Ok, I admit it. When I read this truth this morning, something inside me bristled just a bit. That is hard to admit. In our independent society where the individual reigns and where personal freedom triumphs and where daily we hear messages like “if it feels good, do it” and “you deserve this or that” this whole idea flies in the face of cultural norms.
Truth for this week: I have been bought with a price. I belong to God.
1 Cor.6:19-20 says “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body.”
And what a price was paid.
To remind myself, I looked at Isaiah 53….
“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Like one from who men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed… He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth… For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer… because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
Another reminder of the price that was paid is the movie The Passion of Christ . This bloody and disturbing film depicts the last 12 hours of Jesus’ life. Although difficult to watch, and I had to cover my eyes, it is a very visual (and visceral perhaps?) reminder of what Jesus went through in order to bring us closer to God.
If we read through the gospel accounts of the last hours of Jesus, we see him in the garden of Gethsemane with his disciples. “He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death…’ (Matt.26:37-38). Feeling overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death? That sounds like a pretty intense place to be.
And on the cross he cries out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Can you imagine the anguish of being separated for the very first time from the essence of life? From Love itself? Jesus would never have known this separation before, as he and the Father are one (Jn. 10:30) He must have felt that he was in the pit of the blackness, as though his very spirit was torn from within him. And yet, for this moment, while all the sin of the world was upon his shoulders, God had to step away. A holy God could not embrace his suffering son in that moment because of the darkness that lay upon the sinless sacrificial lamb.
And Jesus did it for love. For love of you, and of me. That is the sole reason that he submitted to the plan. He knew that he had to be a sacrifice in order to bring about reconciliation between a holy God and his sin-scarred creation. Me. You. Us. All of us.
After revisiting all of that, how can I say I am my own? If I have made a commitment to follow Jesus, follow him daily, hourly, in every moment, how can I say that my life still belongs to me? How can I negate the suffering, the sorrow, and the ultimate sacrifice of God-made-flesh by saying that?
As we begin our Lenten journey today, I felt as though this was an appropriate truth to ponder. This week let’s ask God what it truly means to belong to him.
Jesus, thank you for this reminder that we belong to you. We belong to Love. But part of that entails sacrifice. Please help us to sink this truth deep down so that we might live out this truth in our daily lives.