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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

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). 


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

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).