What Wondrous Love is This!

I have often heard it said, “Live in the light of the Resurrection!”  Do we ever stop and think of the tremendous love that drove our Savior to pay the great price for our sins and because He did we are now offered life everlasting……and the tomb where He laid…..well friend!…….It is empty!!!!  We want to wish each and every one of you a very blessed and happy Resurrection Sunday!!!  This time of the year, we are enamored by the abundance of life.  The grass is turning a gorgeous shade of emerald, tiny buds look nigh to pop out of their little winter coats, the spring blossoms that are brave and bold have peeked out of the ground and put on a brilliant display of color in their blooms, baby animals are entering the world with the new vigor of life!

Baby goslings…….new life

Here we are amidst all the beauty of life and in the middle of this we have one of the most beautiful, wonderful celebrations ever for a christian and what is it about?……..Life!!!  It is about our Savior who died an agonizing death for wretched sinners, but broke the chains of death once and for all after three days and nights!  It is a reason to rejoice, our Master, Lord and King is not dead, He lives and forever intercedes for us in Heaven!!!  This is all about life……a Savior that lives and because He lives we can now live forever in Heaven with Him, if we accept him as Savior.

Wonder of Life

Herein is a question……do we live every day like our Savior paid for our eternal life with His very life?  Do we live like He is alive but remember that it took His death to open heaven to us?  This wonderful life that we as christians live is a beautiful gift!  We serve and live in the care of a Risen Savior!!!

I want to share something from speaker and historian, Ray Vander Laan, on life and resurrection.  Ray Vander Laan has studied Jewish culture and customs and has taken over 10,000 people with him on his study tours of Israel, Turkey and Egypt.   His insight into the Jewish culture and customs brings much of the underlying symbolism that our Lord used and understood to life for us.  I hope the following thoughts from Mr. Vander Laan bless and encourage your hearts…………………………………………………………..

Lilac Blossoms

 

In that day, when a young man wanted to marry a young woman, the young man and his father would go the the girls house.  They would then sit down with the girl and her father and the four of them would negotiate.  Part of the negotiation was settling on a “bride price.”  The father of the bride would often ask a great deal of money or physical things, because his daughter was a valuable possession. It would be reasonable to say that the “bride price” might rival what you would pay for a new home.  When the price was finally settled, the young man’s father would pour a cup of wine and hand it to his son.  The son would then offer the cup to the girl.  When he extended it to her he would say these words, ” This cup I offer to you.”  In essence he was saying, ” I love you, and I offer you my life.”  At this time the girl had a time of decision.  She could either reject his gift, or she could take the cup and lift it to her mouth and drink.  By drinking of this cup, she was saying, ” I accept your life and I give you mine.”  Grooms often did pay very high prices for their brides, but probably not many thought they would ever really give their lives for their bride.  It is a somber moment when we realize that Jesus paid a bride price for you and me.  The price was so high that in the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed, Matt 26:39- “Let this cup pass from me.”  The “cup” of the bride price.  Yet, He paid this price so you and I could be His spiritual bride.  Now He says to you, “I love you and I want to be your husband.”  – Thoughts compiled from information by Ray Vander Laan

 

What Wondrous Love Is This
By: American Folk Hymn

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul!

The above stanza is from a hymn that echos my heart’s emotions after understanding the above culture and symbolism.  How amazing, such a love that would pay a bride price that cost His life blood, for a bride, that at the time did not love or appreciate the sacrifice and price that was paid.   Let us never lose the wonder and amazement at such a “Wondrous Love.”

Bridals Wreath Spirea in the Spring

 

Ray Vander Laan also has some insightful thoughts on the tomb, the empty tomb of Jesus!-

God told His people, do not mix unrelated things.  Do not mix two kinds of seeds, do not mix two different animals in pulling a plow and do not mix a saved and unsaved person in marriage.  This also carried over into burial.  You could not place an unrelated person in your tomb and if you did it could no longer be used by you.  Joseph of Arimethea had a tomb that the Bible says had never been used.  This man’s tomb was likely worth thousands of shekels in value.  The love this man demonstrated to Jesus by taking this tomb and giving it forever away was in incredible act of love and devotion.  We should be challenged today, in our lives to live as Joseph did.  Say to the Lord, whatever I have is yours Lord.  Joseph held nothing back, but gave away a costly possession out of pure love.

(Mat 28:1-6. In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.  And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.  His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:  And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.  And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.  He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.  Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Many people think that the stone was rolled away to let Jesus out.  But, that is not the case.  The stone was rolled away to let the disciples look in.  Jesus was not bound in that tomb by a stone, but by His willingness to give His life.  Often, we do not live like the tomb is empty.  We do not live like the power that raised Jesus from the dead is offered to you and me as His children.  We will meet a lot of people in life who think the stone is still there.  We must be an instrument of God to roll away the stone for them and help them realize that Jesus is alive forever!!!  Let us live like the stone is rolled away!!!- Thoughts taken from Ray Vander Laan

New Life

The above reminds me that the Empty Tomb and our Risen Savior goes far beyond celebrating just an Empty Tomb and Risen Savior…………it must go past that and reach me.  Reach me and grip me with the reality that there is a lost world that must hear the news, “The stone has been rolled away, the tomb is empty!!!”  There is a relationship with my Risen Savior that I must develop daily and always bear in mind that I have pledged my love and life to him……He paid the bride price for me and for you, the agonizing price of His death and now our Lord extends the “cup of salvation” to any and all who will drink and say, “I accept you, your love and your gift of life and here is my love and my life in return.”  Have you said that to the Resurrected Lord……….If not, friend, He is holding the cup of salvation out to you now……..why don’t you accept it?  Spring is a time of not only life, but new beginnings…..if you have not accepted the gift of eternal life, why don’t you start with a new beginning by making Jesus Lord of your life?  It is a free gift that He has paid for dearly.  Let me share a little bit from a book by Cary Schmidt called “Done”-

“Jesus’ payment for your sin was not  partial- it was a full payment.  I once shared this with a man who seemed to struggle with understanding the concept of a “full payment.”  After what seemed like hours of trying to get through to him, it was like the light bulb came on in his head.  He smiled and said, ” All my life I’ve understood that Jesus paid for my sins, but I’ve believed that it was two-way- like a 50/50 proposition.  In other words, Jesus did His part and I still have to do my part.  But if I understand what you’re saying, then Jesus did it all, and I can’t do anything. It’s 100% Jesus and 0% me!”  Exactly.  This is not a 50/50 proposition. Jesus didn’t pay for part of your sin and leave you to pay for the rest.  He didn’t say ” It is almost finished.”  He didn’t say ” It is partially paid.”  he said” It is fully paid.”  Even religions that claim to “believe in Jesus” seem to teach that He only paid for part of our sin.  Many teach that there is still much that you must DO to make atonement for your sin- as though Jesus made partial payment and you have to make the rest.  This simply isn’t the message of the Bible.  Jesus paid it all!  DONE.  Friend, are you understanding this?  You don’t have to pay for your own sin.  A miracle of divine intervention happened!  God stepped in and took your punishment- all of it!………………”It is finished”….-John 19:30″- Cary Schmidt

 

If you have accepted this cup and realize the price for your sin was paid in full, then celebrate not just today, but every day, ………………….the stone has been rolled away and let us live in the light of the resurrection!!!! I want to close by sharing more verses from this great Hymn and I do hope your heart swells and sings this song to the Sweet Savior, who paid the ultimate bride price, and says “I love you.”…….Will you sing this to Him?

 

What Wondrous Love Is This
By: American Folk Hymn

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul!

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down
Beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb,
Who is the great I AM,
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free
I’ll sing His love for me,
And through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
And through eternity I’ll sing on.

Thankful for that Wondrous Love!

Lindsay

New Beginnings………Dogwood Blossom in the Spring