Jesus is mocked – Matthew 27:27-31

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!

Matthew 26 Verse by Verse

Matt photoThis chapter looks at Christ’s last Passover with his disciples and the beginning of the Lord’s Supper given to the church.  We see Jesus in Gethsemane, Judas’s betrayal and Peter’s denial.  This is God’s love.

Matthew 26.pdf

Matthew 26.mp3

A Prayer Prompted by Matthew 26

Heavenly Father,

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,

Amen.

 

A Prayer Prompted by Matthew 23

Heavenly Father,

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,
Amen.

Devotional thought for Good Friday

In Romans 5:7-9 Paul reminds us,

For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 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.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/notre-dame-cathedral-on-fire-crucifix-altar-cross-paris/

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.

Amen.