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Matthew 27

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

TUESDAY, MAY 2

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 27

In this chapter we are introduced to a character named Pilate.  He was the man that the Roman government had installed (at that moment) to govern Judea and the surrounding territory.  He was not a good man.  He was, in fact, a bad man who was not above killing people to secure his power.  The Jewish people including the Jewish leaders really did not like him.

But it was to Pilate that the Jewish leaders took Jesus.  One of the reasons that they took Jesus to Pilate is that the Roman government had basically stripped the Jewish people of their right to carry out any sort of death penalty.  Along that line, if the Jewish people had carried out that penalty they would have done that by stoning Jesus today not by crucifying Him.  The reason that is important is that the crucifixion was prophesied hundreds of years before Jesus walked on the earth.  (The crazy thing about that is those prophesies that describe in intricate detail the process of crucifixion were written hundreds of hears before the Romans ever “invented” crucifixion.)

But I have digressed.  The Jewish leaders took Jesus to Pilate because it was a convenient way to get what they wanted.  As you read the story about Pilate it might appear that Pilate was trying to save Jesus, to keep Jesus from going to the cross.  But instead Pilate was nothing more than a wimp.  At any moment He could have sent the Jews away and released Jesus.  But he refused to make a decision.

It even got to the point in verse 24 where Pilate tried to wash his hands of the whole thing.  He went so far as to claim His innocence in the whole matter.  Before we go further, let me add here that it is impossible to wash your hands of Jesus.  And you cannot be innocent in the matter.  Jesus is the Savior of the World, the only begotten Son of God.  We either accept Him for who He is or we reject Him at our own peril.  But there is no such thing as washing Jesus off your hands.  There is not enough water in this world to wash Jesus away.  

Verse 25 contains one of the scariest statement in the Bible.  The Jewish leaders said, “His (Jesus’) blood be on us.”  In other words, they thought they were willing to take full responsibility for this as well as the brunt of any consequences that might come their way because of it.  But that is not the scariest.  

The scariest is when the included their children in that.  These folks were so crazed with anger they were willing to bring down a curse on their own children to get what they thought they wanted.

As you know the people asked for Barabbas, a real bad guy, to be released and for Jesus to crucified in his place.  I guess it goes without saying that in this instance I am Barabbas.  Jesus was crucified in my place.  By the way, you are Barabbas as well.  Jesus took your place.

Oh what a Savior! What a glorious Savior!

 

Posted by Joe Ligon with 0 Comments

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 0 Comments

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