A Necessary Death

Originally published in Buncombe Street United Methodist Church’s 2019 Lenten Devotional series.

“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4-6)

If you have ever felt the almost indescribable union of true love, you’d likely agree that it carries an imprint on one’s soul and memory that remain for life. Whether it’s the birth of a child, intimacy experienced in marriage, or talks entrusted to the dearest friend, love binds the moment together and unlocks the door of one’s heart to a deeper, richer relationship.

The Bible tells us that “God is love” and that “everyone who loves is born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:8). Jesus, God’s humanly form, came to conquer death, and to show us by his life and teachings that love is stronger than death and that God’s love for us prevails over anything we have ever done or could ever do.

Christ’s mystery quickens in our own lives through our own personal resurrection, when we die to the false life and lies we have accepted and perhaps have been living. Living purposefully as God created us to do — a life of love and as agents of Love — is only fully possible once we surrender our old ways and awake as a new creation.

As Jesus modeled for us, the death proceeding the new creation we become will seem unfair, scary, and like we’ve lost all sense of control. We may feel isolated or confused for a time — in that wilderness of despair where Jesus himself called out to the Father, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Mark 15:34). Once clothed in Christ, the New Covenant written in our minds and on our hearts, however, that necessary death is put into greater perspective. Eternal life is not attainable without it.

Prayer

Lord, there are not enough words to say thank You for what You’ve done for me. Through your death, I am healed. By your fall, I rise. Though I am the least worthy, You call me a son, a daughter, and an heir of your kingdom and glory. Give me the courage to walk a life modeled by Jesus, and embrace resurrection life. Amen.

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