God-Man

Jesus was touchable, approachable, reachable. And, what’s more, He was ordinary. If He were here today you probably wouldn’t notice Him as He walked through a shopping mall. He wouldn’t turn heads by the clothes He wore or the jewelry He flashed. ‘Just call me Jesus,’ you can almost hear Him say. He was the kind of fellow you’d invite to watch the Rams – Giants game at your house. He’d wrestle on the floor with your kids, doze on your couch, and cook steaks on your grill. He’d laugh at your jokes and tell a few of His own. And when you spoke, He’d listen to you as if He had all the time in eternity. And one thing’s for sure, you’d invite Him back.
– Max Lucado

 

Christ Jesus… being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!
– Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV)

 

Jesus is like us in every respect—human body, heart, mind, and will—except for sin.

How amazing that the divine Son of God would not just take on part of our humanity but all of it—and then take that true humanity all the way to the cross for us.

Jesus took a human body to save our bodies. And he took a human mind to save our minds. Without becoming man in his emotions, he could not have saved our emotions. And without taking a human will, he could not save our will. In the words of Gregory of Nazianzus, “That which he has not assumed he has not healed.”

He became man in full so that he might save us in full. Hallelujah! What a marvelous Savior!

– David Mathis

 

For this reason He had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people.

– Hebrews 2:17 (NIV)

 

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin.

– Hebrews 4:15 (NLT)

 

Photo taken by Susie Stewart

Barabbas

“Give us Barabbas!”  you shouted.

Give us the criminal.

Give us the filth, the vice, the darkness.

Give us what we want.

We choose him.

 

Hearts are dark.

The Light is standing right there.

He is ready to surrender His very life for you.

And yet you say, “Away with this man!”

You want to hold onto dark and give up the Light?

You want to eat from the trough and forego the banquet table?

 

Just give us Barabbas.

We want to stay down here in the mud, in this pit, in this pain.

We want to stay in rebellion.

In pride,

In moral decay.

In depressive thoughts.

In distraction from the Truth.

 

Away.   The Way, The Truth, The Life, is led.

To ridicule.

To torture.

To death.

To what seems like a  snuffing out of the Light.

 

Light, though, will not be snuffed.

It penetrates darkness.

It draws you in with its warmth.

It is hope.

 

Jesus died.

So did Barabbas.

Jesus burst out of that grave, conquering King!

And why did we choose Barabbas again?

Oh yeah, we wanted the world, the dark, the muck…

When we could have had eternity.

When we could have had the Light.

 

There’s still time.

Don’t choose Barabbas.

– Susie Stewart

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Matthew 27:11-26

Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer.  Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.

Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd.  At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas.  So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?”  For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him.

While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”

But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.

“Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.“Barabbas,” they answered. “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.

They all answered, “Crucify him!”

“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”

All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”

Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

Luke 23:18

But the whole crowd shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!”

John 18:40

They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.

Falling (by my son, Arik Stewart)

Falling

 Once more you pulled against the nails, lifting yourself as the splinters scraped your torn shoulders. The thorns at your temples were nothing compared to the agony at your wrists. A last breath, and with it, you gasped a cry through the echoing universe. Your head dropped, your soul carrying the weight of the entire world into death.

I imagine you falling. I see you as a light crushed under the strain of all evil, dropping down into the darkness. A falling star thundering into oblivion. And for three days you fell through the terrors of wrath, enduring flames and shadow.

Until finally you arrived.

I felt the bedrock of damnation tremble under my feet as you touched down. Nothing less than the thunder of a million strands of lightning colliding with the ground. Yet, as you were consumed by the greatest punishment of all, you endured. Though the light had been ripped from my soul, your’s survived the tortures.

You found me broken and alone, the radiance of salvation gleaming through your eyes. As you neared, the loneliness and hopelessness of all eternity began to retreat and the surrounding darkness drew back into itself, fearful of your awesome power.

Taking your hand, I felt its warmth and life, fully aware of the coldness and death of my own. But something happened. You took on my darkness. You pulled it into yourself and endured its terrible price, destroying it forever. You put your hand to my heart and ignited the flame within, making it stronger than ever before. The light returned to my soul and I began to breathe.

Then we rose.

– Arik Stewart

Photo of Alek taken by Arik Stewart