One of my favorite statues of Jesus is Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janero, Brazil. I’ve always wanted to go there, but alas, I’ll have to enjoy it online for now. The statue shows Jesus with His arms stretched out, but He’s not on the cross. It reminds me of a couple of Bible passages. One is from the Psalms which is a prophetic one considering it’s in the Psalms talking about Jesus’ redemption of our sins…
As far as the east is from the west,Psalm 103:12 NLT
So far has He removed our transgressions from us
When you think about a globe, if you travel north, eventually, you’ll reach the North Pole and then be heading south. However, when you travel east, you’ll always be traveling east. East and west will never meet. That’s how far away Jesus removed our sins from us. They’re gone! Never to come back! Done!
Another scripture that reminds me of that statue as well as the ocean, is in…
Ephesians Chapter 3
Let me set the stage first. Paul is in prison in Rome writing to the church in Ephesus, where he spent 3 years planting the church, training leaders, preaching and making friends. Paul writes…
When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles . . . 2 assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending his grace to you Gentiles. 3 As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me. 4 As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ. 5 God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets.
6 And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. 7 By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.
8 Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. 9 I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.
10 God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.
12 Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. 13 So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here. I am suffering for you, so you should feel honored.
See that! We can each go “boldly and confidently into God’s presence”! We don’t need a church or a priest to lead us. We can go ourselves and He will listen!
Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Growth
14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.Ephesians 3 NLT
Nourish Your Soul
The word of God is nourishment for our souls so we can grow deep roots in Christ who is the Rock! Every time I read the scriptures, even if I’ve read the same passage dozens of times before, I get something new out of it. Sometimes it’s a revelation — an “ah-ha” moment — and sometimes, it’s just peace or the energy I need to start my day. It always seems like He knows just what I need when I need it.
What really gets me is when I’m reading 2 or 3 different studies from different sources and they come up with the same scripture verse. That never fails to stop me in my tracks. God wants me to pay attention to this! Read it again, He tells me. This is important! Then I pray for Him to give me the clarity I need to understand where in my life this verse applies to. I have to stop and focus (meditate) on that verse.
Higher, Deeper, Wider, Longer Than we can Imagine
Getting back to the Christ the Redeemer statue, the other verse that brings to mind is Ephesians 3:18…
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.Ephesians 3:18 NLT
Having lived many years near oceans, I can easily visualize how wide, long, high and deep God’s love could be. You look out at the ocean and you see the horizon, but you know it keeps going. You look left and right and it also keeps going. You know it’s deep and gets deeper the further out you go. Then you look up at the sky and you know that the heavens are high up there. Read that verse again.
The Power to Understand
You get the power to understand each time you sit down to study the Bible. Not just read it and say you did it. You need to dig deep. That’s why I love the free Bible apps with studies that explain what the scriptures mean. I trust that they speak the Gospel Truth — they don’t represent any one denomination or church — just the Bible — the Word of God. Plus, if you have the Holy Spirit in your heart, you can pray to Him to guide you and open your heart, mind and eyes to really get to know the truth. Get to know Jesus. Get to know God.
Rooted and Established
A tree with strong roots can withstand wind and storms and will produce good fruit. Likewise, when you become rooted and established in your faith in Jesus Christ, you, too will grow strong and produce fruit — that means you’re able to help someone else learn about Christ.
You can’t do that if you don’t seek the truth, the Gospel Truth for yourself.
Paul’s purpose was to explain the Good News. Unfortunately, and it’s a shame, that false teachers come and distorted the truth to fit their agendas. That’s why you MUST call on the Holy Spirit to show you what is truth and what are lies. And we’ll get into that as we dig deeper into the Book of Ephesians.
Recommended Bible Study Apps:
Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be the Glory!