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Matthew 26

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

MONDAY, MAY 1

 

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 26

This is obviously a lengthy chapter that is so full of so many important things.  It is hard for me to pull out just one section and talk about that but because of this limited space and our limited time, that’s what I have to do.

I want to take you to the Garden of Gethsemane.  The story begins in verse 36.  I want you to look specifically in verse 39.  And I want you to notice that Jesus’ prayer was not about going to the cross.  His prayer was about a cup passing from Him.  This same imagery is carried out in verse 42 where Jesus speaks about “drinking it”.

Here’s what I want you to consider.  As Jesus prayed in the garden that night, He knew full well where He was headed.  And He was completely aware of what would happen to Him.  He knew He was going to the cross and He knew that He was going to be crucified.

But as He was praying, He did not shrink back from the cross or from crucifixion.  He asked for “this cup” to pass from Him.  So, we have to ask ourselves what this cup is about.

The cup is symbolic of all of God’s wrath being poured out on all of humanity’s sin.  Jesus did not fear the cross.  But He did not relish taking on the sin of all humanity and then suffering from His Father’s wrath poured out on that sin.  Jesus knew that for the first time in all of history, He would experience all the Father’s pent up wrath against sin.  And He knew that He would have to absorb every ounce of that wrath.

Among other things this simply means that the cross did not kill Jesus.  He did not die because of the crucifixion.  His death was the result of the penalty of sin.  Remember the Bible says, “The wages of sin is death.”  Yes, Jesus died on the cross.  But He did not die because of the cross.  He died because of your sin and mine.

We know from historical accounts that death by crucifixion took a very long time.  Although Jesus hung on that cross for several hours, He died much sooner than the Romans expected.  In fact, in some of the other Gospels, the Roman soldiers were breaking the legs of the two thieves crucified with Jesus.  (The reason they did that was to speed up death.)  But when they got to Jesus to break His legs, they discovered He was already dead.  In fact, one of the soldiers actually jabbed a spear into Jesus’ side to confirm His death.

My point in all of this is to simply tell you that as gruesome and horrible as the cross was, that is not what caused Jesus the most pain.  The most pain came from the Sinless One taking on our sin.  The most pain came from the wrath of the Father being poured out on the Son.  The most pain came from the Father turning His back on the Son and Jesus dying in complete and total isolation.

Yet, Jesus went to the cross anyway!  Oh what a Savior.  What a glorious Savior.

 

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Matthew 25

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

FRIDAY, APRIL 28

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 25

The last part of this chapter and the last part of this section that we call The Olivet Discourse is a difficult section at best.  It is difficult to comprehend all that Jesus is teaching here.  And it is difficult to come to grips with what we can comprehend.  But this is worth tackling.

The judgment that begins in verse 31 appears to happen at the Second Coming of Jesus.  As a result, we know it is not a judgment of Christians.  All Christ followers are “judged” at the Judgment Seat of Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:10)  We also know it is not the final judgment or Great White Throne Judgment because that occurs at the end of Millennial Kingdom.  (Revelation 20:11-15).  No one that stands at that judgment will inherit the Kingdom.

So what judgment is Jesus talking about?  It is a judgment that appears to occur at the Jesus’ Second Coming.  It is a judgment of sheep and of goats.  It is a judgment that will end with some inheriting the Kingdom and others inheriting eternal fire.  In verse 32, it is a judgment of the nations.

I want you to focus on that last statement for just a moment.  The concept of nations here does not refer to geo-political boundaries the way we think about nations.  This “nations” that Jesus speaks of is literally a reference to Gentiles or all other peoples except for the Jews.  Verse 32 also indicates that this will not be a national or large group judgment.  It will be an individual judgment.  By the way, all of God’s judgments are individual.  We will be held accountable for ourselves not for a group.

Since this judgment occurs at Jesus’ Second Coming, it may very well be that Gentiles who were able to live through the Great Tribulation are the ones being judged here.  From that perspective it appears that there will be some Gentiles (Sheep) who will serve others in admirable ways during this difficult time.  Verse 40 may actually indicate that much of that service will be done to help Jewish people.  The other group (Goats) will not have done any of that for anyone else.

We have to be careful here.  Jesus is not teaching that entrance into heaven is based upon our works.  To teach that would be to teach against the clear Scriptural truth that faith is the means for any and all of us to be saved.

Instead these works are born out of who these folks were.  In other words, because they did these things Jesus didn’t call them sheep.  Or because they didn’t do these things, Jesus didn’t call them goats.  It is instead, because they were sheep they did these things and because they were goats, they did these things.

At the end of the day, then this judgment is just like all the others.  God’s final judgments are based upon our identity not our efforts.  Now our efforts are important and are necessarily proof of our identity.  But the main thing is who we are.  Who we really are at the core of who we are.

Thankfully, when Jesus saves us, He changes us at the core of who we are.  When we are saved, our identity is changed.  When we are saved, we become new creatures.  Our entrance to heaven, then is not based upon what we did or did not do on earth.  Our entrance to heaven is based upon our new identity in Jesus.  Woo Hoo!

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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