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December 16th - Ellington Crabtree

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

Hey friends! My name is Ellington, and I am a sophomore studying Marketing and Management. Thankful to be a part of the journey through this Advent season, as we prepare our hearts to remember the coming of The King. Today’s topic is heavy, but important nonetheless: that Jesus would be brutally tormented and tortured for us. Switching it up and referencing NIV today! To begin, I invite you to take a moment to worship. Here are some songs that will help to prepare your heart:

“Son of Suffering” by The Worship Initiative

“Blown Away” by Hillsong UNITED

“Man of Sorrows” by Ellie Holcomb

You are probably familiar with the Gospel, but if this term is new to you, we welcome you to knowing this Gospel. Here’s what you need to know:

There is a perfect God Who perfectly designed life. He created all things, including us, and called it good. However, humanity believed that its design for life was better than God’s. In pursuing life outside of God’s design, the perfect relationship between humanity and God was broken. Anything that does not measure up to God’s perfect standard is called sin. Because humanity rebelled against God, we deserve to be punished. But in God’s great love, He offered up a way to restore the relationship that we broke. This offering is Jesus.

• • •

God spoke through Isaiah the prophet, 700 years before Jesus was to be born, to prophesy that Jesus would come to earth. This man would stand in our place before God, taking the punishment for us. It was prophesied that Jesus would be broken for the sins of the world, and willingly take on the wrath of God.

“I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.” Isaiah 50:6

The circumstances of Jesus’ death are difficult to comprehend. Why would anyone choose to die, but especially to die by crucifixion? Moreover, why would anyone innocent choose to take the blame for their accusers? Jesus is different. He made a choice in going to the cross. He joyfully and willingly offered His life for the very ones who mocked Him, who spit at Him, and who shouted “crucify Him!” Yet, through it all, Jesus remained obedient, loving, and silent.

“Just as there were many who were appalled at Him- His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and His form marred beyond human likeness…” Isaiah 52:14

This is a verse that I have never read before; a truth that sinks deep in my heart. Imagine, a body so disfigured, that it no longer looks like a human. Painful to imagine, more painful to watch, but beyond painful to experience.

His flesh, ripped.

His body, beaten.

His bones, crushed.

His blood, poured out.

His hands and feet, nailed to a wooden cross.

“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces He was despised, and we held Him in low esteem. Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:3-6 

In our sin, we live a story of rejection. We reject God, and deserve to be rejected by Him. Even if we were to die a death like His, our sins would make it insufficient for salvation. There is nothing we can do to fix what we broke. But there is a love that outweighs even the vilest rejection. Jesus’ holy suffering is sufficient to satisfy the wrath of God that we deserve. Jesus flips the script, and we now can know a story of acceptance. Accepting Jesus’ sacrifice, and graciously being accepted by God through Him. 

• • •

In this season where we remember the birth of Christ, remind your heart of why He was born. The blameless Son of God, innocence wrapped in flesh, came to make a way for salvation. He deserves all glory because of Who He is. To close out this time, I encourage you once again to worship. Here are some great ones:

“Yet Not I But Through Christ in Me” by City Alright

“Sunday is Coming” by Phil Wickham

Reflection Questions:

  1. What part of the crucifixion pains you the most to think about? 

  2. How do you feel, knowing that Jesus endured what you deserved, but remained focused on joy? (Hebrews 12:2) 

  3. What is one way that the Gospel can change your life, today?

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