Christ the Redeemer – A Poem For Easter

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Christ the Redeemer – A Poem For Easter

Darkness drew back in disbelief on that day,
When death’s victory was thwarted
And the stone was rolled away.

What depths of love,
What heights of grace,
Could bear the weight of the human race?

Defeat didn’t last but three days,
Before the wounds were healed
And the burial cloth was cast away.

Satan’s short-lived victory
Became our greatest win,
When Christ was resurrected and born again.

Death’s hovering stench and heavy chains
Has had its lock removed –
Mankind’s fate has been reclaimed.

The grave was not deep enough to hide his light.
It sprouted from the ground like a root of Jesse
And split the night.

“He has done it” –
The price has been paid.
Eternity awaits us at heaven’s gates.

Bow down and welcome back
The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords.
Adam’s fall forgiven, Eden restored.

*Quote from Psalm 22

– Poem Written by Justin Farley

If you enjoyed this post, I would greatly appreciate it if you like, share, or comment on it. Follow my blog to receive notifications when new posts are published. You can find my other Christian poems, Lent poems, or inspirational poems at https://alongthebarrenroad.com/category/poetry/

 


 

photo credit: Christ the Redeemer via photopin (license)

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It Is Finished – The Gospel of Grace

“After this, Jesus knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘I thirst.’ A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (John 19:28-30 ESV)

5763469323_b6ddd8750bThis weekend as we meditate on the Crucifixion and the Resurrection on Easter, the significance can easily be lost among the familiarity of the story and believing that Easter was nothing more than a historical event that happened nearly 2000 years ago. We become detached from it. In a way it can easily be lost to us and remembered like other events in a history textbook.

The Relevance of Easter

But Jesus’ death and resurrection is not only still relevant today, it is the path that leads the way, the light that guides us across our dark nights, and the hope that shatters the tragedies that are inevitable in our lifetime. Jesus is not just a good teacher. He is not a leader who simply came to give us more rules to follow and to teach us how to be good. Jesus abolished the rules of the law by fulfilling them!

The Gift of Grace

If you simply want a set of good moral standards to follow, there’s a whole handful of other religions to choose from. But frankly they all teach the same thing…do. When Jesus said, “It is finished” he was telling us…done. Absolutely done. Not a little bit. Not mostly. Paid in full. This is the one factor that divides Christianity between all other religions. It is the reason that Jesus claims that he is “the way, the truth, and the life”. Ultimate truth is divisive. It forces us to make a choice. If you believe that all religions are relatively the same, you don’t get it. This is not a statement of arrogance. It is an invitation to find out the Good News that Christianity offers.  The law has no chains on us anymore, but I think the majority of us (myself included) still keep trying to put shackles back on.

It is grace that separates Christianity from all other faiths. It is grace that nullifies any other religion. Not better, not worse..irrelevant. That doesn’t mean that people of other faiths are bad people; it simply means they are lost trying to fight a battle that no human being can win…except one. Jesus Christ was the only man who perfectly lived a good life. You and me, we’re flawed. By our own power we can never work or way towards God. But we still try, don’t we?

Quit Trying To Earn

We work day in, day out hoping that one day we will feel worthy. One day we will do enough “good” deeds to deserve a good reward. But someday never comes. For thousands of years human beings have been trying to earn their way and each and every one of us falls short. And somewhere in our heart we know it. We hate it. And often times it causes us to run away from God or pretend he doesn’t exist.

But this weekend, we are reminded that there is another way. Jesus Christ, God himself, knew we were not capable of paying the debt that needed to be paid. He could have simply ignored us and let us accept our fate, but he didn’t. He became a man and willingly suffered so that we might have life. On that cross, Jesus bore the world’s sin so that we didn’t have to feel condemned and unworthy any longer. He paid the price so that we could stand tall and approach the throne of grace and accept the gift owed – not by our own work, but by Jesus’ blood.

We can meditate on those last words of Jesus: “It is finished”. We can meditate and have confidence when we sin that we have a father that loves us and a Savior who has already paid the price for our sin. We do not need to be afraid. This is not an excuse to sin. Grace is a freely given gift that stirs our hearts to repay that gift with righteousness. If you feel grace is the freedom to sin without consequence, it is very likely you don’t yet understand what God did for you.

Being Reborn

Just as Jesus was resurrected, so too must we be reborn in spirit. We have our own death and resurrection to participate in. By dying to ourselves, we remove the shackles of human works and the exhaustion of trying to earn our salvation. Jesus says it is already done. There is nothing that you have to do but believe in him. We drudge through life trying to do good deeds out of fear and pride, but what Jesus did was show us another way. We accept the gift of grace which is freely given and out of joy serve and submit to God with love and gratitude.

The price of sin was paid nearly 2000 years ago. Are you still trying to make payments on a loan that’s already been paid? The word “gospel” literately means good news. Are you thrilled at learning the Good News of the Gospels? If not, I invite you to read them again. The reason that the disciples were so excited about this Good News was that they got it. We no longer have to pay what we owe! God himself loves us so much that he was willing to pay the debt! Easter is not a “past” event. It is a yearly reminder of the freedom Christ’s love bought us on the cross. That freedom was bought with a heavy price; don’t let it be squandered by putting yourself back under the prison of the law.

-Post Written by Justin Farley

If you enjoyed this post, I would greatly appreciate it if you like, share, or comment on it. Follow my blog to receive notifications when new posts are published. You can find my other Christian poems, Lent poems, or inspirational poems at https://alongthebarrenroad.com/category/poetry/


 

 

photo credit: Lamb of God 52 via photopin (license)

Accepting and Being Comfortable With Our Weaknesses

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

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Survival of the Fittest

The world’s conception of weakness is based off of Darwinian concepts of “survival of the fittest”. Weakness is just that…weak. It is not something to share with others. It is not something to boast about. It is a secret that should remain locked up in the deepest recesses of our heart, guarded with the utmost security in protection of being found out by others and becoming a target for the strong like a wounded animal among the herd that limps and drifts behind, easy to pick off and devour.

It is the strong that survive, that thrive in society, or at least that’s what the world wishes us to believe. Sure, the world may pretend to have sympathy when a co-worker finds out that their spouse has been cheating on them, finds out that they have a crippling disease, or their children have gotten into trouble at school. But the world is quick to throw judgments on people. They may have a glimpse of sympathy, but that sympathy often comes from determining that they are stronger than the sufferer, that weakness is caused on some level by their own actions.

The co-worker whose spouse cheated on them was obviously not taking care of their spouse sexually, obviously deficient in some way, or else their spouse would never have felt the need to look elsewhere for satisfaction. There is some implicit judgement that says, “yes, I’m sorry that happened to you, but it hasn’t happened to me because I am stronger, better than you. My spouse would have been satisfied with me if I was in your place.” The co-worker who is diagnosed with a crippling disease is seen as partly to blame. “Well, it’s no wonder. Have you seen the way she eats? Maybe this will teach her to take care of herself.” And the co-worker that has a problem child is obviously doing something wrong. “My children would never think about doing anything like that. I don’t know where they learned it. I pity her for having to deal with such a rotten child.” If we’re truly honest, the world’s sympathy most of the time does not come because it actually relates to weakness, but because it pities the weakness; the world likes the drama because other peoples’ weaknesses makes them feel stronger.

The Great Secret

And in some unspoken way, we all know this. We know that others are judging us for our weaknesses. So we paint a smile on our faces and pretend that all is well because it’s better to play the part of someone who’s strong than play ourselves, who we know to be weak. We are ashamed of that person, embarrassed, and go through our days praying that we never get found out. But the reality is that we are all weak at the core. We all have strengths and weaknesses. There is no such thing as the strong and the weak, but the broken and more broken.

The Day Darwin Died

The Darwinian concept of strength is shattered in the light of the cross, radiating and piercing nature’s laws. For Christ did not conquer with strength. He did not conquer with sword and shield, but with truth and love. On the cross we see the greatest warrior the world has ever known. On the cross we find the greatest activist of change the world will ever know. But in the world’s eyes, he is weak, for he humbled himself and allowed himself to become nothing, he surrendered without guns blazing and offered the “strong” a free sacrifice without fighting.

And if the story ended there, it would appear that Darwin’s theory rings true. But three days later a stone was rolled back and the Son of man reemerged stronger and more powerful than ever before. His submission is our hope and the spark that changed the world.

Healing Through Weakness

This is why Paul claims he can “boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses”. He knows that what Christ achieved on the cross is sufficient and no weakness of his flesh will keep him from the love of God. Not only that, but by being open with our weaknesses it invites others to be open with theirs. A healing and acceptance begins to take place that would never be achieved in “strength”.

It is also important to note Paul’s use of the word “thorn”. One of the hardest things to accept about weaknesses, especially when they are painful, is why a loving God allows them to happen. If God loves me, why does he allow me to suffer? This is a question that I have pondered over many hours, and I believe the answer is in the text.

A Pain That Keeps Us Humble

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.”

Here Paul touches on the idea that God uses weakness to keep us humbled. We don’t like to admit it, but humans rarely ever come to God with simply an honest desire to serve and love him. It is almost always, at least initially, because we are hurting or need something. If everything in our lives were 100% perfect and there was nothing that we needed outside ourselves, would we honestly seek out God? I don’t think so. I know I at least wouldn’t. Weakness is a “thorn” that ensures that we rely on God like a infant relies on a mother. It is the foundation on which we know we do not have all the answers and must submit to one who is stronger than us.

Grace Abounds in Our Weaknesses

The most beautiful thing about how God deals with our weaknesses is through grace. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. When we submit our weaknesses to the Lord, they no longer become weaknesses, but strengths. God’s love abounds in the weakest areas of our lives. When we open our hearts to God and admit that we are in need of a savior, his love takes our weaknesses and transcends them. It does not mean that he will remove them, but no longer are they a weakness in the same sense of the word. These weaknesses allow us to relate and understand the human condition all the more and boast in God’s mercy and love. We become resurrected with Christ. We may still show the imprints of the nails on our hands and the wound in our side, but they are no longer injuries, but scars that have healed. We no longer have to hide in shame, but can shout from the mountaintops, “Our God saves”.

What secrets in the deep recesses of your heart are you holding back in shame from the world? Are you going through your days worried of being “found out”? Bring your weaknesses to the cross. Crucify them and allow God to resurrect you with his grace and allow your story to become a example of God’s love and mercy.

If you enjoyed this post, I would greatly appreciate it if you like, share, or comment on it. Follow my blog to receive notifications when new posts are published. You can find my other Christian poems, Lent poems, or inspirational poems at https://alongthebarrenroad.com/category/poetry/
photo credit: oh the shame, the shame via photopin (license)