It’s Easter. The time of year we set aside to remember what Jesus did for us. His sacrifice. His love. But have you ever paused to consider what Jesus didn’t do for you?
1. He didn’t stay in Heaven. Now I can understand going from earth to heaven. I’m looking forward to it. But Heaven to earth? No thanks. Yet Jesus didn’t hesitate. Leaving behind the blessed sound of seraphim calling “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts” (Is. 6:3). In exchange for “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” (John 19:15).
Abandoning the throne room of heaven glistening of crystal and sapphire for nothing. No place to lay his head. His appearance reduced to something despised and rejected with “no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him” (Is. 53:2). Instead of the glorious appearance of gleaming metal and fire encompassed by the brilliance of a rainbow (Ezekiel 1).
The marvelous presence of the Father replaced with that of fisherman, tax-collectors, self-righteous pharisees, the poor, the needy, and people like us. Downright sinners. Utterly and completely lost. So in need of a Savior He didn’t even consider for a brief moment staying in Heaven. Because…
2. He didn’t consider Himself better. Though he could have. Though He is. He didn’t. “He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light” (1 Tim. 6:15-16) humbled himself in the likeness of man. Counting others as more significant than himself. Though he is God, “he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being” (Phil. 2:6-7; NLT).
He washed the disciples feet. He walked from town to town. He spoke to a Samaritan harlot. He healed. He gave food. And ultimately he gave his body as a ransom for sin. Carrying his own cross as far as he possibly could. Though through Him “the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Col. 1:19). Though “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:3) He still never even once considered himself better. Therefore…
3. He didn’t sin. Ever. He died a criminal’s death as a perfectly righteous man. But I dare say it wasn’t easy. In every respect Christ was tempted just as we are. Tempted to lust. Tempted to give up. To get even. To give in. To fall headlong into a pit of despair because life simply isn’t fair. But He didn’t. Not even once. Day after day he remained sinless (Heb. 4:15). Even after forty days in the wilderness and who knows how many temptations from the devil (I don’t think Satan limited himself to just three); Jesus persisted in purity.
Even when they didn’t believe him and called him a liar. Even when they picked up stones to kill him. Even when they testified against him and spit in his face and mocked him as King of the Jews, he clung to holiness. How? Is beyond me. I would have failed miserably from the start. But Jesus didn’t. So he could be the holy and unblemished lamb necessary for our atonement. The once and for all offering given to God on our behalf. If only we’d believe. If only we’d bow in submission to the one who loves us beyond any conceivable measure.
How do I know? Because…
4. He didn’t get off the cross. His body racked with pain so agonizing most could not watch. His lungs compressed. His heart failing. His flesh ripping. The nails, the thorns, the agony of being rejected by God as the sin of man surged upon him. Yet he stayed. Compelled by his love for us. For sinful mankind – he remained. Crying out “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
The rulers sneered, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God” (Luke 23:35). Alongside the soldiers who yelled, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” But he wouldn’t. No he wouldn’t. Why? So HE could save them. So He could save us.
So we could spend eternity with him. Blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing. Made holy and blameless before a God who can accept nothing less. Adopted as sons. Made co-heirs with Christ to an eternal inheritance beyond anything we could possibly imagine. Redeemed by his blood! Forgiven! Freed from the clutches of sin. The riches of grace lavished upon us.
And as if that weren’t enough…
5. He didn’t leave us alone. He gave us the promise of his presence. (Matt. 28:20) Along with the Holy Spirit. Our helper, comforter, and counselor. Sealing us for the day of redemption. And allowing us the opportunity to do even greater works than he did. Sounds wrong doesn’t it? But it’s in there. “Truly, truly I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (Jn. 14:12). “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth” (Jn. 14:16,17).
But are we doing it? Are we doing the works Jesus did? Let alone something greater? As believers we have the power of God’s Spirit within us. So let’s be bold! Let’s be confident! And let’s tell the world what Jesus didn’t do for them.
Thank you Jesus – My Savior, My God. Thank you for all you did and didn’t do for me.