Message from the Pastor's Desk
Isaiah 53: 7b "...like a lamb that is led to the slaughter and like a sheep that before its shearers is
silent, so he did not open his mouth".
In Dr. Luke's description of the crucifixion, (Luke chapter 23), Luke presents a stark contrast between Jesus' response
to the suffering of the cross with the two thieves who were also crucified with Him that day. Initially, both thieves
rail against Jesus, deriding and mocking Him, but Jesus does not express any words of anger in retaliation. In fact,
throughout the entire ordeal, even to his bitter and shameful death on the cross, He practiced what he preached, when he
said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you".
The two thieves would do anything; say anything, in an attempt to escape this terrible fate, but Jesus remains silent,
obediently enduring the suffering without bitterness. Why? Because the cross was in the Father's plan. Jesus death would
atone for our sins. It was love that led Him there. Peter Marshall, a former Chaplain of the United States Congress,
describes what occurred so well. "He (Jesus) might have compromised with the priests, made a bargain with Caiaphas, talked
things over with Pilate. He might have made His kingdom political instead of spiritual. He might have chosen the expedient
rather than the right. As He himself reminded Peter, He might have called upon twelve legions of angels to rescue Him and
show His great power. He might have withstood the plotting and devices of wicked men. Yes, He might have saved Himself. He
had the power, but then He would never have been our Savior. If any man will save others, in any salvation whatsoever, the
mandate he must obey, the stern condition he must fulfill, is that he cannot save himself. Such is the paradox of salvation!
"The acorn cannot save itself if it is to bud a tree. The soldier cannot save himself if he is to save the country. Nor can
the Shepherd save Himself if He would save His sheep".
Christ is the Good Shepherd and the Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep. For to love is never to think of one's
self but to give one's self away in love for the one loved. Jesus loved us and "gave himself for us".
In the Holy season we are entering, leading up to Good Friday and our celebration of the Resurrection of Christ, may we ponder
again the great mystery of the cross and our redemption. On Calvary's tree Jesus willingly sacrificed His life for sinners
like you and me that we might know of God's love for us, find forgiveness, and enjoy eternal life.
"Like a lamb led to slaughter...so he did not open his mouth", that those who believe might open their mouths to sing His Praise.
Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Yours in Christ,
Pastor George Kaden