Posts tagged grieve to the gospel
The Best Burial Day

“After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away His body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.”
John 19:38-42

To the mom who of a baby whose body you lovingly held, you fed, rocked, and kissed—and then lowered into the ground. To the mom of a baby whose body quickly slipped away, and with no pictures to save. To the mom of a baby whose body you cradled in your hands—so petite and you couldn’t keep. To the mom of a baby whose limp frame you cradled near—so few minutes of your life spent here.

Come to a burial—to the best one.

“Come and see an extraordinary funeral; never was the like! Come and see a burial that conquered the grave, and buried it, a burial that beautified the grave and softened … Let us turn aside now, and see this great sight.”
Matthew Henry

Come to the Savior’s side; crucified, pierced—not alive. Buried, carried to a tomb—lowered to the earth. See how His life was given away as a curse? See how His body went from hung to hurriedly prepared? Yet, see the way Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea cared? Now see that wrath was really paid—He was buried so that you might be raised. Death for sin, blood of sacrifice; He bled to take sin away.

Now see that death has a new-garden tomb—a new door, gate, and way. Find this life; in being buried with Him, you live. What kind of tomb is this? Come, the old garden was yesterday—and in Him, the old Adam’s away.

Find that in death you really live—dead to your sins, dead through Him. See the resurrection ahead? This death was different—though really dead, He would come to life. For the sinless One, the grave could not hold—unlimited purity and power in His sacrifice.

When you imagine His body in the grave, picture your children there too. Without despair, envision them as if they’re placed right by His side—placed in Him (and watch, they’re briskly made alive). What kind of tomb is His?

Death is steep, sharp, and sour. Yet, it’s softened there, don’t look away. This burial was the best of them all. See that death has promise now—to be with the Lord, found in His power. There is no sin or sorrow to exceed this tomb—no maximum limit for any wrongs, tears, or pain. See that it is a promise He has made—allwho come through His grave will be raised (Rom. 6:10-11); in dying to sins and selves, we’re new.

There is no tomb like the one of Christ. Nicodemus came from hiding and the rich man, Joseph, (Isa. 53:9; Matt. 27:57-60) from the crucifiers (he didn’t agree—Lk. 23:51). See how this tomb also draws us. Out from the patterns of life we’ve led—out to follow.

To the mom of a baby who slipped away, put your fingers at His sliced side, by His heart, and see His hands—scarred with death. There is no one who more understands than the One whose death we cannot fully comprehend. There is no death like His, for in His wounds—our eternity. He was the One despised, rejected, and without beauty—in these are no defeat. Lowered into the ground, yes—but now, what’s in the ground is not lost. Limp on a cross—but wait for His might. Though not recognized how He should have been on earth, resurrection ahead.

He was anointed to death—with a woman’s wealth, perfume was smoothed over Him with her hair (John 12:3). Mother, you were appointed to this grief—to display His power, His eternity. Draw just as near. Carry yourself to His burial. Sit to remember—don’t look away. This is where life’s beginnings and ends come together. Determine what you can set aside—ask what you need no more. What is keeping your heart from His power? Lay it in the tomb to die. With the new Adam, there is room for you. (Rise in Him!)

See the day death really died—death’s waiting to be cast away, it’s trembling. See the day wrath was really paid—Him crucified, leave your sins because He makes you free. In His living power, trust. Because He died, we who go through His tomb—alive. (Children and heavenly church waiting on the other side!)

Jesus—what tomb ushers life but Yours? Thank You for the best burial day.

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Relief When You Feel Betrayed by God

Jesus was betrayed by Judas, exposing Jesus to His enemies and ultimately leading him to death on a cross. Yet, this betrayal also revealed astoundingly peace-filled moments in the last hours of Jesus’ life. Here are some:

  1. Jesus had intimate knowledge of His betrayer—He knew Judas would betray Him (Matthew 26:21) and He knew the very moment when Judas would betray Him (Matthew 26:46)—and Jesus didn’t prevent it.

  2. Jesus’ disciple Peter used a sword to slice off an ear of a servant of the high priest who was among those intending to arrest Jesus—but Jesus healed the ear and told Peter to sheath his sword.

  3. Jesus testified to the Father’s willingness to receive an appeal of protection from Jesus—to send 12 legions of angels (Matthew 26:53)—but Jesus never asked the Father for them.

Jesus didn't pursue prevention of His arrest, protection from the crucifixion, or retribution against those who came to take Him to death—when He had opportunity for all three. Jesus, while facing what He knew would be an excruciating death to bear the punishment and wrath of God for the sins of all who believe for all time, was at perfect peace.

Yet, perhaps one of the most instructive details in the accounts of Jesus’ being betrayed is one easiest to miss. Jesus references the Scriptures—stating that everything happening to Him was in accordance with what was written. Jesus knew He was in the process of fulfilling prophecy as the long-awaited Messiah (Acts 3:18).

When predicting Judas’ act of betrayal, He said: 

“The Son of Man goes as it is written of Him…”
Matthew 26:24, emphasis added

Right after instructing Peter to sheath his sword, He said:

“Do you think I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once send Me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”
Matthew 26:53-54, emphasis added

I could not help but think of Jesus’ words earlier in His ministry, spoken when He was being tempted by the devil. Jesus said:

“Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Matthew 4:4

Jesus didn’t ask for what He was truly due, as the Son of God. His plan was for the Father’s will to be done (John 14:31), and to have the joy set before Him—while despising the shame of the cross—of saving many for the glory of God (Hebrews 12:2, Ephesians 1:6). His plan was to see the Scriptures fulfilled—that was the peace-filled perspective He spoke of when being betrayed. Jesus perfectly exemplified living on the basis of the word of God.

Do You Feel Betrayed by God?

Sweet mom, are you tempted to feel betrayed by God due to your extreme suffering? Are you tempted to feel like He betrayed you to this enemy of death and pain? Think about this: when Jesus was betrayed by Judas, He knew He had not been betrayed by the Father. For Jesus knew the Father's purpose and plans in sending Him.

Like Jesus, when being betrayed to death by Judas, we can look to God's plan. Like Jesus, we can have poignant perspective and peace from the Scriptures, perspective that directs our hearts toward God.

The Gospel of John records in detail the words that Jesus spoke to His disciples prior to being betrayed. So we know exactly what was on Jesus' agenda to share with His disciples in His last hours before crucifixion. His words give us an outline for understanding our present suffering.

  •  Jesus speaks to the disciples as friends, telling them future plans for the world.

Jesus called the disciples close like the nearest of friends and have significant understanding about His plans for this world.

“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his Master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
John 15:15

In 1 Corinthians 15:20-28, His ordered plans are further detailed for us:

“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at His coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”

  • He does not leave us alone, but gives us the Helper.

Presently, the risen Christ is at the right hand of the Father while He awaits returning, with praiseworthy patience (considering the manifold evil in this world, the hardships His people are enduring, and the abuse brought daily to His holy name!). He is waiting to return so that those who do not yet believe in Him have opportunity for repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). But He says that while we believers wait for His coming, we are not alone. The apostles' teachings recorded in the Scriptures that we have read (above) were guided by the Holy Spirit (John 16:13a). And we believers also receive the Helper, the Holy Spirit.

Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?
1 Corinthians 3:16

  • He says that tribulation will occur in a fallen world, but that He has overcome.

Prior to being betrayed, Jesus speaks about the tribulation that the disciples will have because of this fallen world. He speaks of the persecution they will experience because they no longer follow the ways of the world (John 15:18). Yet, He promises that He has overcome the system of the world, meaning He will, with certainty, complete His plans.

“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

  • He indicates purposes in His people remaining on earth. 

Jesus next implies that instead of taking believers to heaven the moment we place our faith in Him, we stay with purpose in this world to testify to Him for the remainder of our God-appointed earthly lives. Yet, while we live here, we have the assurance that we can no longer belong to the evil one. And we have the Scriptures as our tremendously peace-giving defense system in this world. Jesus prays to the Father about purpose and protection:

“I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”
John 17:15-18

Patience and the Last Enemy

Jesus disclosed to us the state of this world. He spoke that this world would not be right until He returns. He said that He would not immediately take those who believe out of the world; He has purpose left for His people here. Not the author of sin or the reason death is here, He is the reason we can expect with joy that the enemy of death will be defeated.

Jesus has overcome the system of this world, and He has a plan.

He arose, and ascended to the right hand of God. He will return for His people, and finally, He will put everything, every enemy, in right order underneath His reign—the last enemy being death, which will be destroyed.

None of this dismisses the reality of pain. Scripture clearly calls death an enemy, and being affected by this enemy inflicts pain beyond what we can express. Thankfully, Jesus does not lead His people astray or desert us. We have the Word of truth to keep us solid, the Helper who is near, and His assurance that—no matter what His people experience—we will never belong to the evil one.

Jesus said that He would be patient to return so that the full number might believe in Him (Rom. 11:25). He is working His salvation in this world, raising people out of their sin to follow Him. And only God knows the moment this work that keeps Him presently in heaven will be done. Faith in the gospel implies having faith in Jesus’ timing.

All that He has told me in His Word gives me unfaltering peace. King Jesus—the same Jesus with indescribable peace facing His betrayal and with compassionate words of provision and instruction before being taken away to death—is on the throne. And I can trust in His plansin the Scriptures, that the Savior will return. I find joy today in enduring for the joy that is ahead.

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From the Beginning, Jesus’ Death Was No Surprise

Death laying over those we love is not a welcomed sight. I despised the way it looked on my daughter, the motionless, lifeless character it took within my body, and the limpness it caused in my arms that held her empty frame after being born sleeping.

With those memories, I also consider that before God began the act of creating the cosmos, the earth, and mankind, He knew that in doing so He would also be coming to die.

God's Decree For Himself to Die

That Jesus would come to this earth as a sacrifice was decreed by God before the foundations of the earth. Jesus opted to meet our need and planned to become incarnate to sacrifice His life.

“He was foreknown before the foundation of the world.”
1 Peter 1:20

"...this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men."
Acts 2:23

The incarnation of Jesus to seek and save the lost was voluntary; from the beginning, the cross was no surprise to God.

In Scripture, we can see that this decree of God before creation was for His glory and to display His character. Colossians 1:16 tells us that all things were created “for Him.” Matthew Henry comments: “All things being created by Him, were created for Him; being made by His power, they were made according to His pleasure, and for His praise and glory.”

“Whatever He does or permits to be done, is done or permitted for the more perfect revelation of His nature and perfections.”
Charles Hodge

All of creation is for Him—His ultimate purpose in creating and becoming incarnate is for Him (Eph. 1:6). He is God—to be praised and enjoyed by all of His creation. You and I are for Him. Our babies are for Him. Our lives and days are for Him. 

Were everything right with the world, we would breathe every moment for Him. And that would be good.

Humbled for Us

Yet I, sorrowfully, cannot say that I have lived every moment of my life for the glory and exaltation of God; Scripture says that no person can (Rom. 3:11-12; 1 John 1:8).

As people, we might set ourselves up to be like God by believing we don’t need Him very much, to be on par with God by determining for ourselves what is the right path for our lives, or to be owed a bit of the glory ourselves alongside of God—or owed at least what we consider a decent or fine life.

A heart for children is a wonderful thing; and our souls lay bare when wonderful desires go unmet. We have been handed something, by any standards, indescribably painful—to outlive our own child, to perhaps never really have met him or her, to maybe watch him or her suffer, to see him or her under the cloak of death. Our grace is that God desired that death not have the last word over the human race. And He had a plan; He's always had a plan.

That’s why God, in creating this world, was Father who would send His Son to be born to die at the hand of men. He is a God who, because of the love with which He loved us (Eph. 2:4), decreed for Himself, as the divine Trinity, the death that brings us this sorrow, and worse. And He has glorified Himself by making His character known through His sacrificial Son (Eph. 1:5-6; Heb. 1:3).

There is a divine Baby who had death written all over Him before He was conceived, born, and lived through His first birthday. He humbled Himself (Phil. 2:8)—this One to whom all glory is due forever.

So when I look, in my memory, to my lifeless daughter, I also recall the God of all glory who gave up the splendor of heaven to come—not because He owed it to me, a seeker of self-glory. I have always owed Him all. How blessed are we, when thinking of our babies gone from earth so soon, to also think of the One hanging on the cross so that He could have authority to forgive sins and eternally pardon seekers of self-glory so that we could be with Him always.

He Endured the Most Difficult

His eternal decree meant that He did the most difficult on the cross (Matt. 26:36-46); He can be trusted with the lives of our children. He can be trusted to work out their days, or lack of any days at all out of the womb, for His glory. Free your life to His plans, purposes, and power.

If your theology, your view of God, starts with the good that you expected from Him only to receive this heartache—you haven’t yet seen the fullness of who He is, or His goodness available to you. There is more—look deeper. Marvelously widen your view to the start of creation—His gracious creation of all things for His glory and His astounding creation of all things while knowing that He would die for mankind.

Living for the glory of the God whose character is on display in Jesus' sacrificial incarnation is purpose; and knowing the Son who died for your sins is how you can come to fulfill your life’s purpose of ascribing glory to Him now and forever.

His purposes never fail; His humility is astounding; His love in sending His Son to earth to die is confounding and true; His worth is indescribableand we derive tremendous purpose as people in Him.

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