I stood there raising my hands, hanging my head as the music resounded and my heart pounded because I am so unworthy to stand behind this name… and yet I can. And I do. With all I’ve got.
“All condemned, feel no shame at the sound of Your great name. (Romans 8:1)
Every fear has no place at the sound of Your great name. (1 John 4:18)
The enemy, he has to leave at the sound of Your great name. (James 4:7)”
On Good Friday, I worshipped the God who rescued me, His Son who bled for me, just like I do on any given Sunday, every given day. I stood on shaking legs, singing praises, shouting His great name, drowning in His goodness when there is nothing good in me. And I realized how so very far I am from understanding the work He did at Calvary, from understanding His great name, His greater love that surrendered His sinless life to hang on a tree. A death we can scarcely fathom. All so our souls could stand… free.
“Jesus, worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us. Son of God and man You are high and lifted up. That all the world will praise Your great name.”
The name of Jesus… one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. But, not today. Today, the battle rages on… even on Good Friday. Even within my own heart. Even when I call on this name, Jesus, I still battle to take hold of what it means to me here and now. That I am free. That the cross was enough. There are no chains on me. I am free of shame, free of condemnation, free in Christ. And, I can barely grasp it. Because the enemy, he’s clamoring my broken chains behind me and whispering his lies and worse… his half-truths. His sole purpose? To keep me from mine. And some days, it’s all so easy to believe and the familiar sounds from those shackles of my yesterdays, they can drag me down to a darkness I remember all too well. And I start believing things will never change. All this following hard after Jesus just makes the enemy more persistent with his lies.
But this name…
Jesus. He puts the enemy at my feet. His name comes with power, declaring my freedom. And, it is enough. More than enough. Because, “It is finished.” There is nothing I can do. There never was. The veil is torn and I can freely delight in the presence of God again, the very thing I was made to do. Jesus drank from this cup of suffering when I was His enemy, in direct opposition to the Father, stained and unclean. And He was nailed to a tree and spilled innocent blood just longing for the day I could turn around and call Him friend. So this carpenter’s son who was God’s Son built a bridge from my stubborn heart to the very heart of God.
All this and yet, I still hang my head on Good Friday. And I bend over in shame and wrap my heart in the torn veil scraps as I wonder how to take hold of this freedom, how to stand tall. Unashamed. Because, just like Adam and Eve in the garden, I’m hiding behind the bushes in my shame, a victim of my own humanness that believes there is work to do to earn my grace.
“Hungry souls receive grace at the sound of Your great name. (Psalm 107:9)”
God, He has forgiven me one crown of thorns, a bloody beating and three nails over. And, He asks us to forgive as He has forgiven. But the well of grace is dry within me when it comes to my own soul. Why is His grace washing so hard to accept, believe, claim? Because I know my whole truth so breathing grace over myself? How could I?
But God, He knows the whole truth too. He knows every thought I hold. He sees all the things I do in the quiet places just as clearly as the open places. He hears every word that rolls off my tongue. Every. Single. One. And still, He whispers love straight through the veil and calls my heart out of hiding.
He exhales grace all over me at the slightest whisper of this name. Jesus. The things I’ve done, they had no power over the grave. All my words, all my thoughts, all my yesterdays, they hold no power still. Because God the Father, He can’t take back the cross. He can’t fill the grave, replace the stone and take away the victory. It. Is. Finished. This sovereign God, He doesn’t make mistakes. He saw from the cross what I see in my yesterdays. And He’s continually raining down grace because we continually need it. Open hands, bent knees, humble hearts receive grace. Not shame.
My chains are broken, my heart free, my soul dancing in His healing rain. And the reality of my freedom swells a burning desire within me to join my Redeemer in setting the capitves free... all in the power of this name. Jesus.
"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners." (Isaiah 61:1-2)