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Our DAILY GOSPEL DEVOTIONAL is the story of Jesus from Incarnation to Ascension. This is a chronology and harmony of the gospel accounts in which the ongoing narrative and doctrinal context are carefully considered. In one year we reflect on every passage of every gospel.
May God bless you as we follow the disciples on the journey through the earthly life of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The pattern of passion

Matthew 27:27-31 / Mark 15:16-20…

This is another scene of the sin against the Savior.  Whether or not this event is sort of a repeat performance or the same instance as seen earlier (cf. John 19:1-3) it all underscores the sin in the hearts of men and the holiness of Jesus Christ. The exact timing of events here is not as important as the exact nature of their essence. This is Jesus triumphing over sin by torture.  

The vicarious victory of Christ for us, in spite of us, is full of prophetic significance. The scarlet robe reminds us of verses such as Isaiah 1:18, 61:10, the symbol of the bearing of our scarlet sins. In their sin of mocking His majesty, it reminds us of how He became sin for us, as well as our righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21 / Jeremiah 23:6).

The crown of thorns brings us all the way back to Garden of Eden.  Thorns were brought about by sin (Genesis 3:17-19). Now, the Creator would wear a crown of thorns as He bore the sins of the world. I don’t think it is accidental. Thorns and thistles will come up as a result of sin and Jesus will bear the sins of the world and actually have a crown of thorns and thistles, which were actually beaten into His head.

The study of these things is rich, and it shows us why learning of Christ, putting on the new man, and being renewed in the spirit of our minds is a lifelong pursuit (Ephesians 4:21-24 / Hebrews 12:3). The Passion Week gives a picture and a pattern for a passionate pursuit of Jesus (Philippians 2:5-13).


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Washed but dirty

Matthew 27:23-26 / Mark 15:14-15 / Luke 23:22-25 / John 19:12-16…

Pilate was doing all he knew to get the priests and the people to stop this madness and release Jesus. He tried to appease the bloodthirsty cries, but it wasn’t going to happen (Acts 13:28). He knew that he was risking a riot if he failed to deliver Jesus up. You can imagine his thoughts. “Oh what am I supposed to do, I want to do the right thing but I can’t, the people won’t let me”.

He took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves.” Think of the difference between other men and Jesus here. Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. Pilate washed his hands of Jesus. It is a case of “let me cleanse you” vs. “let me be cleansed of responsibility for you”. Washing his hands didn’t get him clean. 

Don’t divorce yourself from this scene so easily, my friend. We have all played the part of Pilate, and yes, against Jesus, no less. It happens when you know something is wrong and you want to do what is right, but you just can’t seem to do it. It isn’t that people won’t let you; it is that the pressure won’t let up. Yes, the pressure may be great, but your perspective on pressure needs to change.

It is called repentance. It means that doing what is right will cost you. Repentance means we may lose things such as friends, respect, position, prestige, power, finances, health, or even life. It involves self-abasement, not self-preservation, or self-promotion. Repentance says that what matters is God’s glory, not my comfort. Repentance consequently strips us of our worldly goods, achievements, and satisfactions; it does not pile them upon us.

Repentance is the very antithesis of what is taught these days. People say if you live clean, then God will be obliged to bless you. The truth is that you can clean the outside and still be dirty on the inside. You can wash your hands as much as you want, but it takes God to wash your heart.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Cards on the table

John 19:8-11…

When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He was already worried, but this new revelation caused Pilate to be terrified. He knew that Jesus was innocent. He knew that he had compromised justice by scourging Him. He realized this was no ordinary criminal, but now he has to consider, was this Jesus actually divine?

Still, Pilate’s only motive was his own welfare. “Where are you from?” Pilate wanted answers, but Jesus gave him no answer (Isaiah 53:7 / 1 Peter 2:20-23). Frustrated, Pilate decided it was time to push his weight around. "You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?"

Pilate tried to play the punishment card, but Jesus reminds Pilate of the ultimate source of authority (Romans 13:1). Jesus answered him, "You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.” God purpose is present even in Pilate’s posturing (Proverbs 21:1). We suppose we are in authority, but ultimately it is God who is in authority. 

Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin. Pilate’s sin was great, but the greater sin belonged to the religious leaders, who sinned against the Scriptures they claimed to believe and the light God had given as they heard Christ speak (Luke 12:47-48).

Here is where you should ask yourself, “what am I doing with the Light I have been given?”