The foundation of Christian faith is this, “We believe that Jesus died and rose again…” (I Thessalonians 4:14) But stop and think about this for a minute. How absurd does this really sound? You actually believe that Jesus was crucified, died on a cross, was buried…but 3 days later rose from that grave alive? How delusional can you be? And if you do truly believe this “fairy-tale”, you must be living in a fantasy-world! But this is exactly how the world views the Gospel Message…some far-fetched implausible story. Except, within this story is something that all of mankind is constantly searching for… peace, hope, and freedom from guilt and shame. For the resurrection of Christ is the basis of our hope as Believers, and it is only by our faith that we are set free from the penalty of sin and death.
The angel was asking, who is worthy? Who is deserving enough, with the power and capability to loosen the seals of the scroll? And it says… there was no one. Certainly it couldn’t be sinful man, for like Isaiah when he saw the Lord, we’d all have to exclaim, “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips.” But there is One that is worthy of opening the scroll. Only one that lived a perfect and sinless life here on earth. His name is Jesus Christ, the Worthy One.
All of mankind can agree….”I have strayed like a lost sheep.” (Psalm 119:176) But the wonderful thing about these verses in Ezekiel is how proactive the Lord is. It’s Him that is searching us out, looking after us, and rescuing us from the thick darkness of sin. Jesus is called the Good Shepherd who gathers and watches over His flock and tells us in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” And like the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus will leave the 99 on the hillside to go looking for the one that has wandered off. (Matthew 18:10-14) Have you strayed away from the Lord? Know that Jesus is actively looking for you today.
I had the “Rules of the Road” booklet for the State of Illinois out the other day when I thought to myself, “My goodness! Driving a car sure has lots of rules and regulations tied to it!” The same goes for the Old Testament Laws spoken of here…all 613 of them. In this verse Paul was quoting Deuteronomy 27:26 and basically telling us that it’s impossible to keep all 613 Laws perfectly. So what are we to do? We’re doomed before we even try. Enter Jesus Christ, who came to redeem us from the judgement and punishment of this curse, for it tells us in Galatians 3:13 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us…” In other words, our inability to keep all the Laws was overcome by the blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
Jesus Christ took on flesh and walked among us…fully man, yet fully God. For death is the destiny of every man. (Ecclesiastes 7:2) Yet Jesus came to earth to give us freedom and victory over death. “Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (Hosea 13:14) So we no longer need to fear death…for Jesus came to set us free.
During His ministry here on earth, Jesus often sought out quiet places to pray. But why? It tells us in Mark 1:35, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.” The answer to “why He did this” is in what happened the night before. The town of Capernaum had witnessed Jesus healing someone in the Synagogue…and so later that night the entire town converged at the house where Jesus was staying…bringing in tow every sick and demon-possessed person they could find. And it says Jesus healed them. When we give much, our emotional gas tanks gets low. And the only way to fill them is to find a place of quiet reflection so that God can renew us . Jesus was practicing the discipline of silence in order to replenish, restore, refresh, and revive His soul…and it’s something we could do well to imitate.