Do you like a party? This parable in Matthew 22:1-14 is a personal invitation to a great wedding feast with Jesus as the host. This parable illustrates how God sent Jesus into our world asking all people to attend His joyful celebration. In this story the people who should have come to the party turned down the invitation and made poor excuses about why they couldn’t come. “Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.” Matthew 22:9 This means that anyone can come if they will only set aside their pride and belief in their own goodness and look to God with humility. You see when we trust in Jesus we trade our shaky virtues and downright offenses for His permanent righteousness. It seems as though we either find man trying to get to God his way or we find the redemptive cross of Jesus. So we exchange something valueless and empty for something of immeasurable worth. “For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then in exchange He poured God’s goodness into us.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 What a deal!
Jesus always takes us to the cross, the beautiful, the ultimate, the undeniable cross. Can we deny its power, the absolute fulfillment and crowning glory of God’s love? There everything bad that has happened to us can be redeemed. All questions are answered at the cross. But the full understanding of the events of our lives won’t be disclosed till heaven. Oh, the powerful wonderful cross. How we thank our God for something big enough to absorb all hurts, personal violations, and sorrows. Because Jesus is the final sacrifice for sin we can now truly forgive others. When we go to the cross and leave our burdens there we can experience resurrection, the new life we need so badly. God’s divine power, the very same power that brought Jesus back from the dead, is now available to help us live life to the fullest. We can conquer the persistent pull toward wrong responses and faulty character. The cross is Gods way to salvation.
Will we as a nation and as individuals respond in humility, truly sorry for thinking we could live without God? The famous hymn by Isaac Watts reminds us, “At the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light, and the burden of my heart rolled away, it was there by faith I received my sight, and now I am happy all the day.” Friends, together let us find our happiness as we look forward to the great wedding feast where Jesus will be the beloved honored guest. Yes, we were born to experience a relationship with the one and only God who is faithful to save.
Click here to read a Dutch carol about the beautiful hope found in Jesus.
“Our souls are restless until they find their rest in thee.” St. Augustine That rest we all crave is found in the person of Jesus Christ. “Come to me and I will give you rest- all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke. Wear my yoke- for it fits perfectly- and let me teach you; for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls’ for I give you only light burdens.” Matt 11:28-30 LB There is no heavier burden than that of religion without Jesus as the foundation. Religion alone is so often the exaltation of man. O how we have all tried to meet the requirements of being a truly good person. But here is the Good News. Christ died on the cross to give us a brand new kind of life under His amazing grace. It’s called Christianity where the cross bridges the gap between our puny efforts and God’s perfect standards. The glorious power of the cross is the great universal blotter absorbing our sadness, guilt and all the wrong things we have ever done in view of a righteous God. A trip to the cross does wondrous things! O Happy day! At last there is finally something strong enough to defeat our great enemy, Satan.
At the cross we discover just how grace works. Humility serves us much better than our everlasting pride. Forgiveness wears better than the filthy rags of resentment and revenge. Returning to conscience teaches us that the God who is with us brings light into our darkness. The blessed Holy Spirit becomes our constant companion, nurturing us and warning us away from temptation and danger. Have we discovered that what we crave most is actually intimacy and friendship with a loving God who gives us what we don’t deserve? There is not a moment that passes that we cannot draw near to the One who loves us best, who is reaching out to help us find our way. What made the cross so powerful? It was there that God disarmed every evil ruler, every dark influence. “He took this list of sins and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross. In this way God took away Satan’s power to accuse you of sin, and God openly displayed to the whole world Christ’s triumph at the cross…” Col 2:15 LB
Man-driven religion leaves us with nothing but our own limited resources to live life. And so every individual ends up carrying his heavy burdens alone. We use excuses and rationalizations to explain our behavior. Our feelings and thoughts are not in subjection to scripture. Christianity shows us a better way. “Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.” 1 Pet 5:7 LB In His mercy God has given us the answers. The Bible offers us supernatural help to heal and renew both mind and emotions as we yield to its superior guidance. “For whatever God says to us is full of living power…” Heb 4:12 LB Under grace the believer’s life is open to an amazing transformation experienced through the power of the cross. The words of Isaiah 61:3 reveal this remarkable exchange. We can now receive beauty of character for the ashes of our life, the anointing of the oil of joy for all our sadness and sorrow. A garment of praise now enfolds us instead of the heavy cloak of depression and despair. A good exchange don’t you think?
Will you come with me to the cross where we find our soul’s best rest from the burdens and unhappiness we’ve known? God has provided an unceasing river of grace, flowing to every person who comes to the Savior, Jesus Christ. “Now all praise to God for his wonderful kindness to us and his favor that he has poured out upon us, because we belong to his dearly loved Son.” Eph 1:6 LB Christ’s invitation still stands today. Come to the water all that are thirsty. Come drink from God’s fountain of life. It is there that we find the grace to continue on. It is there that our story becomes a testimony of victory and strength. It is there we hear Christ’s voice proclaim, “You are accepted in the beloved.” A trip to the cross does wondrous things!
Click here to read another blogger’s wonderful article on the cross.
Wouldn’t it be phenomenal to be truly loving, forgiving vibrant people? As believers we are excited because “…when someone becomes a Christian he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun.” 2 Cor 5:17 Entering into this new life we have been given a priceless source of grace to offer everyone we meet. It’s the Jesus life, true living resurrection taking place daily within us. It’s like bursts of resurrection power released and exploding inside. What a joy to be able to count on this great strength when we run into trouble of every kind.
God often does things so differently than we would have ever thought. For instance, when we run into problems loving others we would not have expected that the very challenges when overcome have taught us to love with God’s awesome love. Every believer has a great head start on becoming a resurrection receiver when they accept what Jesus did for them. “No you can have real love for everyone because your souls have been cleansed from selfishness and hatred when you trusted Christ to save you; so see to it that you really do love each other warmly with all your hearts.” 1 Pet 1:22 This fervent love is the result of forgiveness explosions taking place continually. This is God’s wonderful provision for life and happiness.
Remember your position in Christ for “…you are standing there before him with nothing left against you.” Col 1:22 And this is exactly what we are asked to have toward others. “Every person should have a special cemetery lot in which to bury the faults of friends and loved ones.” Anonymous We simply don’t have to live by our own limitations or abilities. Because Jesus’ life is in us He’s done the work already. Let him bring us truly alive, moment by moment experiencing resurrection explosions of forgiveness and love.
Have you ever wished to be part of something so powerful that nothing could overcome it? Well, in the Christian faith God has provided this incredible strength through the blessed cross. When Jesus died for us He conquered every evil force that would harass, oppress, and control us. “In this way God took away Satan’s power to accuse you of sin, and God openly displayed to the whole world Christ’s triumph at the cross.” Col 2:15 LB “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness…” Col 1:13 KJV “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Col 2:15 NIV
Depending on the cross means seeing it as “the everlasting blotter” where our wrongs are forever absorbed, swallowed up by the power of the cross. Our sins are cancelled, erased and eliminated for all time and eternity. Guilt is gone and profound relief has come. Will you accept what Jesus did for you at the cross? It makes all the difference! “So there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ.” Rom 8:1 LB Jesus“…destroyed sins’s control over us by giving himself as a sacrifice for our sins.” Rom 8:3 LB
Life is simply too hard, too discouraging without the power of the victorious cross. Just think of it, because of the cross we don’t have to live any longer feeling defeated by our bad choices, weaknesses and tendencies to do the wrong thing. Today will you receive that the cross is enough? The cross is the only remedy that can be applied to the sin wound and completely heal it. “…though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” Is 1:18 LB
Now there is a joyful new way to live. Jesus purchased the winning ticket for me by dying on the cross. He gave me a new identity. We are declared not guilty for even the worst of offenses. I am a winner over life’s struggles and a winner even over death. This makes me very happy! In exchange for Satan’s rule we have a new and holy power to guide us. This is the presence of the mighty Holy Spirit. “So now we can obey God’s laws if we follow after the Holy Spirit and no longer obey the old evil nature within us.” Rom 8:4 LB Be looking for Part 2- My New Best Friend: The Holy Spirit.
Click here to read another blogger’s thoughts about Jesus’ cleansing power.
Click here to read another blogger’s insights about what salvation looks like.