“Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” Mark 14:25 (NIV)
Last time we were together, I was talking about the sermon series our senior pastor gave and how his explanation of heaven and hell made sense. The following Sunday our pastor concluded The Promise series and I learned as much from the fourth cup as I did from the third. He explained how Jesus purposefully didn’t drink from the fourth cup until He was on the cross, right before He died. By drinking of the fourth cup then, He was concluding Passover and introducing the adoption of His children into the Kingdom. Everyone who chooses to accept Jesus as the only way to Heaven and accepts Him into their life as their personal Savior isn’t just saved from eternity in hell, but it goes one step further – they are no longer slaves but made children, receiving all the blessings that children receive in a family.
Later that afternoon, our family rented Son of God, newly released at the video store. As we sat down and watched the movie, the sermon only hours before came to life. All the symbolism that our pastor had explained earlier that day played across the screen, it went from words on a page to live and in person. I began to cry thinking about the suffering that Jesus endured all because of His love for us.
Our four-year-old was sitting on my lap and I said to him, “Isn’t this sad?” He looked at me first with confusion and then almost with reassurance. “No, mommy. It’s happy. Jesus died so that He can live in our hearts and we can live with Him in Heaven when we die.” How could I argue with that?
The passion I heard in my pastor’s voice one week earlier (well, in honesty that I hear every week) had reached my heart. It’s one thing for me to read about the suffering of the people in the Bible for their love of Jesus, but it’s another when I see it play out in front of my eyes. To see Jesus as “God who came down in human form with all the human emotions that we experience” was humbling. To know that He knew the only way to save mankind was to die a horrific death, knowing the physical pain He was about to suffer, yet choosing to suffer anyway because of His great love for us overwhelmed me to say the least.
To think that Someone loves me that much…and then to think of the things I’m not willing to give up for Him. I was ashamed of myself and yet was motivated out of love for Him to change. Eating in a healthy manner isn’t about obtaining a certain size – it’s about being my best for Him. Learning how to balance all the activities in my life isn’t as much about me as it is about representing Him well. And, ultimately, everything that I do in life revolves around His very purpose of coming to walk on this Earth for thirty-three short years. I get to do my part to spread His love to everyone around me with the faith that some will listen and get to experience eternal life living alongside Jesus, myself, and many others who also have made the same choice. It becomes a privilege and a blessing, not something to do out of obligation or to check off my list. And, ultimately, when God becomes so real in a person’s life, why wouldn’t I want to share that with everyone else? To give them the chance to experience it for themselves? That’s really what salvation is all about.
© Cheri Swalwell 2014