In this season of social distancing for many, and shelter in place orders for others, as we all try to fight for faith in the face of COVID-19, I decided to share one thought a day from my daily devotional time in the hope of strengthening other’s hands in God (1 Sam 23:16), and encouraging friends forward in faith. You can subscribe at the bottom of the page to receive an email for each new post, and feel free to come back daily and share with anyone who might find them beneficial.
I use a reading plan that has me reading a few chapters in different parts of the Scripture for every day of the week, and so each day’s content will be dictated by the required daily reading of that plan. I will focus in on one unit of thought rather than trying to address the full scope of the day’s reading. I am trusting God that He will speak from different parts of His Word, as He always does.
Friday, April 3
Reading: Matthew 27-28
50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.
— Mt 27:50.
I have been a Christian for 33 years, and still, I struggle to read the biblical accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion. There is a violence and brutality in how Jesus was treated that ought to be painful for any person to consider, let alone someone who believes that Jesus was God incarnate sent to suffer with us …
for us …
because of us.
I was amazed in this latest reading of it by the juxtaposing views of power. The chief priests saw power in their deliberation, while they failed to consult the King of Glory. Jesus remained silent. Pilate saw power resting in the approval of the people subject to him, while he was standing in front of the King that the whole world would be subject to. Jesus didn’t seek his approval back. The crowd saw power in the release of Barabbas, a violent insurrectionist who could perhaps somehow show displays of power to a defeated and occupied people, while ignoring their king, at whose feet Rome would ultimately bow. Jesus didn’t plead His case to them. The governor’s soldiers saw power in bullying and belittling, mocking an isolated man from the safety of their armed crowds, while Jesus powerfully protected their safety and dignity, restraining the force of thousands of angels who could have overpowered that garrison in a heartbeat (Matt 26:53). He didn’t call, while they mocked. Those who watched from the foot of the cross saw power in derision, and mocked the seeming lack of ability of Jesus to save Himself, when all the while Jesus’ restraint from the cross was the powerful act of saving mocking fools like them. He never defended Himself.
The rest of the world can be turned on its head, but look at this Jesus! I will forever be spellbound by this story of the sacrifice of this Jesus of Nazareth. When things around the edges of Christian culture seem confusing or embarrassing and I feel myself tempted to walk away from association with those who bear His name, this image of Jesus pulls me back in awe. This Jesus, who did this, for me … for us.
He was betrayed so that we could know true and genuine faithfulness.
He was bound, so that we could be released from the bondage of sin.
He stood trial alone so that we could have an advocate to stand with us.
He was wounded so that we could experience healing.
He was stripped of His clothing so that we could receive robes of righteousness.
He endured shame and scorn so that we could live without shame.
He felt forsaken by the Father so that we could know the certainty of God’s love.
He died … so that we can live.
Oh, this Jesus! As we enter Holy Week, don’t look away.
Courage, dear friends.