Closing the Gap 3.30.18

The Sacrifice of Christ

Week 12 Day 5

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:

Jesus was handed over to be crucified, but only because he was willing for it to be so.  He was in control of all of the outcomes of his life and death. When he had completed all that he had come to do, he declared, “It is finished.”  A mob had also wanted to kill Jesus at an earlier date, but he was not yet finished at that time, so he simply walked through them unscathed. Unlike every other human being who has ever lived, Jesus was in control of the exact circumstances and timing of his own death. When people attempt suicide, it is often because they feel they have lost control of important circumstances in their lives.  Jesus was never in a situation where circumstances were out of his control. He did not give up on life; he willingly gave it away. His cry was not of resignation or failure; it was the sound of success. He had successfully completed what he had come to do. You are not in control of all of the circumstances of your life, but you are in control of the final outcome of it. You can determine to be found faithful in the end and no one and nothing can deter you.  Faithfulness is independent of external circumstances and the impact of other people’s choices. You can be found faithful whether you accumulate great amounts of money or die poor. You can be found faithful whether you are married with many children or never marry and never have children. You can be faithful if you have ongoing physical health or live with painful physical ailments. Faithfulness is your response to God in all of the circumstances of your life.  This does not imply that you cannot make good choices that will impact much of what happens to you; you certainly can and must. However, no matter how many good choices you make, there will always be certain factors that are completely outside of your control. In either case, you must set your heart on faithfulness. Faithful to make the choices you have been given by God and faithful with the circumstances you did not choose but must endure. Cancer and poverty or wealth and health, nothing can stop faithfulness except you.  Jesus faithfully finished his work and accomplished our salvation. Will you finish well and accomplish a life of faithfulness for the good of others and the glory of God? Close the gap. What small thing can you be found faithful in 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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