But before i tell you why it matters, let me just say, it matters to me.
BUT HE WAS PIERCED FOR OUR TRANSGRESSIONS, HE WAS CRUSHED FOR OUR INIQUITIES; THE PUNISHMENT THAT BROUGHT US PEACE WAS ON HIM, AND BY HIS WOUNDS WE ARE HEALED. - ISAIAH 53:5
All month we’ve been talking about how the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is the climax to every story, the fulfillment of every promise, and the great exchange. We’ve discussed all of the ins and outs, the glory and the depths, the beauty and the sacrifice. It’s the plan of God for all people brought to fulfillment in Jesus. Perhaps you’ve found yourself wondering, “But why does it matter, what can it all mean?” Well, hang on! We’re gonna get there.
But before I tell you why it matters, let me just say, it matters to me.
It matters beyond words. Each and every day, it is the food I eat, the sunlight on my face, the hope in every moment. When I read God’s story, I need it to be my story too. When I hear his promises whispered on each page, I want them to be true in my life. When I consider the exchange Jesus made, I’m convinced I cannot live without it, not for a second. I need Jesus! I need him to fill my every lack and give me peace. I need his sacrifice to count for me, his life to be my own. And that’s why it matters to me.
But it didn’t always matter.
I didn’t understand how it all fit together. I thought the Bible was about rules and that Jesus was a great rule-maker, a good moral teacher that got a bad deal from the power players of the time. That’s it. Period. But when I actually started reading his book, WHOA. There was this disconnect between what I thought it was all about and what it really was. Jesus wasn’t just a moral teacher who died at the hands of jealous, power-hungry people. Nope. Jesus made it very clear that he gave up his life on purpose, saying, “No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily.” (John 10:18, NLT) Voluntarily? You mean, Jesus wasn’t a victim? He was a willing sacrifice? But why? Why would he do that? Why did he need to? It took me about two years to answer those questions (I’m a slow processor). But here’s what I discovered: Jesus did what we couldn’t do—righting our every wrong—and he did it for love, love for his Father and love for us. Love made him do it; love motivated his rescue mission. He died intentionally, giving his life in exchange for ours, because we were powerless to save ourselves. He did it out of love, not duty or necessity. He paid our ransom with his own dear life so we could be free.
ON THE PODCAST
Let's talk about Easter traditions! What are some of your favorites? Vera & Natalie share some of theirs on today's podcast.
(CONTINUED FROM ABOVE)
That’s it. That’s everything.
But, it isn’t just some factual event to sit and ponder. No, it’s an offer, one that we either accept or reject. It’s an offer of life and peace with God. And it’s on offer still, even now—this great exchange, this long awaited promise, this pinnacle of the world’s story. We aren’t meant to merely know it, but to wrestle with it, to wonder whether it’s for us. And if we decide it is, we’re meant to take it up for ourselves, to receive the promise and to claim it for ourselves. About 20 years ago, I took the deal. And every day since, it has mattered. It changed everything. And it changes everything even still.
But what about you?
I know many of you have already taken the deal. You know the peace of God and the healing forgiveness of Jesus. Still, I bet some of you are trying to piece it together, how all of this might just be the answer to your questions, the one thing that makes everything else make sense. And if that’s so, you probably wonder how you might take that next step. Well, it’s pretty simple really. You just tell Jesus how you feel. Here’s one way of saying it:
O Jesus, I need you to take my place, to bear my burdens, to carry my shame. You were pierced for my transgressions, you were crushed for my iniquities; the punishment that brought me peace was on you, and by your wounds I am healed. You paid the price of my wrongs with your death and you offer me your life in return. I take it! You have righted all of my wrongs and given my restless heart peace with God. I am yours now and forever.
But it doesn’t stop there.
My brothers and sisters can testify with me that what matters now will only matter more and more over time. This is no one and done thing. Instead, it’s an ever increasing revelation of grace and joy. Each day, God’s story becomes more of our story. God’s promises become more beautiful and essential. His forgiveness is new each day to meet our constant need of it. His wisdom and strength, his comfort and peace, his mercy and faithfulness are always ours. He is no mere moral way of life, nor is he a ticket to heaven. He is a person, our very own God. He is Love. He is Life. And he is yours, each and every day. Amen and Hallelujah!
Why does Jesus matter to you?
How has God’s story become more of your story?
How have God’s promises become more beautiful and essential to you?
Thanks for reading,
Meet Natalie,Dwell co-founder
Hi there, I'm Natalie! I'm so glad you're here. I'd love to connect with you to hear more about what God is doing in your life!
We'd love to see you around.