Closing the Gap 3.29.18

The Sacrifice of Christ

Week 12 Day 4

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:

“Finally” Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified. Pilate had tried many things to get himself out of this “Messiah mess.”  He tried to use a Passover loophole, but the crowds demanded that a notorious prisoner be released instead of Jesus. He sought desperately for a way to set Jesus free and at the same time protect himself, but he could not.  Finally, he gave up and handed Jesus over. Finally, like “finale” and “final” indicates the end of something. In this case, it was the end of Pilate’s attempts to avoid handing Jesus over to death. But this particular finally was not just related to Pilate, at least not in the larger sense of the Messiah.  Finally, in the fullness of God’s timing, Jesus went to the cross. Finally, after years of loving people, healing people, teaching people truth, and setting people free, it was time for him to show the full extent of his love. No other person in human history had much of their biography written before they were even born.  Finally, Jesus was crucified as had been foretold long before he was born and as had been determined since the foundation of the world. But this finally was not the “finale.” Jesus would be killed, but he would not remain dead. If he had remained dead, then there would be no gospel, no good news. He would be just another teacher of morality killed for standing against the establishment of the day.  But he was not merely proclaiming a new kind of ethic; he was finally bringing the Kingdom of God directly to the hearts of men and women. Your own life will be full of “finally(s).” Finally you get that job. Finally your child graduates from school. Finally you buy a house or retire. Finally you recover from that illness. Finally this life will be over for you. Then because of the gospel, the “finally” of your death will lead to the “finally” of your entrance into eternal life. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.  There are likely some “finally(s)” you are waiting for and it seems they may never come, and they may not. These deferred “hopes” may be making you heartsick. But there is a “finally” that is guaranteed for you by God himself. That “finally” will be a tree of eternal life. Let that sure hope encourage your heart today.

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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