The Gospel

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By Petrus Zijlstra
June 26, 2021
Petrus Zijlstra: Board Member Setting Captives Free
Dear brothers and sisters,
Last Sunday Aafke (my wife) and I were teaching the children at our church during their own service. We talked about Jeremiah 38:1-13. It is the part where Jeremiah is thrown into the pit because he spoke the truth which was inconvenient to his listeners. It was truly a pit of despair where Jeremiah sank down into the mud and would surely starve to death.
I honestly wrestle with these passages. Of course you can take a view on how we as mentors are sometimes scorned as we stand up for the truth, scorned by those next to us but also the wider public opinion. You probably can imagine what I am talking about.
But what would this message do to us? Would it help us stand firm amidst the storm that is raging around? Would it teach us to be prepared for the fears and trials that awaits all of us who proclaim the gospel-truth? Although I do think that these verses have it all but still I am dissatisfied, is that all?
Brothers and sisters, though I am still wrestling, one thing that came very clear to me was that long after Jeremiah there was another Person who spoke the truth:
They all asked, Are you then the Son of God?” He replied, “You say that I am.” (Luke 22:70)
Jesus spoke the truth and for speaking the truth He was turned over to Pilate to be crucified. He was turned over to be cast out in to the abyss of horror, of pain, of suffering, of fear, of loneliness, of utter despair, to the cruelest of all deaths. They drained the blood from Him, they spat on Him, they trembled Him into the ground with their words, with their deeds and they celebrated His death as they put Him into another 'pit' a tomb that awaited Him.
But His death was not the end, as was the case with Jeremiah, He was pulled out of the tomb as He resurrected to live and from then He came to bring the good news of His crucifixion and resurrection. It was what was needed for us to be changed, to have our hearts changed. It took one Man to be thrown into the pit, to be cast away with. This was what it took so that we could be changed from people who took Jesus to the cross, to people who now feed on Him as our bread of life.
Jesus declared that His death and resurrection was that which was the message in the whole of the Old Testament. This is the truth that we need to hear, but Jesus goes one step further, a huge step:
"30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them." (Luke 24:30)
Jesus gives us bread, but no ordinary bread, but the bread of life. He wants us to share in His death and life so that we are able to know the truth and the truth sets us free. Jesus uses His death and resurrection to open the eyes of our hearts to the glorious truth that is to be found in Christ and Him Crucified.
(31) Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight." (Luke 24:30-31)
What I have took from this passage in Jeremiah 38 that the pit where Jeremiah was thrown into, was the pit that Jesus was thrown in and no one, no human helped Him to get out. He drowned under the wrath of God, He drowned in our sin, the weight of our sin let Him sank deeper and deeper until He died. With that He took our punishment that we deserved.
Brothers and sisters, that is what will keep us going. Jesus took our punishment, He took our place. Look at Him, just be thrown back in awe what He did for us, love Him with all your heart and He will enable you to speak the truth, to be fearless, to gentle and loving, but able to hand out the gospel-truth to all those people who need it so much. Oh let us praise the One that took our place.
You are loved,
Petrus Zijlstra
Volunteer - SettingCaptivesFree