Called to Worship – Issue #11
by Phil Mershon
“He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve” Psalm 103:10
Pastor C.J. Mahaney loves to catch people off guard. When asked the familiar “How are you?” while standing in line at Starbucks, his favorite response is, “Better than I deserve.”
He means God loves him and treats him far better than he deserves because of Jesus. Some poor unsuspecting baristas often try to cheer him up after that comment. C.J. gets the chance to cheer them up with the good news of the gospel.
If you’re like me, there are many days I need to be cheered up with this incredible news, “God doesn’t treat me as my sins deserve.” In fact, God takes my sin and removes it from me as far as the east is from the west. All this is done through the perfect life, death and resurrection of Jesus. You see, he also wasn’t treated as he deserved—he was treated as I deserved.
A song that helps me ponder Jesus’ journey to the cross is Lead Me to the Cross by Brooke Fraser
Take a Spiritual Test:
One of the most challenging spiritual exercises I’ve been asked to do is rehearse Jesus’ passion week as if I was there. Starting at the triumphal entry all the way through the resurrection and the events before Jesus final ascension, I ask myself, “What would I have been doing?”
I easily see myself welcoming Jesus with joy at the triumphal entry. Finally, Jesus has come to assume his rightful place of authority. God has heard the cries of his people (yet again) and he has sent Jesus to deliver us from Rome.
At the Passover meal would I have insisted Jesus wash my whole body, like Peter?
In the Garden, where would I have been while Jesus prayed? Certainly I would have been sound asleep. My flesh is much weaker than my spirit. I would like to think I’ve developed the kind of relationship with Jesus that I might join the inner three, but I know the truth is that I am too afraid to risk my heart.
When it comes to the arrest, I might have been like the boy who lost his clothes when trying to run away. I’m sure I would have been like Peter, denying I even knew Jesus.
When standing among the crowd awaiting Jesus’ verdict. I fear I would have joined the chorus, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
Watching the flogging and the crucifixion, I’m ashamed by my unwillingness to speak up. I should say, “He doesn’t deserve this death. I do.” Instead I passively watch until Jesus’ eyes meet mine. He can’t speak as he awaits his final breath, but his eyes tell it all. With deep compassion I can almost hear him say, “Phil, I’m doing this for you.”
That’s the thought that undoes me every time.
How about you? Share your thoughts below.
Devon Kauflin has arranged a moving rendition of What a Savior (Man of Sorrows) that helps me respond to the grace of Jesus.