Everyone wants to be rich. Rich in everything, lots of money, power, control, security and pleasure. In fact much of our human history has been marked by power struggle and by desire to gain more. However in the midst of such story, came one human being whose ultimate purpose in life was just to ‘die’. Unlike the rest of mankind, to whom death hindered their selfish life dreams, His death have meaning and purpose. None of us would say that “my ultimate purpose in life is just to die”. Because death for humanity, outside of Christ, is vanity. It is the Anti-Climactic-Downer, that renders everything that we worked for: meaningless. For us, death is a bad debt collector!
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” 2Cor 8:9
“Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” John 12: 23-28
This unique human being, Jesus, however, became poor for the sake of others. What shall I say? Jesus prayed to his father, “save me from this hour? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.” Christ laid aside his glory and became obedient even unto death on the cross. His primary mission was to die! Ask anyone that has ever lived. Go to the museums and dig into the trash of History.Visit all the cemeteries in the world and read all grave encryptions. I guarantee you, you would read many interesting stories. Yet none of them, I guarantee it, would say, “I was born for this hour!” Cemeteries are full of great and not so great mortal human beings, who envisioned way more than what they have actually accomplished and their death is considered as vanity at best!
On the other extreme Jesus apart from his climactic mission in his person and works, his passion, his death, the Cross, does not make sense. This is the most unique story, he who was the Lord of all, became ordinary. The mission was so important than serving his own. This story reaches out to my inmost being. For I find it difficult at times to let go my own ambitions by having the same mindset with my savior. He did not serve himself, but he became ordinary, poor human being for the sole glory of His Father. Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy (Rom 15:8). He did this selfless condensation. What a love, amazing. What a passion for his mission. It humbles me to see him as who really is, meek and lowly in heart. He’s the creator, the one who is one-with-Yahweh in Creation, the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, in whom, through him and for whom all things were created for, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; The one who is before all things, and in him all things hold together, the head of the body, the church; the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. He is the one in whom God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him. Seeing this Man, who is the self-disclosure and the embodiment of the invisible God on that cross, is the ultimate ego-eater, humbling experience! He really is meek and lowly at heart.
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name”
Two fold purpose of His death
Therefore His death has a two fold mission.
The first one is Redemptive. In this regard no one is able to follow his foot steps. He is the only savior there is, for salvation is found in no one else and for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. Therefore Christ is the only savior and his cross is the only Cross that saves among many crosses. Remember there were many young Jewish boys crucified for various reasons. His cross is unique, because it is not the cross but the identity of the one who is crucified. Peter tells that he is the Father’s precious.\
Second, there is nonetheless another sense in which we ought to follow his foot steps. Not in his redemptive cross work, however, but in his exemplary cross work. He left us examples to follow! A selfless, Spirit filled, Yahweh-centered, Christ like, other-oriented example.
“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21
He died for our redemption, so that we may be reconciled back to Yahweh and through His death that our death may have meaning! In the meanwhile, in this life, until our hope returns on the sky with clouds, we look up to our Father, the God of providence, who is the father of Jesus Christ! In the meanwhile we ought to follow Christ in his humiliation bearing his shame in our bodies, we ought to follow in his sufferings considering ourselves as slaves for Christ, we ought to die to ourselves in serving and loving one another, knowing the chief end of our goal is to glorify him and enjoy him forever (Father, glorify your name!).
We simply follow
We simply follow His foot steps. No one has ever said it was easy. But at the same time in the middle of our pilgrimage in this world we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, but he who now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. Therefore with the apostle Paul, we confess: “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
” For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”
SOLI DEO GLORIA!
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