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He stayed - a meditation from Laurie Howell

Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. Genesis 3:7 Our pastor read this verse last Sunday as part of his sermon series, Four Chapter Gospel, and then explained that Adam and Eve were experiencing a deep sense of exposure and shame and what followed was a flurry of activity that involved covering and hiding and blame shifting. Activities that I know all too well. While listening, another scripture passage came to mind from Hebrews 12:2. For the joy set before him, Jesus endured the cross, despising the shame. He who knew no sin or shame, became sin and shame for me. Abandoned, mocked, tortured, and stripped naked, he could have called legions of angels, but he stayed under the shame, under the watching eyes of the crowd and under the judgement of God. He stayed! He stayed because he knew that if he didn’t, I would be trapped in an endless cycle of covering and hiding – from myself, other people, and God. He stayed and he despised the shame – looking it in the eye and breaking its power.

Charles Spurgeon wrote a powerful commentary on a passage in John 18 where Jesus, speaking to the band of soldiers and Jewish officials who came to arrest him in the garden, said “I am he, so if you seek me, let these men go.” Spurgeon said we have the very soul and spirit of the atonement in these words. Psalm 23 teaches us that the Lord is our shepherd and in John 10 the Lord tell us that he is the shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep and pleads that they must therefore go free. Justice demands that those for whom He stands as a substitute should go free. Even Satan hears the well-known voice and lifts his foot from the neck of the fallen; and death hears it too, and the grave opens her gates to let the dead arise. Because Jesus stayed, He can command shame to let his people go too. He can command despair and fear and lust and all the rest of the enemies of God’s people to let his people go.

He stayed! These two words have deeply comforted me over the last few days. If this kind of “God is for us, who can be against us. He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32. This is something I can hold onto, even during a pandemic.

These two words have also challenged me. After a contentious conversation with a friend where I felt shamed and accused, I wanted to send a message to her through distance and silence, my version of covering and hiding, but I remembered that HE STAYED. So, I stayed because I am called to be “an imitator of God, as a beloved child, walking in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2.

Melted by the cross, filled with hope by the cross, changed by the cross. This is how Christians are to live.

Laurie and Graham have been members of Northside Church of Richmond for five years and she loves that NCR folks are all about fostering love for Jesus, and from that, love for others.


Comments

  1. Thank you for writing this, Laurie. I appreciate the reminder that since Christ endured on our behalf, we too can endure. - Joel

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, thank you Laurie! I love this perspective. :) -Nikki

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