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Devotionals

“God is light; In him there is no darkness...”  [1 John 1:5]

Devotional No 35 - What if?

Veronica Moncrieff

31 Jan 2022

We have an amazing hope for the future – and nothing can separate us from God’s love.


‘What if’ is an expression we have all thought, if not said, hundreds of times.


‘What if I forgot to put the oven on this morning before going to Church’, ‘What if I hadn’t been in such a hurry when I was driving my car’, ‘What if I’d made that phone call earlier’.


What if Christ had not died, or if He had died and not risen again. Where would our relationship with God be, and what about any hope for the future?


Today is Passion Sunday and the story of Christ’s passion has been heard so many times before, across the world, that sometimes it‘s good to stop and look at what happened, all those years ago, with fresh eyes, as if for the first time.


John 12 tells us the time of Jesus’ crucifixion was drawing near. As the time came nearer Jesus’ heart became more troubled – remember He was 100 per cent human as well as 100 per cent God. As God, He knew exactly what was going to happen and the necessity of His death. But as a human being, He was very aware of the cost. Verse 27 tells us Jesus said “Now is my heart troubled and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”


Let’s fast forward a little to the Garden of Gethsemane on the evening before the crucifixion.

What if He hadn’t gone to Gethsemane on that fateful evening. He knew that Judas and the mob would come for Him. He could have avoided it, and left Jerusalem earlier in the day.


Instead, He knelt alone in Gethsemane. Luke 22 says “His disciples were exhausted with sorrow” and couldn’t stay awake.


Jesus felt such agony of soul that He sweat what looked like drops of blood falling to the ground. What if, when He was in such anguish, the angel came and instead of just strengthening Him, took Jesus back to heaven, and God took the ‘cup’ of suffering from Him, deciding the cost was too great.


Where would we all be then? But Jesus did take the cup and drank all of it. Why did He do It?

Because judgement demands justice.


Imagine a place where there is no judgement, no justice, no laws – anything goes. Nobody would be safe. It would be hell, a fearful, dreadful place to be.


We think of God as a God of love and compassion, which, thankfully, the Bible says is true. But it also says that He is a God of Judgement and Justice.


The writer to the Hebrews ch 9 verses 27, 28 says – “Just as man is destined to die once and after that to face judgement, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people…”

God is a holy, righteous God, and the Bible tells us His eyes are too pure to look on evil, He can’t tolerate wrong (Habakkuk 1 : 13). Which is why when Jesus was on the cross He cried out “My God why have you forsaken me?” Jesus was bearing our sin – more than that – the Bible says He actually became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5 : 21) and His Father had to look away. How heart breaking.


So why, did Jesus go though with it? He was God the Son, part of the holy trinity. He absolutely knew this would happen.


When I was a child growing up, I went with my parents to a small village church. I was fascinated by an old man, who used to sit about four seats in front of me.


During the Holy Communion services we received the sacraments from our pews and he could be heard whispering to himself as he was passed the bread and the wine. I could hear him, distinctly, whispering “It was for me, it was for me”, over and over again.


It made such an impression on me that even now, after a good many years, during the Communion service I can still hear his voice whispering “it was for me”.


That was why Jesus did it – it was for me and it was for you, because He knew there was no other way for our relationship with God the Father to be restored, and His love for each one of us is stronger and deeper than we could ever imagine.


So He hung there for six hours and as the people watched Him, many sneered, saying “ He saved others, let Him save Himself, if He’s the Christ “.


What if He did save Himself? The Bible says He could have called 12 legions of angels, that is, a number impossible to count. They were poised ready. He only had to say the word and they would have been there in an instant. But He didn’t.


Later, in John ch 19, we read that Jesus cried with a loud voice “It is finished”. The word ‘finished’, used here means ‘paid in full’. Our debt is fully paid.


At that moment the temple curtain, which separated God from the people, was torn in two from the top to the bottom. This visual aid was of deep significance to the Jews and to us today, because God himself tore that curtain and removed the barrier. The way to God is now open, each individual can freely approach Him because of what Jesus has done.


But it doesn’t end with His death! Easter Sunday is coming and we can celebrate His powerful resurrection with joy and thanksgiving.


We have an amazing hope for the future – and nothing can separate us from God’s love.


God bless


Veronica


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