Closing the Gap 3.27.18

The Sacrifice of Christ

Week 12 Day 2

Pray:

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.

Read:

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.

Reflect:

Close your eyes and smell the crucifixion.  Do you smell the fresh hewn lumber of the crosses, still leaking sap?  Smell the sweat, pungent and strong, from the nervous guards and the anxious crowd, and from Jesus’ body, heated in the throes of death. Now hear the crucifixion.  The rattled breathing and the tortured final breaths of three suffering men. Hear crying, laughing, gasping, and idle banter; those are the sounds of the bystanders seeing in vastly different ways what is happening in front of them.  Now, feel the crucifixion. Feel your own heart racing as an innocent man is being executed, feel the dread, the anger, and the fear in your own body. Feel the air change, as the sky grows dark and clouds roll in. Feel the earth shake under your feet. If you were there, you could have smelled it, heard it, felt it, and seen it.  But unless God had given you the grace, you would not have understood it. Unless he is giving you grace right now, you are not able to understand it. This was the historical account of how God became a man to die for men and women. It is a not a “religious” story. It is a real story. It is not just a man dying in the Middle East in the first century; it is God’s intersection with human history.  It is not silly, nor unbelievable, nor disconnected from where you live now in your own space and time. What has happened there has real bearing on your life now. Now, read it again, but do so as if you were there and you are remembering. Read it as it is, real and true. Do you see Jesus dying and, yet, taking care of his mom? He is concerned with the sins of the world and he is concerned with what will happen to his mother.  He is thirsty, with a terrible, terrible thirst. This is no two-story account of a religious fairy tale. This is an eyewitness account of the Messiah, God in human flesh, dying a real death for the real sins of the world. Close the gap today between what happened then and what is happening in your life today. Refuse to turn the events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection into “sort of real” things, while viewing the sights, sounds, feelings, and smells around you as “really real.”  It is very important that you understand this is real so that you will live in line with its truth and reality. Since this happened, and if God has allowed you to understand not just that it happened, but why it happened…then think carefully before you go into the world today. Think about the implications for your life today of the crucifixion of Jesus.

Pray:

(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.

 

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