There are many ways to rescue someone from a distance. Many of us would send money. Others would send a specialist in our place. But for humanity, God Himself came in person and in human flesh. He had to do it face-to-face, looking and feeling like us, yet perfectly holy and divine in every way. No one else could do what He could do. There could be no substitutes. No one else could overcome sin and death. No one else could live a perfect life. The task was, still is and will forever be impossible for any person or angelic being to accomplish.
Jesus is the only irreplaceable Savior. No one can take His place; “first place.” There is no other name by which man, woman or child can be saved. “Jesus” supersedes all sin and death. He came with the full knowledge of His task. He came to rescue you and me.
The cross did not take Jesus by surprise. Neither did the resurrection come by accident. Even as a child, it entrances the mind to wonder how many of the specifics He was aware of. Raised in a carpenter’s home, Jesus drove many nails into hundreds, maybe thousands of pieces of wood. Every time He intentionally placed a nail on the wood. Every time He raised a hammer to strike it with all His strength. Every time He would feel the shock of the blow move from the hammer, through the wood and ascend His arm. – Every time He would hear the sound of His father and brothers striking nails in similar fashion. – Did He ever think that one day, the brute hammer of a Roman soldier would drive a nail through His own flesh and into a piece of wood? If so, how often? How often did it make Him think about His death; His mission? Was it every time He heard (or felt) the slamming of the hammer? It may have been. – Every time.
Jesus often told His disciples “that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31). To those who heard, His words seemed to slide out of memory like butter in a Teflon (no-stick) cooking pan. It wasn’t until events unfolded, and the picture became more complete, that the forgetful followers would start to recall the depths of what Jesus had revealed.
Still, whether others believed or refused to believe in Him, Jesus could not be stopped. He had come to earth with the agenda to save. Nothing could prevent Him from going to the cross, not even Himself. “My, how He wrestled in theGarden of
Gethsemane!” But He did not wrestle with Himself for His benefit, He wrestled for you!
To Him, it was His joy and glory to give His life for you. The divine current of compassion brought Him to the cross. And it was the man Jesus “who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2). That “shame” was not as much a shame to humanity as it was to God Himself. It was absolutely horrific to the divine nature of God. For the Son of God to be murdered as a sinner was not befitting of a supreme God. It was, however befitting for Him to show supreme love.
It is often said that “without an empty tomb, there is no hope.” Admittedly, I used to think well of that statement: but it is not completely true. It is a half-truth. Hope is not found in an empty tomb. Hope is found in the living Christ! The tomb was found to be empty, but Jesus is always full of life (wherever you may find Him).
The two angels who met the women at the tomb that first Easter was must have been itching with excitement. But before they could make the announcement, they had a job to do. The angels had to get the minds off of the empty tomb and onto the living Jesus! “Why do you seek the living among the dead? (Luke 24:5b)” they said. “He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in
Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again’” (Luke 24:6-7). [“And they remembered His words” (Luke 24:8).]
If following Jesus is religious, then it is surely a “rescue religion.” We all need saving. The fact that Jesus saves from sin and death, gives life and heals the sick is directly connected to His resurrected life. (The resulting benefits of the resurrection are too numerous to consider.)
If you need forgiveness, Jesus will forgive you. If you need healing, Jesus can heal you. If you need a miracle, then Jesus is your miracle worker. This is all possible because “He is risen” (Matthew 28:6)! Jesus is alive and able to save.
Let us thank Him for His life and the salvation He provides for us today!
Jason Betler is the founding evangelist of The Nations Hope, and an ordained minister of The Foursquare Church. A "dad joke" enthusiast, Jason and his wife Angelique reside with their three children in San Jose, California.
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