Monday, September 22, 2008

The Power of His Passion

Went to church Sunday morning, and what a morning it was. The pastors have invested thousands of dollars in an organ, but have not yet hired a full time musician to play it. So in absence of a musician the pastor who led yesterday’s worship informs the congregation that the praise and worship music will be by courtesy of a compact disc. He goes to the control room and puts the music on. We (in the pew and congregation) immediately pick up the tempo and cadence.

A little hand clapping and some foot stomping began to rise and spread across the room. By the second stanza of “Hallelujah” the flow is all over the place. “God is high above the heavens,” the sung leader sang, and we repeated her words, tone, tenor, pitch and melody. “Halle, Halle, Halle, luuh-aaah,” we all sang. It was good. It was refreshing!

Then the pastor played a different song. The music was upbeat, but the words did the reaching and grasping of my spirit:

“Living He loved me
Dying He saved me
Buried he carried my sins far
Rising He justified me
Freed me forever
One day He’s coming back
Glorious day.”

While I was feasting on His love for me, made known in his death for me, and his carrying my sins far away, the next verse began to play:

“One day when heaven
Was filled with his praises
One day when sin was as
Black as could be
That’s when Jesus came down
To be born of a virgin
Dwelt among the many our
Example is he.”

We all sang loudly:

“Living He loved me
Dying He saved me
Buried he carried my sins far

By now I feel the anointing and I am about to have a shouting good time. The music continued with this verse:

One day they led Him
Up Calvary’s mountain
That day when they nailed
Him to die on a tree
O’ suffering and anguish
Bearing our sins our example is He.”

(From “One Day,” written by J. Wilbur Chapman around the turn of the 20th Century. Arranged and sung by Donnie McClurkin).

When the singer got to the part where he was singing about how they “nailed Him to a tree,” I felt the King of Glory walk in the room. He walked in and stood right next to me. I had my eyes closed the entire time, only opened far enough for the tears to seep out, but I know it was Him. I could feel his Presence. I knew beyond any doubt that He was there.

I know it was Him for three reasons:

First, I know I was close to the King because the closer he got to me the more my thoughts became filled with Him. My whole being, mind, body, and spirit were saturated with thoughts of how the Lord Jesus is wonderful, loving, merciful, and kind. Every breath spawned a myriad of new thoughts about his goodness. I could feel myself just floating around in his goodness.

The second reason I know that the King Eternal was near me was because he lifted my depression. He brought me ineffable joy! This is not just an aesthetic laughter; it is a renewal of hope, and a renewed certainty that tomorrow will be better then yesterday. This joy is the new wine of life that Jesus gives to the full. He has taught me that you cannot be depressed and be delivered at the same time. Wherever Jesus is, there deliverance is found. When Jesus walks in depression seeks a new address.

Thirdly, I knew that it was truly the King because all this joy was based on his sacrifice at Calvary. I was not joyful about one of my new accomplishment or a personal high achievement; in fact what I was joyful about was something that I had absolutely nothing to do with: Jesus died for me! In a split second I thought about the anguish of Gethsemane, the agonies of Calvary: the bloody sweat, the anguished crying, the lash on his back, the nails in His hands, the spikes in his feet, and the pain he suffered when separated from his Father.

It seemed like someone was standing near me reading out loud the words of Isaiah 53. I hear it even now:
“He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…Surely he has born 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” (Isa. 53: 3-4). “I get joy when I think about just what he done for me.”

My shout didn’t start in earnest till the singer said:

“One day they led Him
Up Calvary’s mountain
That day when they nailed
Him to die on a tree”

It was the “dying on the tree” part that brought me into the Presence of the King of Glory. Every now and then I have to go back to Calvary. Sometimes the Lord has to remind me that “I am not my own. I have been bought with a price” (from I Cor. 6:19-20). Thinking about Jesus’ suffering at Calvary brought me into the Presence of the Lord. His Presence gave me joy.

If you want your joy back, stop thinking about what you are going through and start thinking about what He went through for you. Forget about your hardship and dwell on the suffering that Jesus experienced for you.

Did you know that the Passion of our Christ is so powerful that you can release deliverance just by contemplating it and praising God for it? If you praise God for the Passion of Jesus he will release great deliverance for you.

Read a portion of Isaiah 53 each day for seven days and think about it. Don’t ask God for a thing. Just read and think about his suffering. (The vision of Isaiah 53 actually begins in Isaiah 52:12).

Day 1: Isa. 52: 12- 53:1-2
Day 2: Isa. 53:3-4
Day 3: Isa. 53:3-4
Day 4: Isa. 53:5-6
Day 5: Isa. 53:7-8
Day 6: Isa.53:9-10
Day 7: Isa. 53:11-12

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