This chapter looks at the trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This is the ultimate example of love. Christ died for us.
Thank you that out of love for us you sent your Son, who willingly died in our place. Thank you for allowing him to take the punishment that our sin deserved.
We thank you for having him endure the false accusations from his enemies, the abandonment of his friends and the pain and suffering that were naturally a part of the cross.
We also thank you for placing upon Jesus the unendurable grief caused by our sin. The guilt and the shame built up over the history of the human race was placed on his shoulders.
This tragic death is not a defeat, but the most wonderful victory ever won. And he did it because he loved us.
Thank you in Christ’s name,
I recently read a blog post by a self-professed atheist in which the author mocked Jesus using a fair amount of vulgar language. Looking back, I should have stopped halfway through, but for some reason kept going all the way to the end. To save you the experience I will not link to it or invite you to read it yourself. Sure, no problem. You’re welcome. Jesus is used to this sort of thing, I guess. Consider this passage from Matthew 27.
27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters and they gathered the whole battalion[e] before him.28 And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.
Let’s keep in mind it only got worse after this. Matthew goes from here to the crucifixion. The Bible explains Christ’s motivation for his suffering as love. One of several verses that point us in this direction is 1 John 3:16.
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
It’s good to just keep this in mind. If we ever need evidence of God’s love or Christ’s commitment to show it, we just need to look at the cross. That was the punishment that we deserved and he took it on our behalf. Being fully God and fully man, the price he paid was of infinite value, enough to easily pay for the sins of us all.
Any sacrifice we make for others is nothing more than following his example and responding to his love. Any criticism or demeaning comments from others we endure for our faith only draws us closer to his example. Meditating on his love for us will make our potential sacrifice easier to bear.
Thank you Jesus!
Jesus tells a parable about rewards which leads to some surprises. Then he once again foretells his death and resurrection. He also gives his disciples a lesson on greatness.
Matthew 20.mp3 (Kenny Washington)
In Romans 5:7-9 Paul reminds us,
7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
Today we remember the greatest example of love the world has ever known. This is the day we remember that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. True, Paul writes this at a time when many who would read it were alive at the time of Christ’s death. He could say “while we were still sinners” and look back on the crucifixion and the space of time before he believed in its value. We look at it somewhat differently.
Notre Dame altar cross, early Tuesday, April 16, 2019, by Philippe Wojazer, Reuters
From our standpoint Christ died before we were ever born. He died before we ever sinned. He also died long before we saw our need for a Savior. How wonderful that by the time we saw our need, the Savior was risen. The price for our sin had already been paid. All that was lacking was our making use of Christ’s payment and asking it to be applied to us.
The love he shows to us is every bit as great as if we had known Christ personally while he walked the earth. He was the lamb of God, taking away the sins of the world. We are the sinners, who have corrupted the world by our sin.
As children of the very wealthy are in danger of not appreciating the true cost or worth of their riches, we run the risk of not appreciating the price that Christ paid. We were born into a world whose sin was already dealt with at the cross. We have been forgiven based on a work done long ago, a completed suffering. We need to take some time to consider the cross. Grace can be freely extended to us only because our Lord Jesus Christ humbled himself to a death that we deserved.
Thank you, thank you Jesus.