Weekly Message for Lent: Ian Lowe 

Week 6: Reflection

The Bible tells us that long before the world began God had a plan to bring redemption through Christ to all those who would choose to believe and follow after Him (1 Peter 1:19-20). God knew we would need a Saviour. He knew we would need to be set free. And He made a way, by sending His One and Only Son, so that we could receive forgiveness and find new life and hope through Him (John 3:16).

Woven throughout the Scriptures in the Old Testament are prophecies that speak of the Christ who was to come. And we must realise this concerning prophecies from 2 Peter1:20-21 
•    No prophecy in Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, 
•    No prophecy ever originated through a human decision. Instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 

After much research Bible scholars have concluded, that even before Jesus was born, more than 300 prophecies were recorded to tell of His coming, His life, His journey to the cross and of His Powerful Resurrection.
Jesus is the fulfilment of Scripture. He is the Word. He is the Light. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father but through Him. Jesus has fulfilled every single prophetic word. So as we consider this lent season, it would be good for us to just spend some time to meditate, on this amazing God Story, history is His-story, and all who believe in Jesus are now part, of God’s great story.

Here are 10 prophecies of Christ’s journey to the cross and the resurrection

1. Christ's Triumphant Ride into Jerusalem
Prophecy - “Rejoice greatly, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey – even on a donkey’s colt.” (Zechariah 9:9)
Fulfillment by Christ -  (John 12:12-15)

2. Rejection of Christ by His Own People
Prophecy - "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not." (Isaiah 53:3)
Fulfillment by - (John 1:10-11)

3. Jesus was Silent before His Accusers
Prophecy - "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." (Isaiah 53:7)
Fulfillment by Christ -  Mark 15:5)

4. The Soldiers Divided His Garments and Cast Lots for His Clothes
Prophecy - " They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing." (Psalm 22:17-18)
Fulfillment by Christ -  (John 19:23)

5. Not One of His Bones Would be Broken
Prophecy - “They must not leave any of the lamb until the next morning, and they must not break any of its bones. They must follow all the normal regulations concerning the Passover.” (Numbers 9:12)
Fulfillment by Christ -  (John 19:31-37)

6. They Would Pierce His Hands and Feet
Prophecy - “My life is poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within Me. My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of My mouth. You have laid Me in the dust and left Me for dead. My enemies surround Me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on Me. They have pierced My hands and feet.” (Psalm 22:14-16)
Fulfillment by Christ –  (Luke 24:39) (Galatians 3:13)

7. Jesus Will Die as a Sacrifice for Our Sins
Prophecy - “But He was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on Him the guilt and sins of us all. From prison and trial they led Him away to His death. But who among the people realized that He was dying for their sins – that He was suffering their punishment? I will give Him the honors of One who is mighty and great, because He exposed Himself to death. He was counted among those who were sinners. He bore the sins of many and interceded for sinners.” (Isaiah 53:5-6, 8, 12)
Fulfillment by Christ –  (1 Peter 2:24) (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

8. Jesus was Buried in a Rich Man's Tomb
Prophecy - “He had done no wrong, and He never deceived anyone. But He was buried like a criminal; He was put in a rich man’s grave.” (Isaiah 53:9)
Fulfillment by Christ – Matthew 27:57-60

9. Jesus Would Not Stay Buried but Rose from the Dead
Prophecy – “For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.” (Psalm 16:10)
Fulfillment by Christ –  (Matthew 28:6) (Romans 6:8-11)

10. Christ Would be Seated at the Right Hand of God
Prophecy - “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit in honour at My right hand until I humble Your enemies, making them a footstool under Your feet.’” (Psalm 110:1)
Fulfillment by Christ -  (Hebrews 10:12-13) (Acts 2:32-36)

One event that has intrigued me during Lent is John 13, the scene in which Jesus washes the disciples’ feet. This story presents the Last Supper and has traditionally become part of churches Maundy Thursday rituals.
Admittedly, I would find this service a bit uncomfortable. However Jesus’ demonstration, so full of meaning, made me want to explore the Scripture more deeply.
In the Old Testament, priests performed and received ceremonial foot washings before they entered the temple for worship. Foot washing was a serious matter. A basin for foot washing would have been placed between the Tent of Meeting and the altar so Aaron and his sons could wash before entering the Tent of Meeting.
“Whenever they enter the Tent of Meeting, they shall wash with water so that they will not die” (Exodus 30:20). Disregarding the ritual cleansing meant death to a priest.  Harsh !

In John 13:4-5, Jesus “got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” Jesus has placed the basin between the disciples and the altar, His cross. Through His death and His resurrection, Jesus makes holy all who come to the cross through the power of the Holy Spirit. Through Christ’s atoning work on the cross, the disciples and all believers are made holy and righteous before God and then set apart for service in His body, the Church, a holy priesthood of believers. Jesus washes his disciples’ feet to purify and cleanse them for their service to God.  “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me” (John 13:8).
Jesus anoints the disciples for their new role as priests in the new temple that God will raise up. Jesus ordains them so they can serve His church when He leaves this world to return to the Father. Through the act of purification, Jesus shows a picture of His transferring His holiness to the disciples so they will be set apart from the world even though they will remain in the world. Jesus teaches His disciples that his holiness, salvation and purity will all come through Him and His suffering. 

Now, likewise, each saved sinner is called to the Church to be a priest in the “kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:6) and part of God’s “holy nation” (Exodus 19:6) on earth. As such, the new believer discards the clothing of the old man, and these new priests receive the sacred garments of righteousness, godliness and holiness through Christ. 

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9-10).

And finally…..

We conclude our lent reflections with this summary.
Over the years while studying the word of God, I have missed how this season of Lent , can really benefit my life in a special way causing me to refocusing my thoughts on what Jesus endured for me. Think about it like this: Everything Jesus did, He did for the salvation of all mankind. That means the time He spent enduring temptation in the wilderness was for us. It was a stripping away of distractions before enduring a three year long ministry that would eventually lead Him to the cross, and those who chose to believe Him to repentance and salvation.  We often say and celebrate the fact that Jesus died for each of us on that cruel cross, but also it’s amazing to think that Jesus lived for me and you as well. He was tempted in every way as we are, but did not sin!

So through this season of Lent we can chose to give some things up, and even look at  adding some of what we learn in this season in to  disciplines into our  daily life. I want to be fully aware of what the cross means in a way I’ve never been before. I want these 40 days to draw me toward the Lord with a renewed and fresh revelation of the cross.

I don’t know about you, but I often need refocusing, more than I care to say ! I have to challenge distractions that come into my life, and be reminded by God of what is important. Life gets crazy. Many of us have family responsibilities, work duties and  everyday life issues that can make the cross more distant to our lives than it should be. Putting the cross back into the forefront of our vision, grounds us in His love. It’s not that we intentionally allow a gap between us and the cross, but life and all its challenges can distract us so discouraging us as to what happened on Calvary.  We become so wrapped up in the right now, that we need reminding of what made us whole and able to breathe the air of freedom in the first place.

Maybe you do a better job than I do at staying focused on this spiritual life, to walk ‘according to the Spirit’. Maybe you don’t allow the constant struggle of real life to get in your way. But, maybe you just might identify with me and need a time to reawaken your senses by placing the cross front and centre in your lives too. If that is the case then my prayer is that you will take this Lent season as a time of redirection, a time of reflection and refocus, remembering who Jesus is,  what Jesus did and what Jesus means to your life.
For me, the point isn’t really about what I give up or what I choose to do differently but it’s about allowing God, by His Holy Spirit, to transform my thinking that reminds me of the true gospel story which brings forth the revelation of Christ in my life.

I therefore urge you, brothers…..

In view of God's mercies, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices that are holy and pleasing to God, for this is the reasonable way for you to worship. 

Do not be conformed to this world, but continually be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God's will is—what is proper, pleasing, and perfect. 

For by the grace given to me I ask every one of you not to think of yourself more highly than you should think, rather to think of yourself with sober judgment on the measure of faith that God has assigned each of you. 

(Romans 12:1-3)

Throughout this season of Lent, may the revelation of who Jesus is and what Jesus has done, come alive to us all over again.