[DAY 17 of 21] "The Journey To Your Restoration ~ A Living Sacrifice"

"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53: 3-5) "I beseech you therefore, by the mercies of God that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." (Romans 12: 1) 

The Agape love helps us to understand that for which we have been apprehended. It is a call for sacrifice and to give up on things that we value the most and perhaps even to let go of persons in our lives that we hold dear to our heart all for the sake of following Christ. When that time comes, it is like having an extraction with the anesthesia. It is likened to walking on a very narrow street without the light and you having to even turn sideways just to get through it. It is a journey that you take all by yourself but having the full thought of God that He would never leave you nor forsake you no matter how bad it gets.

Picture yourself being led one day through 'the valley of Elah' where you meet many great forces that want to conquer, enslave, and kill you. It is the place where you have got to face every Goliath in your life. (1 Samuel 17:2,40) Then you are taken through 'the valley of Baca' meaning 'tears.' (Psalm 84:6) It signifies many weeping and watery valleys.(1 Sam. 30:4; Job 30:16) Finally, just imagine being led through 'the valley of the shadow of death.'  The only faint sound that you are likely to hear is that of your breathing and if you are so blessed, you hear the sound of liquid glass as they roll down the river banks of your cheeks. You see, all of us as we travel life's journey, on our way to heaven lies for each one of us one or more of these valleys. 

Jesus who was once offered to bear the sins of many and as the only sacrifice of atonement, was led through every one of these valleys for our sake. A perfect model of 'A Living Sacrifice.' Nothing or no one else could have done it for us. He is God's only Son, yet God spared Him not. "He is stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before the shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth." (Isaiah 53:4, 7) Jesus' last days here on earth were the most agonizing. He was prosecuted and delivered up to Pilate. We are reminded of His arraignment and trial before Pilate, and the clamours of the people against Him, and the sentence that was passed.The warrant for His execution was then signed.

As He was led to the place of execution He had all possible indignities done to Him. Four Roman soldiers we are told were employed to crucify Him. They stripped Him, and the sham of majesty was put upon Him when He was dressed in a red cloak called a scarlet robe. To make it all the more undignified, shameful and painful, they platted a crown of thorns and placed it upon His head. They placed a scepter in His right hand as if it was a scepter fit for the King of kings. It was a worthless thing done, for the scepter was made of reed, a reed they would later take and smite Him with on His head. In doing homage, it is the custom that they would kiss the one that is sovereign as a token of allegiance, but they in the mock homage spat in His face instead of kissing Him.

All this time heaven frowned upon Him and God hid His face from Him as He was delivered into the hands of His enemies. No angel was sent from heaven to deliver Him, and no friend appeared for Him. He was made to carry a two hundred pounds cross upon His back, the very wood upon which He would be sacrificed. As the nine and twelve inch rusty spikes barbarously driven into His hands and feet shattered His bones, the light of the sun was withheld, even heaven denied Him a beam of light, and earth denied Him a drop of water. Instead, they barely wet His lips with vinegar, the intention of which being to paralyze His vocal cords, an attempt clearly to shut off His vocal cords that He not speak.

And so, with mangled pieces of flesh by then hanging from a near lifeless body, shoulder bones, hip bones, and every other bone dislodged from their sockets, blood running from every part of His body that He suffered at the whipping pole, Jesus is said to have spent those last three dark and gruesome hours in a silent retirement into His own soul. Just before the three o'clock hour, the time He died, He uttered with a loud voice, "It is finished." (John 19:30) Although He was in much pain and anguish, He spoke like a man in His full strength, to show the world that His life was not forced from him, but was freely delivered by Him into His Father's hands. Christ our Passover, the Paschal Lamb, without spot and without blemish, became "A Living Sacrifice" for us. (1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:19)

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