Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Temple Veil

And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, "Truly this man was the Son of God!"
Mark 15:37-39

At the precise moment Jesus breathed his final breath, the temple veil that separated man from a holy God (Exodus 26:33) was torn in two. Not from the bottom up, which any man could do, but from the top to the bottom, which only God Himself could accomplish. Because of Christ's perfect sacrifice for the remission of sins, the separation between God and man was removed. Man was given access to God's throne of grace through the cross of Christ. The Roman guard, an eye witness to all that happened on Calvary proclaims "Truly this man was the Son of God!" Every person who comes to Jesus through the cross utters those words or something like them. They see Jesus Christ in all His glory and they know the truth. He is God's Son. He is their Savior.

Friday, April 22, 2011

It is Finished

Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
John 19:30

"It is finished!" Three common words spoken by Christ, yet with those three simple words everything changed. . .for eternity. The work Jesus had come to earth to do was finished. He had paid the price for the sins of mankind; a perfect, sinless sacrifice given on the cross for our redemption. He who knew no sin had become sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). One sacrifice for all sins for all time (Hebrews 10:12). Hallelujah! Christ has saved us. It is finished!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Glorious Hope

"Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also."
John 14:1-3

Here is our blessed Savior, eating the last supper with His disciples in the shadow of the cross. In a few hours one of the twelve will betray Him and He will taste the bitterness of Calvary. But for now He is focused on comforting those closest to Him, promising them that even though they will be separated from Him, He will take care of them. He is going to prepare a place for them, that they will one day be with Him in Heaven. What a beautiful picture of the compassion and love of our Lord, always putting others before Himself. Even facing His own death, He gave hope to His disciples. We can share in that hope today. The promise He made to His disciples that night in the upper room, belongs to us, too. Christ will come back and take us home. What a glorious day is ahead of us!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

By His Authority

"For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father." -- John 10:17-18

What a wondrous statement our Savior makes in these verses. He gave His life willingly to redeem us. He had the power to stop His execution, but He didn't. This truth stops me in my tracks. That God the Father would love me so much that He would command His Son to go to earth and die on a cross to rescue me. And that Jesus would obey. I nailed the Lord to the cross, and so did you and every other person who ever lived or will live. Our sins put Jesus there, but it was His love that kept Him there. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Healed By His Wounds

"and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed."
1 Peter 2:23-24

Imagine you are standing in front of the authorities in your town. You have done nothing wrong, yet you have been taken into custody; dragged from a garden where you were quietly praying. Soldiers mock you and spit on you. They beat your head with a stick and jam a crown of thorns into your head. You are stripped and scourged almost to the point of death. In fact, you are so bloodied and bruised that you are unrecognizable. What would you say to your accusers? What insults would you hurl at those who want you dead? Surely you would not just stand there and take it. I doubt that I would. The fact that Jesus Christ endured all these things and much more, but did not retaliate, is beyond comprehension. But Peter was there and he saw everything. He saw the Lord place His life in the hands of the Father, the One who would make all things right in the end. Jesus was wounded for our transgressions. It was our sin that brought suffering upon Him. He did nothing wrong. He did everything right. By Jesus' wounds we are healed of our sinfulness.When He died on the cross, we and our sins died with Him.  And when He rose from the dead, we rose with Him into new life. But only if we repent of our sins, confessing them to the Lord and asking forgiveness, then giving our lives over to Him in acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior, and following Him instead of going our own way. Until then, we're still dead in our sins, with no hope of escaping the righteous judgment of God. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Humble Savior

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
         Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
         Behold, your king is coming to you;
         He is just and endowed with salvation,
         Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
         Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Zechariah 9:9

Jesus, the King of Kings, riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. It doesn't sound very impressive, does it? And that's just the point. Jesus Christ didn't come to impress anyone. He came to save. The work He did was the work the Father gave Him to do. All the miracles were to prove He was the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity. The people celebrated when they saw Him enter the city that day. But in a few days they would crucify Him. All the while the crowd praised Him, Jesus had His eyes on the cross. He knew His mission and He would complete it. He could have taken Jerusalem by storm and set up His kingdom right then and there. If He had, we would be lost in our sins. Praise the King of Kings that He remained the humble Savior, going to the cross willingly to pay the price we could never pay!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Evidence of God's Love

"For the Lord will not reject forever, for if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness. For He does not afflict willingly or grieve the sons of men." 
Lamentations 3:31-33

When bad things happen, it's difficult to believe that God loves us. We can read verses like this one, or hear similar words from a friend, yet still we wonder if it's true that God cares. Sometimes we hear the testimonies of other people who have come through challenging circumstances with stronger faith in God than when they started. They tell of how the Lord carried them through the storm, and as impressed as we are, we doubt that God will do the same for us. At such times we must look to the cross and remember that our Savior faced the horror of crucifixion out of His love for us. The cross is the evidence of God's love. Hold fast to it!
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