Yes, He was born as an infant in Bethlehem. But unlike you and me and every person that has ever drawn a breath in their lungs, He had no beginning. He may have had a father named Joseph, but before a star was ever hung in the night sky, He existed in sweet relationship with God the Father.
What a mystery. The first words Jesus ever uttered as a toddler, weren’t in fact His first words at all. Before anything was made, He spoke and planets spun into place. He spoke and the sun rose and set. He spoke and trees grew and swayed in the breeze with perfect harmony and precise poetry.
He wasn’t merely born into this world as a boy, but was given to the world as a gift…as a substitute….as the ultimate Hero. He was given by His Father. Unlike us who are constantly ebbing and flowing, seeking to discover purpose, He was born with no identity crisis. He lived to show us what God is like. To live a life that none could live and to a die a death not brought by his own hands.
He was born that men and women would no longer die. And His life never deviated from that pre-ordained path.
Some others long ago have written about this divine Jesus saying:
“He came into the very world He created, but the world didn’t recognize Him. He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him. This Word, this Son of God, became human and made His home with us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness”
“He was the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all His creation. He made the things we see, and the things we can’t see. He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together.”
We should never forget, especially during a week like Holy Week, that He was perfect. Always obeying His heavenly Father. He never had a hateful thought, a heart filled with lust for a moment, never tried to “get ahead” and was unceasingly serving and humble. Can you believe that? The Lord, the God, not bound by time, the Creator, considering others more important than Himself always, serving instead of seeking to be served. Always responding as a child, as a teenager, as a man, with grace and unconditional love. Although some mocked Him, He returned grace. Although they tried to kill Him, He loved them in return. He never wished the worst on His enemies, but always loved. He was always gentle at the right time. Also, strong and hard at the perfect time.
When He looked at people as He walked through His day, He always saw them as they truly were. He saw their heart, their motivations, their deepest desires, always viewing them through that lens, because His eyes were the eyes of God.
When His father asked Him to do something, He responded in joyful obedience. And the greatest test of obedience came during the final hours of this Messiah’s life. Now came the time, not for Him to have His life taken from Him, but for Him to GIVE His life. To consider others again more important than Himself. To love without strings attached. To be generous and hold nothing back. To give the world what they didn’t deserve and to give what He wasn’t obligated to give.
He was other worldly. Like no other. And rightfully so, because He was God.
As the hand of time etched closer to the end, the Son knelt down in a garden of despair. His face glowed as he glimpsed His Holy Hill, knowing the imminent conclusion that none could thwart. Bursting capillaries exploded as his future unfolded, the horror of the end none has ever known. The cup of wrath He soon would drink, a nightmare that made his stomach churn. But gladly He walked, obedient to the end, spiritually empowered for the gladness and glory of His Father.
Many people watched as the Son of God died. They saw the excruciating, physical pain and suffering He endured. If only they knew what was really happening. That the physical pain was nothing in comparison to what He was enduring beneath the surface.
Do you think the nails being driven through His hands were painful? Try having your hands and feet pierced while you carry the weight of the sins of the world on your shoulders.
He was experiencing death, not in simply a physical sense, but an eternal sense. He died the death we all had coming. And in the blink of the world’s eye, He felt brokenness. He felt separation, from the One who has been with Him since before the world was imagined. Before the first laugh. Before the first cry. What has always been normal to us, separation and brokenness with our Creator, was for the first time an experience for Jesus.
In the midst of all this internal sorrow, can you believe what He said? In the midst of Him experiencing the most sorrow and pain and anguish that any person has ever experienced in a moment’s time, He looks out and says to His Father – not “help me” – not “I change my mind” – and not “I don’t deserve this” – but, “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing. This is what Your God said. Son of God. Fully divine. Fully man. Jesus, the Messiah endures this for you, me and peoples from every nation, tribe and tongue.
“Come and see, look on this mystery, the Lord of the universe, nailed to a tree.” – F. Ortega
Join us for corporate prayer every Sunday afternoon from 3:00–3:30pm in the Twig’s area at Christ Church (Formerly The River Center) as we intercede for our church and the city. Come for the whole time, or just drop in for a moment.
Join us on Good Friday (April 14th) when we will be gathering together for a night of worship and reflection centered around the crucifixion of our Savior Jesus at our sister church, Hub City’s facility on 2nd and Lyons street in downtown Albany. Childcare will be provided and the service will start at 6pm.
Ladies on Saturday, April 22, we are going to take an in depth look at what it looks like to stand firm in the Lord by taking up the whole armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-20. We will meet from 9:30am-12pm at the Branch offices (760 SW Madison Ave) for an incredible time worshiping together in word and spirit! Contact Victoria Renard for more information.
On Saturday May 6th, the men at the Branch are invited to a day of rafting down the Clackamas river, followed by dinner. The cost for the event is $70, which includes rafting and all meals. This is a good event to bring your friends (christian/non-Christians) and enjoy some adventure and fun. Sign up online and if you have any questions email Stephen.
Get excited for the Branch’s 4th annual short-term missions fundraiser, Stumpies! You won’t want to miss out on this evening of fun, laughter, missions and dessert on Friday, May 12 at Grant Avenue Baptist Church (1625 NW Grant Ave.) Doors will open at 6:30pm and the event will begin at 7:00pm. We will be providing childcare for the evening and invite all of our families to bring their children!
Our Community Forum is for members of The Branch to come together, share a meal, hear about what’s going on in the life of our church and to dream and pray together about the future. Our next forum is on Sunday night, April 30th immediately following the Sunday worship gathering. Please mark your calendars for this very important night together. Every forum is important, but this forum will be extremely important as we will be sharing about various changes and sending opportunities we are going to be encountering this year. Please contact Josh with any questions you might have. (541-224-1476)
The Global Mission Pipeline is simple—it’s a training program to help equip and cement a foreign mission DNA within an individual. Within the program, you’ll read books, walk with a coach, write papers, and be exposed experientially to ministering cross-culturally. If you’d like more information please contact Stephen.
We are asking members of the Branch to apply for Local Mission Grants, which seek to come alongside member’s ministry ideas/endeavors with financial support. If you have questions or would like to talk to someone about Local Mission Grants simply fill out a connect card and drop it in the basket. If you’re interested in leading a new local missions initiative you can find the application online, fill it out and send it to Stephen Brucker.
Branch Brunch is a time to get to know more about our church and ask questions. This class is also a requirement to become a member. Our next Branch Brunch is scheduled for Sunday, April 30th at 10:30 am. If you are interested in attending please email Stephen Brucker.