Between October 28 and November 6, Grace Church proudly presents Disney’s Beauty and the Beast! If you haven’t purchased your tickets, there may still be some available. The show centers around transformation through grace, forgiveness and love. Over the next 10 days, Be Our Guest and check out our daily devotionals centered around these themes and the production! Check back every day for the latest devotional!
BY SUE ROSECRANS, GRACE ATTENDER
Confused and hungry thinking we knew the way, we now stand lost. We desired to complete our own journey, by our own strength and by our own wits. Traveling through our very own tangled mess fending off our own doubtful, self destructive thoughts tearing at us, snapping, biting and ripping our souls like wolf fangs shredding garments. We are condemned.
We fell for a lie. We thought we were welcomed inside to rest and regain our strength. Upon entering this strange place we were confused. Things did not make sense. We blew past clear caution signs and now things are not safe. We were told do not go this way, and yet we did. We were warned the master of this dark place spews his hate and anger. His own brokenness rattles everyone in his sight. His heartache so deep and cold it makes everything in sight seemed to signal we were doomed. In darkness we find ourselves inside a gloomy prison, a murky dungeon. We were locked up. Self-centered traps, arrogant entanglements, demanding our-own-way snares have landed us in prison. Forever lost. A life sentence. We cried out! Scared. Worn-out. Lost and now locked away forever, never to return home to our loved ones or friends. Trapped in a dungeon of despair, we begin our forever wait.
A strong, warm voice calls our name. Is it Him? The only one who loves us enough to follow us, is it His voice? He calls our name with such love and tenderness we melt. We feel ashamed. Our heart breaks. We know we are not worthy of His help or His love. Our own failures, poor choices, and arrogance flood our thoughts. How can He this perfect One still love us? Then, we hear His warm, strong words ringing out, “I will not leave here in this place. You are Mine” A chill invades like fog. A stench fills the air. It is as if a thousand years of lies and evil deeds weight heavy in the air. A dark midst now permeates the cell. Death’s scent overtakes as the master enters demanding his price, his full price. How can we find freedom? The master growls, spews, orders and hurls accusations. He bellows, “You have entered my place uninvited knowing full well of the price. You are sentenced to a forever separation from anyone and anything you love.” His henchmen enter ready to take us away and the master hisses, “You are now mine forever.” Groans and screeching laughter echo in the thick darkness. Then silence cold dark silence.
“Take Me instead.” His warm, strong voice thunders, “Take me instead.” The master caught off guard spins around, “You would do that? You would take their place?” Jesus the One and Only, God’s perfect son stands in our place and agrees to the exchange. The master thinking he has captured the ultimate prize is almost blissful in his response. The master hisses “Jesus you are condemned to stay inside death’s clutches forever…that is the bargain.” Jesus affirms his words dripping with love and grace, “I will die to save this one.” We feel completely overwhelmed. Why would He take our place, receive our sentence, is there really a love that great? Besieged by His love, His mercy and His grace we fall forever in His arms.
Feeling free for the first time, we walk, skip, and run out to freedom’s fresh air. Suddenly we stop, stop dead in our tracks what have we done? We grieve. We didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to the One who took our place. Our hearts are filled up with a mixture of joy and sorrow, guilt and excitement, regret and abandonment. The tears flow. Our cheeks stained from hours of weeping. With eyes tired and blurry we see a stranger coming toward us. There is something familiar and kind about this man, yet we can’t make out His face. Then He calls us by our name. Is it true? How can this be? He was trapped in our sentence forever. He took our place and now He stands near bruised for our transgressions. He walks through walls, cooks a meal and bears His scars. We are healed by His wounds transformed He stands victorious, magnificent, transcendent and alive. Overjoyed tears flow again, not sad tears, but tears of joy, we are beyond grateful. Laughter bellows and joyous hearts parade this truth throughout the land, “Love conquered death forever.”
“Take Me instead” our Savior exclaimed. Our marvelous, perfect, tender lamb stands in our place. Now we stand with one foot on earth and one in glory. “Take Me instead” rings out throughout history the simple act that changed the world.
When Belle offers to take her father’s place, how do you think her father felt?
Thinking about Jesus taking your place for any of the wrong things you have ever done, how does that make you feel?
Tell Jesus how it makes you feel that He loves you so much He never ever wants to be separated from you. As you watch Belle take her father’s place remember this is exactly what Jesus has done for you.
If you have any questions, be sure and ask someone in the cast to help you understand what Jesus did for you.
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” John 3:16-18 (MSG)
“When the disciples heard it, they fell flat on their faces, scared to death. But Jesus came over and touched them. “Don’t be afraid.” When they opened their eyes and looked around all they saw was Jesus, only Jesus.” Matthew 17:6-8 (MSG)
“While they were saying all this, Jesus appeared to them and said, “Peace be with you.” They thought they were seeing a ghost and were scared half to death. He continued with them, “Don’t be upset, and don’t let all these doubting questions take over. Look at my hands; look at my feet—it’s really me. Touch me. Look me over from head to toe. A ghost doesn’t have muscle and bone like this.” As he said this, he showed them his hands and feet. They still couldn’t believe what they were seeing. It was too much; it seemed too good to be true.” Luke 24:36-41 (MSG)
“Jesus said, ‘The voice didn’t come for me but for you. At this moment the world is in crisis. Now Satan, the ruler of this world, will be thrown out. And I, as I am lifted up from the earth, will attract everyone to me and gather them around me’.” John 12:30-33 (MSG)