Purple is also the color of royalty. So, not only does purple remind us of the suffering and death of Jesus for us, but it also reminds us of the fact that Jesus is our King of Kings. Jesus is true God. He was with the Father and the Holy Spirit at the creation of the world. Before His incarnation, He was in heaven as true God enjoying all His glory.
And yet, because of His great love for us, because of our sin and need for a Savior, because He created us to love us, He gave up the glory that was His in heaven in order to take on human flesh and blood. He who is God, took on human flesh in order to become one of His own creation. Jesus had to be truly God in order to be conceived and born in perfection. He had to be perfect, owning nothing in order to be able to pay the price for our sins, what we owe, our lives. And He had to be truly human in order to be our substitute, that is in order to trade His life for ours. Trading like things for like things.
Jesus, true God, gave up the glory that was His in heaven and was born as a human being, we speak of this as the incarnation, the coming in carnal, in flesh of God, in the person, the human person of Jesus. About a year or a year and a half following Jesus’ birth, while they were in a house in Bethlehem, Jesus, Mary and Joseph were visited by the Magi or wise men from the east. We are told they brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Each of these gifts remind us that Jesus is our prophet, priest and king.
The gift of incense is the gift for a priest. The priest is the one who would burn the sweet smelling incense in the temple. The priest was also the one who would offer sacrifices for and on behalf of the people. And as our Great High Priest we know that Jesus offered Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for us on the cross for us, His people. His sacrifice is still ours today.
The gift of myrrh, which is an oil especially used for the purpose of anointing, was the gift for a prophet. Jesus was and is a prophet. He was a prophet, as true God, speaking of the things that would happen, the things which He came to fulfill. Jesus was a prophet in that He was also one to proclaim the message of salvation. Even today Jesus continues to be our prophet as He continues to speak to us through His Holy Word.
The gift of gold is the gift for a King, for Royalty. Jesus is truly our Lord of Lord and King of Kings. The Magi recognized Jesus as truly a King. Jesus was born of the kingly line of David. But more than simply being an earthly king, Jesus is our heavenly King. After His ascension Jesus now sits at the right hand of the Father from where He sends the Holy Spirit to work in and through us and from where He rules over us and intercedes for us.
While Jesus is our King of Kings, again, the purple reminds us of Jesus’ passion especially His passion as our Great High Priest. Jesus was conceived and born without sin. Jesus lived a perfect life, never sinning. Even through all the temptations of Satan himself, Jesus never sinned, not even once. Jesus obeyed all of God’s laws and commands perfectly, all the civil laws, all the moral laws, all the ceremonial laws. Jesus fulfilled all the promises and prophecies concerning the Messiah, perfectly. Every prophecy about the coming Messiah, every promise spoken in and since the Garden of Eden, Jesus fulfilled perfectly and completely. And then, of His own free will He took our sins, your sins and my sins and the sins of all people, of all places, of all times upon Himself. He who was without sin, He who knew no sin became sin for us, in our place.
Jesus took our sins and then He suffered for our sins. Jesus suffered rejection, beating, mocking, being spit upon, and ultimately being put to death, suffering the most horrendous, the most humiliating, the worst and cruelest death, death on the cross where He was hung to die, literally hung to suffocate to death before the world. And as we made note last week, He died in all His nakedness and shame, in all our shame.
Jesus suffered in order to pay the price for sin, the price which was set in the Garden of Eden, the price of physical death and apart from Jesus and faith in Him, the price of eternal spiritual death. So, when Jesus died it was not simply a physical death that He died, but it was an eternal spiritual death, a death in hell that He died. And He died, not for nothing but for us, for you and for me, for our sin.
What does this mean? Lent is a time to remember. As we look at the symbols of Lent we are reminded of those things of which we should remember. This evening we look at the color purple and we remember. We remember Jesus royalty, that He was and is King of Kings and Lord of Lord, yet, while on this earth He did not rule in royalty because that was not His purpose for being in this world. Rather He came to take our sins and to suffer and die for us.
The purple reminds us of royalty and the fact that along with being truly human, Jesus is truly God. So, in answer to those who struggle with the fact that Jesus is God and Jesus died, yes, God died. John is quite adamant in his Revelation when He is speaking about Jesus being the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last as he says, “17When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, ‘Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades” (Rev. 1:17-18). God, the alpha and omega, the first and the last was alive, the living one who died, in the person of Jesus, God died. And just as when we die, so our soul will separate from our bodies, so it was with Jesus, even as true God, He died and His soul separated from His body, yet we know that He also rose again. Death and the grave had no power over Him and by faith in Him they have no power over us as well.
The purple reminds us of God’s great love for us, so much that as our God He died for us. Greater love can noone have than this that one would lay down his life for another. Our God, our Creator God, our Redeemer God, our God who created us to love us showed His great love in the fact that He gave His life to redeem us, to buy us back from our sins.
So, the purple of lent also reminds us that the season of Lent is a time to confess. We are to take the time to look at ourselves, at our own lives, at our sin filled lives and recognize our part in putting Jesus on the cross. Yes, it was because of my sin and your sin, our sin that Jesus came to die on the cross. And the great thing about it is that even if we were the only person in the world, Jesus still would have died for us.
Ultimately, then, lent is a time to be loved and to be given to. God’s command is that we are perfect. Obviously we cannot meet that demand and so we run to and cling to Jesus who was perfect for us. When Jesus came He came for us, as our substitute, to be perfect for us in our place. So, now, by faith in Jesus, He has taken our sins upon Himself and we are given His forgiveness, His robes of righteousness, His life, eternal life and salvation.
Purple, the color of royalty. Purple the color of repentance. Purple the color of passion. Purple the color of Lent. Purple the color that reminds us of God’s great love for us and His continued love, care and concern for us. May the purple of lent continue to remind you of God’s great love so that you might rejoice and say, to God be the glory, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.