The Sacrifice of Christ
Week 12 Day 1
Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
John 19:16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 Here they crucified him, and with him two others — one on each side and Jesus in the middle. 19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” 23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. 24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, “They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” So this is what the soldiers did. 25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. 28 Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
People will die during the time you read this devotion. You may be healthy, but you are dying; everyone is. Avoidance of the reality of your death does not help you live well. To remember and reflect on your own death can make you wise. But to think of death absent the hope of the gospel often makes people fearful or foolish. When death is believed to be the loss of everything, people can live in fear. They will desperately avoid considering the reality of death, or they live with their hearts and minds imprisoned in fear. In a sense, death has already won in their lives, because it controls how they live. Others live foolishly. They recognize death is the end and, instead of living in denial or despair, they live trying to “squeeze the life out of life.” This sounds like a better approach, and it can lead to certain good choices, but often it just leads to folly. Those who try to “seize the day” without gospel hope will frequently live only for the day. This doesn’t lead to choices that have a long time horizon. Good life choices ask questions that are bigger and better than: “What is best for me today?” Jesus’ life and death was a singularity. In all of human history there have only been four types of people. Those who are not usually wise and good, who do not claim to be God. This includes most of humanity. Those who were unusually wise and good, who did not claim to be God. This includes a limited number of “great” humans. Those who are not unusually wise and good, who claimed to be God. This includes a small number of people who were insane. Finally, there are those who were usually wise and good and also claim to be God. This includes a single human, Jesus. His life was absolutely unique. His death was absolutely unique. He did not die for his own sins; he died for the sins of others. His resurrection confirmed the gospel hope, therefore death and sin do not have the final word. As you think about what you will think about today, pay careful attention to whether gospel hope will inform those thoughts. What you think most about is what most shapes who you are. As you think about your life today and all it various components, think some about your death as well…but think about both your life and your death in the context of the gospel hope. Choose carefully your thoughts because you are making them and they are making you. Think of life and death through the lens of the hope of the gospel.
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.