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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.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Triumph over taunting

Matthew 27:38-44 / Mark 15:27-32 / Luke 23:35-38…

The mental and spiritual suffering that Jesus Christ endured while He was on the cross was immense and intense. The rejection of Jesus was demonically inspired, and was in direct fulfillment of Scripture. Imagine the temptation to react as they all taunt Him.

The taunt is one of Satan’s sharpest arrows; and he uses people as the provoking point. When the passersby taunt Jesus, they tempt Him with the very words that Satan had tempted Him with (Matthew 4:3, 6). Yet the instruments of the devil only proved that Jesus was telling the truth when He said that the devil had no claim on Him, no power over Him (John 14:30). 

It is ironic that as they insulted Jesus they admitted that He saved others, and they recognized that Jesus trusted in God. Ironically, they were condemning themselves. By saying that Jesus was a righteous man, they admit their participation in this wrongful murder. Even as these people question who He is, they’re actually proving who He is. They prove that He is the Messiah by fulfilling Scripture (Psalm 22:7-8).

Jesus could have come down from the cross and showed those unbelievers that He was indeed the Son of God. It wasn’t the nails that held Him on the cross, but His will. The desire to do His Father’s will.  In suffering their condemnation, they were condemning themselves, but Jesus was determined to do what was necessary to free us from sin’s eternal condemnation.

People want a Savior who comes down to them on their own terms. But we don’t need a Savior who comes down from the cross, but a Savior who ascends the cross. And one who comes up from the grave. Not one who would save Himself, but one who desires to save us sinners.

Imagine Jesus when temptation taunts you, and realize He triumphed over your temptations (Romans 8:1 / Colossians 2:13-15). 


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Gory glory

Matthew 27:33-37 / Mark 15:22-26 / Luke 23:33-34 / John 19:17-27…

The beauty in this brutal scene can only be seen with spiritual eyes. In this cruel context we see the wickedness of men, but we also see the wonder of Jesus. They continued to mock Him and even now the priests still want to marginalize Him (John 19:19-22). Yet in the midst of this savage and shameful torture Jesus was thinking about others.

He thought about the pain we all experience because of sin. They offered Him something that would ease the pain a little (Proverbs 31:6), or perhaps shorten the agony (Psalm 69:21). But He did not take it, choosing instead to experience the maximum amount of pain. Jesus was giving testament to the vicarious nature of the Atonement for sin.

He thought about how sin blinds us in ignorance. And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." The Bible doesn’t describe His agony, only man’s misery. He knew that we are often aloof to the sin, sorrow, and suffering that is right in front of us. Men often look to gain off of the misfortune of others.  But Jesus was fulfilling the plan of God (Psalm 22:18).

He thought about His Father’s mission for Him. The irony of the inscription above His head is that even as they mock Him, they are identifying Him correctly. The charge against Him was that He claimed to be the King of the Jews, the Messiah, the Son of God, and it’s true.  He is paying the penalty on the cross for the crime of being who He really is.

He thought about His mother, making provision for her. He was thinking about you, making the only provision for salvation you have, and the only one you need (Hebrews 2:3 / Acts 4:12). 


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Correct crying

Luke 23:27-32…

But turning to them Jesus said, Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. Jesus is pointing to the future. What He was experiencing was indeed a tragedy, but Jerusalem would soon experience its own tragedy. Things will be so bad that blessings such as children will be seen as curses, and people will be wishing they could just die rather than have to go through this experience.

For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry? Green wood still has the sap in it, and the moisture prevents it from burning well. Dry wood has been cut and aged so that it burns very easily. The point Jesus is making is that if the Romans are willing to sanction such injustice and put an innocent man like Him to death, what will they do to the Jews, and what will happen to Jerusalem, when the Romans no longer see them as relevant?

Jesus wants them to consider the rising tide of evil sweeping through Jerusalem. What will happen to Jerusalem is a picture of what hell will be like. Accordingly, people should be concerned for the multitude of souls who face the danger of eternal damnation because of the sin in their lives. This is always the big issue, the eternal state.

Certainly, it isn’t wrong to cry about catastrophe or weep over injustice. But our most correct cries are not about the personal tragedies we can see but the permanent tragedies that we can’t yet see. Christians are supposed to be compassionate, but with an understanding that temporal tragedy is nothing compared to eternal destiny. Do you cry out to the Lord for souls to be saved?

In the end, and as always, God will do what is right. For now, what is right for us to do is to weep for the lost, warn them of the judgment to come, witness to them of Jesus, and hopefully, by God’s grace, win them to Christ.

What are you crying about? Don’t just weep, but warn, witness, and win. Do that, and make your cries count.