Jesus’ Legacy

Jesus, far more than any other person, has bequeathed to us the greatest legacy known to mankind: grace. It has transformed the world we live in. Jesus, by His life, death and resurrection, paved the way for His Father to treat  us far better than we deserve. Jesus set us free from an endless cycle of retaliatory behaviour, releasing us from the just law of: ‘An eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth.’ Instead, Jesus advocated the surprising response of blessing those who would harm us:

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. – Luke 6:27-31 (ESV)

Jesus embodied this advice, leaving us an example to follow. Even as He hung God-forsaken on the cross, Jesus made intercession for the authors of His demise (in Luke 23:34):

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Lord Jesus, You have established a new way for the world to operate: grace. By Your unjust suffering and death You have shielded us from Your Father’s just retribution. At Your request, He forgives our ignorance. In appropriate response, enable us to overcome the desire to seek revenge. By Your Spirit, help us to live up to Your example of treating others better than they deserve.

The Ark of the Covenant

Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. – Genesis 6:14-18

Here is the first occurrence of the word ‘covenant’ in the God’s Word. A covenant is an agreement between parties, like a contract. God will uphold his promise to preserve the lives of Noah and his family, who enter the vessel by a single door. To fulfill his end of the bargain, by faith, Noah must obediently and meticulously carry out God’s instructions.

Father, we thank and praise You for Jesus, the only vessel able to shield us from Your approaching deluge of fury. He became the sole entry into salvation through faithful obedience to You and, by the power of His blood, is able to make us obedient too. Jesus is all that stands in the way of You entirely extinguishing Your breath of life on the earth. We are covered by the covenant enacted by Him.

Violence Ended

These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. – Genesis 6:9-13

By faith Noah lived in a close and right relationship with God, standing apart from those around him. God observed a crooked and depraved world which has defied its intended purpose through vengeance and physical abuse. God revealed to Noah his plan to put a stop to it all.

Father, we have become violent and corrupted in Your eyes. Thanks for Your Son who alone is righteous and blameless, and who walked in perfection with You. You made Him our sole means of escaping from Your just judgement, because He endured the worst of our violence You will not destroy us who place our hope in the Christ.

Broken-hearted

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. – Genesis 6:5-8

Humanity is exceedingly wretched and it breaks Yahweh’s heart. This serves as the catalyst for the LORD taking the drastic step of obliterating humanity, along with the entire animal kingdom (of which humanity was the intended pinnacle). Noah — whose name means rest — is only the only sliver of hope since the LORD happened to like him.

Father, our wickedness is great and the intentions of our hearts are continually evil. We have led You to regret making us, and we have brought You grief. But thanks be to Your Son Jesus, who is the only reason anyone finds favour in Your eyes. Jesus alone prevents us from being blotted out from the face of the land.

Just and Merciful

And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” Then the LORD said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. – Genesis 4:10-16

The LORD judges Cain for taking his brother’s life, but His judgment is tempered with mercy. Judgement: Cain is destined to be a vagabond since the ground that lapped up His brother’s blood would no longer be fruitful for him. Mercy: God distinguishes Cain so no one harms him. This is followed by some of the most haunting words in the Bible, “Cain went away from the presence of the LORD;” Cain removes himself from contact with God.

Father, what have we done to Your beloved Son? We give You thanks that You are a God of justice and mercy, for at the cross Your judgement and grace were forged for all time. Thanks for Jesus who marks us with His Spirit to keep us safe, and draws us back into Your presence.