In Luke 7, we get several stories that all point to Christ’s divine identity, revealing his power over sin, disease and even death. Response to him will be divided. Some see their need for him while others do not.
Dear Father in heaven,
We come before you in humility knowing that in ourselves there is nothing that would make us worthy to have you listen to our prayers. We truly have nothing to offer but our faith in Christ. We know that he came to proclaim forgiveness to sinners like ourselves, so we ask you to cleanse us of our sins.
We ask you to make us faithful intercessors, much like the centurion, with respect to those we love. Please hear the prayers that we offer up for others.
Help us to remain faithful in the midst of our own trials, even as John had to remain faithful in prison.
And as we recognize how great your forgiveness has been toward us, make us people who would show you great love.
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!
Thank you for the love that you expressed by sending your Son to save us from our sins. We are forever grateful that our salvation depends upon your love and Christ’s death and not on anything that we can do for ourselves. He alone has conquered sin and death by rising from the grave.
Left to ourselves, like Peter, we would deny him.
Left to ourselves, we would sleep rather than pray.
Left to ourselves, we might even betray him.
But because of what Jesus did, we can come to you and call you Father. We can put our trust in you when we know that we cannot trust ourselves.
Help us to always give to you that which is most precious to us. Thank you for your great love.
In Christ’s name,
By listening to Jesus we learn that there is a great danger in hypocritical religion. The scribes and Pharisees were guilty of it then, but many besides them have been guilty of it too. Many are still guilty of it now.
In response we ask you to please show us where the practice of our faith does not measure up to your standards. Transform our hearts so that we become people who are inwardly pure. Let our love for you and for others cause us to grieve over sin and truly fear the day of your coming judgment.
And let us always be prepared and eagerly waiting for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In his name,