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[IP] His Love

"I Love You Enough To Become One of You"
          - - - God's Promise in the Crown of Thorns - -

God was pleased for all of Himself to live in Christ.  Colossians 1:19

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.  We have seen His
glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of
grace and truth.  John 1:14

I and the Father are one.   John 10:30

You were bought, not with something that ruins like gold or silver, but
with the precious blood of Christ, who was like a pure and perfect
lamb..  Christ was chosen before the world was made, but He was shown to
the world in these last times for your sake.  I Peter 1:18-20

He not only perfectly understands our case and our problem, but He has
morally, actively, finally solved it.    P.T. Forsyth

- - - - - -

You know the coolest thing about the coming of Christ?  You know the most
remarkable part of the incarnation?

Not just that He swapped eternity for calendars.  Though such an exchange
deserves our notice.

Scripture says that the number of God's years is unsearchable (Job
36:26).  We may search out the moment the first wave slapped on a shore or
the first star burst in the sky, but we'll never find the first moment when
God was God, for there is no moment when God was not God.  He has never
*not been,* for He is eternal.  God is not bound by time.

But when Jesus came to earth, all this changed.  He heard for the first
time a phrase never used in heaven: "Your time is up."  As a child, He had
to leave the Temple because His time was up.  As a man, He had to leave
Nazareth because His time was up.  And as a Savior, He had to die because
His time was up.  For 33 years, the stallion of heaven lived in the corral
of time.

That's certainly remarkable, but there is something even more so.

You want to see the brightest jewel in the treasure of the
incarnation?  You might think it was the fact that He lived in a body.  One
moment He was a boundless spirit, the next He was flesh and
bones.  Remember these words of King David?  "Where can I go to get away
from Your Spirit?  Where can I run from You?  If I go up to the heavens,
You are there.  If I lie down in the grave, You are there.  If I rise with
the sun in the east and settle in the west beyond the sea, even there You
would guide me."  (Psalm 139:7-10).

Our asking, "Where is God?" is like a fish asking, "Where is water?" or a
bird asking "Where is air?"  God is everywhere!  Equally present in Peking
and Peoria.  As active in the lives of Icelanders as in the lives of
Texans.  The dominion of God is "from sea to sea and from the River to the
ends of the earth" (Psalm 72:8).  We cannot find a place where God is not.

Yet when God entered time and became a man, He who was boundless became
bound.  Imprisoned in flesh.  Restricted by weary-prone muscles and
eyelids.  For more than three decades, His once limitless reach would be
limited to the stretch of an arm, His speed checked to the pace of human feet.

I wonder, was He ever tempted to reclaim His boundlessness?  In the middle
of a long trip, did He ever consider transporting Himself to the next
city?  When the rain chilled His bones, was He tempted to change the
weather?  When the heat parched His lips, did He give thought to popping
over to the Caribbean for some refreshment?

If ever He entertained such thoughts, He never gave in to them.  Not
once.  Stop and think about this.  Not once did Christ use His supernatural
powers for personal comfort.  With one word He could've transformed the
hard earth into a soft bed, but He didn't.  With a wave of His hand, He
could've boomeranged the spit of His accusers back into their faces, but He
didn't.  With an arch of His brow, He could've paralyzed the hand of the
soldier as he braided the crown of thorns.  But He didn't.

Remarkable.  But is this the most remarkable part of the coming?  Many
would argue not.  Many, perhaps most, would point beyond the surrender of
timelessness and boundlessness to the surrender of sinlessness.  It's easy
to see why.

Isn't this the message of the crown of thorns?

An unnamed soldier took branches - mature enough to bear thorns, nimble
enough to bend - and wove them into a crown of mockery, a crown of thorns.

Throughout Scripture thorns symbolize, not sin, but the consequence of
sin.  Remember Eden?  After Adam and Eve sinned, God cursed the land: "So I
will put a curse on the ground . . . The ground will produce thorns and
weeds for you, and you will eat the plants of the field."  (Genesis
3:17-18) Brambles on the earth are the product of sin in the heart.

This truth echoed in God's words to Moses.  He urged the Israelites to
purge the land of godless people.  Disobedience would result in
difficulties.  "But if you don't force those people out of the land, they
will bring you trouble.  They will be like sharp hooks in your eyes and
thorns in your sides."  (Numbers 33:55)

Rebellion results in thorns.  "Evil people's lives are like paths covered
with thorns and traps."  (Proverbs 22:5)   Jesus even compared the lives of
evil people to a thornbush.  In speaking of false prophets, He said, "You
will know these people by what they do.  Grapes don't come from
thornbushes, and figs don't come from thorny weeds."  (Matthew 7:16)

The fruit of sin is thorns - spiny, prickly, cutting thorns.

I emphasize the "point" of the thorns to suggest a point you may have never
considered: If the fruit of sin is thorns, isn't the thorny crown on
Christ's brow a picture of the fruit of our sin that pierced His heart?
What is the fruit of sin?  Step into the briar patch of humanity and feel a
few thistles.  Shame.  Fear.  Disgrace.  Discouragement.  Anxiety.  Haven't
our hearts been caught in these brambles?

The heart of Jesus, however, had not.  He had never been cut by the thorns
of sin.  What you and I face daily, He never knew.  Anxiety?  He was never
worried!  Guilt?  He was never guilty!  Fear?  He never left the presence
of God!  Jesus never knew the fruits of sin . . . . until He became sin for

And when He did, all the emotions of sin tumbled in on Him like shadows in
a forest.  He felt anxious, guilty, and alone.  Can't you hear the emotion
in His prayer?  "My God, My God, why have You rejected Me?" (Matthew 27:46)
These are not the words of a saint.  This is the cry of a sinner.

And this prayer is one of the most remarkable parts of His coming.  But I
can think of something even greater.  Want to know what it is?  Want to
know the coolest thing about the coming?

Not that the One who played marbles with the stars gave it up to play
marbles with marbles.  Or that the One who hung the galaxies gave it up to
hang doorjambs to the displeasure of a cranky client who wanted everything
yesterday but couldn't pay for anything until tomorrow.

Not that He, in an instant, went from needing nothing to needing air, food,
a tub of hot water and salts for His tired feet, and, more than anything,
needing somebody - anybody - who was more concerned about where he would
spend eternity than where he would spend Friday's paycheck.

Or that He resisted the urge to fry the two-bit, self-appointed hall
monitors of holiness who dared suggest that He was doing the work of the

Not that He kept His cool while the dozen best friends He ever had felt the
heat and got out of the kitchen.  Or that He gave no command to the angels
who begged, "Just give the nod, Lord.  One word and these demons will be
deviled eggs."

Not that He refused to defend Himself when blamed for every sin of every
slut and sailor since Adam.  Or that He stood silent as a million guilty
verdicts echoed in the tribunal of heaven and the Giver of Light was left
in the chill of a sinner's night.

Not even that after three days in a dark hole He stepped into the Easter
sunrise with a smile and a swagger and a question for lowly Lucifer - "Is
that your best punch?"

That was cool, incredibly cool.

But want to know the coolest thing about the One who gave up the crown of
heaven for a crown of thorns?

He did it for you.  Just for you.

            - Max Lucado
    From "He Chose the Nails"
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