No Man Is An Island 

Romans 14:7
“For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.”

A Christian by the name of John Donne (1572-1631), is credited for the saying, “No man is an island.” He wrote it in a devotional message speaking of how our lives effect one another. Paul is writing about the same idea, because we are part of the body of Christ, our lives effect one another. The decision I make to follow the Lord will have an impact upon those around me, and their decision will impact me. In more recent times, a song was written with the chorus, “I don’t need anyone, I am really having fun being all alone, I am an island.” The song was a parody, where the artist was addressing the modern idea that our lives are our own, and our sins do not effect anyone else. Paul goes on to write,

Romans 14:8 “For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”

What a beautiful concept and wise way to live. When we come to the realization our lives do not really belong to us, but have been purchased by the Lord, we are free to live for His glory. There is no greater freedom in life than to live for the purpose for which we were designed. Instead of thinking of freedom as the ability to do whatever we want, we should realize, true freedom is found in living for Christ and others.

Pastor Jim

 

Forsaken

Psalm 22:1
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?
Why are You so far from helping Me,
And from the words of My groaning?”

Although David wrote this Psalm as an expression of the experiences he was facing, it has a much bigger application than he ever could have conceived. It was on the cross that Jesus uttered the opening words to this great Psalm.
“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which is translated, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’” Mark 15:34

In order to speak from the cross, Jesus would have to endure unimaginable pain. He would have to straighten Himself up by pressing against the nail driven through His feet, and breathe in deeply to force any words out. When His silence was broken by these words, His followers would have been immediately drawn to the words of Psalm 22. After watching the crucifixion, there could be no other conclusion; David was speaking prophetically of Christ.

This Psalm, written almost one thousand years before Christ, gives a vivid picture of the events of that dark Friday. David speaks in advance of the ridicule that Jesus would endure. We know that the religious leaders, the crowd, the soldiers and even the thieves all mocked Jesus; calling for Him to prove that He was God and break free from the cross. David also describes the way Christ died with amazing detail. He speaks of His tongue clinging to His mouth in thirst, His hands and feet being pierced, His bones being unbroken, yet out of joint, and his heart melting like water within Him. This Psalm gives undeniable proof of the inspiration of the Word of God, and of the claims of Christ.

That being true, the cry of Christ from the cross does more than draw our attention to the prophetic words of David. It also reveals something of the suffering Jesus endured on the cross. While on the cross, Jesus was giving His life as a substitute for ours. He was bearing the penalty of our sin, so we would not have to. Paul put it like this;

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

The penalty for sin is separation from God. While on the cross, bearing our sin, Jesus experienced sin’s penalty. His cry was not mere poetry, but the expression of what He must endure to save us. Our experiences allow us to understand the weight of sin to a small degree. We have all felt the heavy burden of committing sin, and knowing what it has done to our relationship with God, and with others. We can never imagine the weight of all the sin of humanity. Every vile thought, word, and action ever committed by every man,woman, and child who ever lived, bore down upon our Savior as He hung upon the cross, paying for our sin. And we read that the Father forsook His Son.

All this was done, Christ was forsaken, so that we would never be forsaken. Because of His substitutionary death, the writer of Hebrews was able to declare,

“For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5

What love…

Pastor Jim