us with this same exact blessing. And it is for the same reason. We aren’t blessed because of what we did or didn’t do, or how tall we are. We are blessed because we are children of God, by faith in Jesus Christ. I’m not saying this makes life perfect; Isaac still had some problems, but he overcame them. There will still be battles, but fear not, you are blessed. God did not abandon you because of something you have done. He is with you and will never leave you. Are you blessed? Say “Yes.”