His Agony and Our Access

Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples . . . . ’Stay here and watch with Me’ – Matthew 26:36, 38

We can never fully comprehend Christ’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, but at least we don’t have to misunderstand it. It is the agony of God and man in one Person, coming face to face with sin. We cannot learn about Gethsemane through personal experience. Gethsemane and Calvary represent something totally unique—they are the gateway into life for us.

It was not death on the cross that Jesus agonized over in Gethsemane. In fact, He stated very emphatically that He came with the purpose of dying. His concern here was that He might not get through this struggle as the Son of Man. He was confident of getting through it as the Son of God—Satan could not touch Him there. But Satan’s assault was that our Lord would come through for us on His own solely as the Son of Man.

If Jesus had done that, He could not have been our Savior (see Hebrews 9:11-15 ). Read the record of His agony in Gethsemane in light of His earlier wilderness temptation—”. . . the devil . . . departed from Him until an opportune time” ( Luke 4:13 ). In Gethsemane, Satan came back and was overthrown again. Satan’s final assault against our Lord as the Son of Man was in Gethsemane.

The agony in Gethsemane was the agony of the Son of God in fulfilling His destiny as the Savior of the world. The veil is pulled back here to reveal all that it cost Him to make it possible for us to become sons of God. His agony was the basis for the simplicity of our salvation.

The Cross of Christ was a triumph for the Son of Man. It was not only a sign that our Lord had triumphed, but that He had triumphed to save the human race. Because of what the Son of Man went through, every human being has been provided with a way of access into the very presence of God.

– Oswald Chambers

It Is Finished

“I have finished the work which You have given Me to do ” – John 17:4

The death of Jesus Christ is the fulfillment in history of the very mind and intent of God. There is no place for seeing Jesus Christ as a martyr. His death was not something that happened “to” Him – something that might have been prevented. His death was the very reason He came.

Never build your case for forgiveness on the idea that God is our Father and He will forgive us because He loves us. That contradicts the revealed truth of God in Jesus Christ. It makes the Cross unnecessary, and the redemption “much ado about nothing.” God forgives sin only because of the death of Christ.

God could forgive people in no other way than by the death of His Son, and Jesus is exalted as Savior because of His death. “We see Jesus . . . for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor . . .” ( Hebrews 2:9 ). The greatest note of triumph ever sounded in the ears of a startled universe was that sounded on the Cross of Christ— “It is finished!” ( John 19:30 ). That is the final word in the redemption of humankind.

Anything that lessens or completely obliterates the holiness of God, through a false view of His love, contradicts the truth of God as revealed by Jesus Christ. Never allow yourself to believe that Jesus Christ stands with us, and against God, out of pity and compassion, or that He became a curse for us out of sympathy for us. Jesus Christ became a curse for us by divine decree.

Our part in realizing the tremendous meaning of His curse is the conviction of sin. Conviction is given to us as a gift of shame and repentance; it is the great mercy of God. Jesus Christ hates the sin in people, and Calvary is the measure of His hatred.

– Oswald Chambers

The Collision of God and Sin

“. . . who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree . . . ” – 1 Peter 2:24

The Cross of Christ is the revealed truth of God’s judgment on sin. Never associate the idea of martyrdom with the Cross of Christ. It was the supreme triumph, and it shook the very foundations of hell.

There is nothing in time or eternity more absolutely certain and irrefutable than what Jesus Christ accomplished on the Cross—He made it possible for the entire human race to be brought back into a right-standing relationship with God. He made redemption the foundation of human life; that is, He made a way for every person to have fellowship with God.

The Cross was not something that happened to Jesus—He came to die; the Cross was His purpose in coming. He is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” ( Revelation 13:8 ). The incarnation of Christ would have no meaning without the Cross. Beware of separating “God was manifested in the flesh . . .” from “. . . He made Him . . . to be sin for us . . .” ( 1 Timothy 3:16 ; 2 Corinthians 5:21 ).

The purpose of the incarnation was redemption. God came in the flesh to take sin away, not to accomplish something for Himself. The Cross is the central event in time and eternity, and the answer to all the problems of both. The Cross is not the cross of a man, but the Cross of God, and it can never be fully comprehended through human experience.

The Cross is God exhibiting His nature. It is the gate through which any and every individual can enter into oneness with God. But it is not a gate we pass right through; it is one where we abide in the life that is found there. The heart of salvation is the Cross of Christ. The reason salvation is so easy to obtain is that it cost God so much.

The Cross was the place where God and sinful man merged with a tremendous collision and where the way to life was opened. But all the cost and pain of the collision was absorbed by the heart of God.

– Oswald Chambers

His Resurrection Destiny

“Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” – Luke 24:26

Our Lord’s Cross is the gateway into His life. His resurrection means that He has the power to convey His life to me. When I was born again, I received the very life of the risen Lord from Jesus Himself. Christ’s resurrection destiny—His foreordained purpose—was to bring “many sons to glory” ( Hebrews 2:10 ).

The fulfilling of His destiny gives Him the right to make us sons and daughters of God. We never have exactly the same relationship to God that the Son of God has, but we are brought by the Son into the relation of sonship. When our Lord rose from the dead, He rose to an absolutely new life—a life He had never lived before He was God Incarnate. He rose to a life that had never been before. And what His resurrection means for us is that we are raised to His risen life, not to our old life.

One day we will have a body like His glorious body, but we can know here and now the power and effectiveness of His resurrection and can “walk in newness of life” ( Romans 6:4)). Paul’s determined purpose was to “know Him and the power of His resurrection” ( Philippians 3:10 ). Jesus prayed, “. . . as You have given Him authority over all flesh that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him” ( John 17:2 .

The term Holy Spirit is actually another name for the experience of eternal life working in human beings here and now. The Holy Spirit is the deity of God who continues to apply the power of the atonement by the Cross of Christ to our lives. Thank God for the glorious and majestic truth that His Spirit can work the very nature of Jesus into us, if we will only obey Him.

– Oswald Chambers

The Veil Has Been Torn

“The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. –Matthew 27:51

It was no small miracle that tore so strong and thick a veil; but it was not intended merely as a display of power–many lessons are taught to us. The old laws were put away, and like a worn-out jacket, laid aside.

When Jesus died, the sacrifices were all finished, because all fulfilled in Him, and therefore the place of their presentation was marked with an evident token of decay. The tearing of the veil also revealed all the hidden things of the old dispensation: the mercy-seat could now be seen, and the glory of God gleamed forth above it.

By the death of our Lord Jesus we have a clear revelation of God, for He was “not as Moses, who put a veil over his face.” Life and immortality are now brought to light, and things which have been hidden since the foundation of the world are manifest in Him. The annual ceremony of atonement was thus abolished. The atoning blood which was once every year sprinkled within the veil, was now offered once for all by the great High Priest, and therefore the place of the symbolical rite was broken up.

No blood of bulls or of lambs is needed now, for Jesus has entered within the veil with his own blood. Hence access to God is now permitted, and is the privilege of every believer in Christ Jesus. There is no small space laid open through which we may peer at the mercy-seat, but the rent reaches from the top to the bottom. We may come with boldness to the throne of the heavenly grace.

Shall we err if we say that the opening of the Holy of Holies in this marvellous manner by our Lord’s expiring cry was the type of the opening of the gates of paradise to all the saints by virtue of the Passion? Our bleeding Lord has the key of heaven; He opens and no man shuts; let us enter in with Him into the heavenly places, and sit with Him there till our common enemies shall be made His footstool.

– Charles Spurgeon

How To Teach Children About Jesus

by Charles Stanley

For too many children today, Easter is solely a time of painting pastel-colored eggs, searching for treasures on an Easter egg hunt, and digging through an Easter basket for chocolate bunnies

While these festivities are an enjoyable way for the family to participate in something traditional, they can easily trivialize the Christian meaning of Easter.

One of the most important responsibilities Christian parents have is to teach their children about Jesus Christ. Yet countless children grow up knowing Christ only through what they learn from second-hand sources. The sketchy images these encounters with God imprint on their minds can range anywhere from a drill sergeant to . . . well, the Easter bunny.

In order for children to digest the authentic Easter message, Christ’s sacrificial death on a cross, they must have a context in which to put the person of Jesus Christ. When the Gospel is glossed over by lighthearted scenarios that don’t mirror real life, children can be led into thinking Christianity amounts only to an untainted notion of perfectionism. The real story–a story about tarnished and degenerate souls who were saved by Christ’s unconditional love, redeemed by the miracle of His death, and blessed with a living hope for all eternity–is as relevant to children today as it always has been. The story never changes, but, in a modern context, the way we tell it does.

You can provide that context for your children by simply talking about Jesus on a regular basis, by living the principles of your faith, and by praying with your children.

Talk to your children about Jesus.

“You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:7-9).

Children glean an enormous amount of wisdom from listening to their parents talk. References to the Lord and your beliefs should permeate your daily conversations. Give thanks to the Lord not only at meal time but when your prayers are answered. Be specific in thanking Him for His provision and care. Give Him the glory when things work out better than you’d hoped they would, and ask Him for guidance when you face big decisions.

Reading from the Scriptures on a regular basis is a direct and effective way to bring about discussions concerning Christ. Bibles for children and even toddlers are available for parents who wish to begin early. By reading through the Scriptures, you can address personally any questions your children may have about biblical events and monitor their spiritual growth. Taking every opportunity to teach them object lessons about Jesus can provide your children with a framework in which to understand the story of His miraculous life and death.

Live the principles of your faith every day.

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

It is important for Christian parents to walk their talk. When you make claims about the Scriptures and God’s righteousness, your children will watch to see how you live out those lessons. The closest earthly equivalent to our Father in heaven is our father at home. Christ-like parents are the best witnesses a child can have.

By treating others and your children the way Christ would treat them, your love and respect for Jesus will be an obvious and understood priority. If your children see Christ’s love modeled in their home, they will have a relevant perspective from which to view His love on Calvary.

Part of understanding Christ’s love for humanity is understanding His authority. By making Jesus the boss of your home, you can show your children how God can love them and demand their utmost at the same time. How many times do your children ask why they must do what you ask them to do? It’s easy to answer that question by saying, “Because I said so and I’m your parent.” This response may leave children wondering if their parents must obey anyone. But by submitting yourself to the Scriptures and explaining that obedience to your children, you can give them a sense of accountability that will follow them long after they leave home.

Pray with your children.

“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Teaching your children to pray is arguably one of the best ways to teach them about Christ. Many adults today learned to pray by kneeling and reciting scripted prayers. While this can be meaningful, children can develop a more personal relationship with God by praying from their hearts instead of the written page.

Prayer is our direct line to God.

Relationships are deepened when two people open their hearts and tell each other their innermost secrets. Prayer can be enriched by the same candid transparency. Teach your children to share their hearts with the Lord at an early age. Teach them to confide everything in Him. If your child can share everything about himself or herself with God without being ashamed or afraid, you will have gone a long way toward building an essential component in his or her relationship with the Lord–trust. In order to understand and believe the Easter message, we have to trust the One who gave it to us.

The Easter story of Christ’s death on a cross can be a complex, mysterious, and even painful message to understand. However, children who learn a gospel in which poignancy is substituted with germinal customs get shortchanged. Parents need not rely on mechanisms to teach biblical truth. By talking to your children about Jesus, living the principles of the Christian faith, and praying with your children, you can prepare them to hear and understand the most profound truth they will ever encounter.

IN TOUCH® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 IN TOUCH MINISTRIES®, ITM, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia, USA, used with permission. All rights reserved.

His Resurrection Destiny

“Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” – Luke 24:26

Our Lord’s Cross is the gateway into His life. His resurrection means that He has the power to convey His life to me. When I was born again, I received the very life of the risen Lord from Jesus Himself. Christ’s resurrection destiny—His foreordained purpose—was to bring “many sons to glory” ( Hebrews 2:10 ).

The fulfilling of His destiny gives Him the right to make us sons and daughters of God. We never have exactly the same relationship to God that the Son of God has, but we are brought by the Son into the relation of sonship. When our Lord rose from the dead, He rose to an absolutely new life—a life He had never lived before He was God Incarnate. He rose to a life that had never been before. And what His resurrection means for us is that we are raised to His risen life, not to our old life.

One day we will have a body like His glorious body, but we can know here and now the power and effectiveness of His resurrection and can “walk in newness of life” ( Romans 6:4)). Paul’s determined purpose was to “know Him and the power of His resurrection” ( Philippians 3:10 ). Jesus prayed, “. . . as You have given Him authority over all flesh that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him” ( John 17:2 .

The term Holy Spirit is actually another name for the experience of eternal life working in human beings here and now. The Holy Spirit is the deity of God who continues to apply the power of the atonement by the Cross of Christ to our lives. Thank God for the glorious and majestic truth that His Spirit can work the very nature of Jesus into us, if we will only obey Him.