Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Heart of Christmas: The No-Shame Gift of Grace

This morning, I reached another of my favorite sections of Isaiah. It's a Messianic prophecy and it speaks of Jesus' last hours before His crucifixion. 

"I gave My back to those who strike Me,
And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard;
I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting,
For the Lord God helps Me,
Therefore, I am not disgraced;
Therefore, I have set My face like flint,
And I know that I shall not be ashamed.
He who vindicates Me is near..."
Isaiah 50:6-8a

It's hard, amidst the sparkle of lights and the glitter of ornaments, to remember that these verses are at the very heart of Christmas, but they are. 

Our precious, kind and loving Jesus wasn't taken. He was given. He wasn't forced. He submitted.

From the moment He burst forth from His mama's womb, Jesus was headed to the cross by way of the striking, plucking, spitting humiliation. 

He could've refused, but He didn't. 

Jesus set His face like flint because He knew that, in the end, He would be vindicated, not ashamed.

He knew what none of His disciples could have ever anticipated. When He rose from the dead and the stone rolled away, all the shame would be gone. No humiliation. Only victory.

It was a hard price to pay, but He paid it for me. For you. 

In a burst of divine mercy I'll never be able to understand, He embraced the beating. The crucifixion. The death. He pressed on because He knew what was on the other side of the pain. He knew what came after the humiliation.

Victory. Joy. Freedom. Reconciliation.

No matter what we face, we, too, can press on because of His example. Life may not be easy here, but one day we'll see the victory. Joy. Freedom. Reconciliation. When we do, it will all be worth it.

Today, let's celebrate the manger and embrace the cross. The Savior has come. The cross has been borne. The grave has been emptied. The work has been done. The no-shame gift of grace has been given. 

Hallelujah what a Savior!
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: We Are Not Forgotten
If God leads you to help support this ministry, (prayer and outreach, both digital and in-person) you can use this link: Support Leanna's Ministry (use account #4841)
#advent #Jesus