Cross

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This past Friday, we had a special Good Friday service called “The Power and the Passion.” It was the first time we’ve done a service like this and what a special time it was. We took communion and reflected on all that Jesus’ sacrifice means for us. In looking at the end of Ephesians 2, we took time to:

Remember the Separation
In verses 11-12 Paul says, “Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh…were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God….” What does that mean? Remember, without Christ you were dead in trespasses and sin. Not just sick, dead! You were in bondage to the world, the flesh, and the devil. You were separated from God, with no plan or purpose in life, doomed and damned for all of eternity.

Paul says “without commonwealth.” Israel had the blessing of God, protection, love, the law, priests, promises, direction, and guidance, but Gentiles (unbelievers) did not enjoy this commonwealth. He also says, “without covenants.” A covenant is simply an agreement in which God binds Himself to a promise. God’s promises to Abraham, Moses, and David did not apply apart from Jesus. Without Christ, we were without hope and were separated from God.

Remember the Sacrifice
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (v. 13). The word peace is used three times in verses 14-17. Verse 18 says through Christ we have access to the Father. What the law, ordinances, ceremonies, good deeds, and sacrifices of animals could not bring, Jesus did! He paid the price of His blood so that you and I could have peace and access.

The cross was a cruel and humiliating death for hardened criminals. It was a symbol of suffering and shame. They stripped Him naked and beat Him with a cat of nine tails. The skin on His back was stretched tight. The metal balls would bruise the skin; jagged pieces would rip the tenderized flesh open. They made a crown of thorns and beat it into His brow. They mocked Him and spit in His face. Then, He walked up the way of sorrows carrying His cross. The cross was so heavy and He had lost so much blood that He stumbled under the load. They drove nails in His hands and feet. His outstretched body was literally bridging the gap between heaven and earth. “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows… He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Is. 53:4-5). He is the Way. The cross is the only way to cross over to the other side.

Remember the Salvation
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God… you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (v. 19,22). In Christ, we are citizens of God’s kingdom, with all the privileges, protection, and blessings that brings. We are united in God’s family. We are members of His body, the church, and are living stones in His temple. The very presence of God dwells in us through the Holy Spirit and we have purpose and hope!

On Friday, we came to the Lord’s table to remember what Jesus did. We took time for self-examination and to ask questions like, Have I thought things I should not have thought? Have I said things I should not have said? Have I done things I should not have done? Have I not done things I should be doing? In light of all that Jesus has done for us, these are questions we should ask daily. Remember the separation. Remember the sacrifice. Remember the salvation. He is worthy of our all!

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