Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
The apostle Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit when he cried out, "Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift!" He was talking about "the exceeding grace of God in you," the believers in Macedonia, and their giving themselves to "the gospel of Christ" (2 Cor. 9:13-15). What was that "unspeakable gift"?
"God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" (John 3:16). Not a loan, not an offer in some kind of mutual bargain struck between the two--God and man; nothing in any way temporary, exalting human merit. It was a permanent abandonment of the "high and holy place" Christ held in the vast government of God (cf. Isa. 57:15). He "emptied Himself" is the way Paul describes His condescension (Phil. 2:5-7, New American Standard Version). It was a progressive turning Himself inside out, in seven steps:
First, the giving up of all His heavenly prerogatives (vs. 6). Then, "being found in appearance as a man" (a remarkable description of how He came to realize in His humanity who He was and what He had done with Himself thus far--perhaps at the age of 12?), "He humbled Himself" still further.
When He witnessed His first Passover, the Holy Spirit impressed upon His soul the conviction: He was that real "Lamb of God"! And that Boy of 12 surrendered Himself to be just that, for He told His parents, "I must be about My Father's business" (Luke 2:49). Here was no teenager resisting and fighting duty, but One surrendered to it!
Witnessing the bloodshed of the innocent lamb, He knew what His commitment entailed: from that day the cross was His destiny, freely embraced. He "became obedient" to it. Paul described it as "even the death of the cross," which everybody in that day understood to be the death that involved "the curse" of God (cf. Gal. 3:13; Deut. 21:22, 23). Scripture is clear: His enemies who watched Him die assumed that God had cursed Him and He was lost forever; even He Himself confessed it! (Matt. 27:46).
Does your heart offer "thanksgiving"?
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: November 23, 2007.
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