Archive for April, 2014
“But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened” (Luke 24:21).
“We were hoping” is a summary statement of the expectations held by the disciples; expectations of the messiah based upon the traditions of men but lacking in scriptural merit; expectations that were crushed with Friday’s crucifixion of Jesus. As the resurrected Christ explained the scriptures to them, however, the disappointment of “we were hoping” gave way to the assurance of “The Lord has really risen” (v.34). Stay the course and he will exceed all expectations.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you” (Jeremiah 1:5).
God’s comprehensive knowledge of Jeremiah is none the less true of anyone ever born. On a Friday that has been deemed as good, the cross stands as an eternal reminder that you were worth dying for. His intimate familiarity and awareness of who we are didn’t drive him away but brought him near.
“When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left” (Luke 23:33).
On three crosses were found a Savior and two criminals; each offering a word for our consideration. From Jesus comes a word of redemption–”Father, forgive them.” We are shocked that in the presence of such grace a criminal hurls abuse at Jesus–a word of rejection. The other, however, defends the innocence of Jesus while acknowledging their guilt. This one receives a word of reception and the promise of paradise. The word of the cross always brings us to a cross road as to what our lives will be about.
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
We set goals and are introduced to disappointment. We have hopes, dreams, and aspirations only to see them shattered and crushed in defeat and disheartenment. Yet, it is in these repeated experiences of our powerlessness that we discover the faithful provision and sufficiency of our heavenly Father.
“Each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work” (1 Corinthians 3:13).
Each day is spent in passionate pursuit of something. Our focus, energy, time, and resources are directed toward that which we have deemed of greatest importance. For most, this means doing what gains the favorable opinions of man. What is more freeing, however, and enables one to better prioritize life, is when our greatest concern is a favorable judgment by God. It’s the difference between “beefing up” a resumé for this life and building relationships for the life to come.
“According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it (1 Corinthians 3:10).
As followers of Christ we acknowledge that we are products of God’s grace. This truth heightens the awareness of all that God has entrusted to us. Random encounters become providential intersections, time becomes moments of eternal significance, grace received is now grace given. We are, in a sense, the subcontractors of what God is seeking build.
“So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions” (Luke 14:33).
Today’s verse captures, perhaps, like none other the comprehensive nature of the life lived in Christ Jesus. It is a calling that speaks to the totality of our being and not just part. The life that is daily being crucified develops an ever-growing awareness of the emptiness of the things of this life, and embraces the lifelong process of dispossession—letting go and giving up—so that His possession of us might be our only consuming passion.