Mark 15:21-47 – The Death of Jesus

Read Mark 15:21-47

Jesus on the cross

How can we even imagine what Jesus went through in these final hours. Pilate tried to set him free, but Jesus’ destiny had been set. You can read the whole chapter of Mark 15 for more of those details. It used to shock me how the people turned on Jesus. And while it is still shocking, I can see how God had to cloud their minds so that the cries of “crucify him” would be more than Pilate could bear. These outlandish charges would not warrant a death sentence.

But imagine how Jesus, that is God, felt hearing the angry cries, the chants calling for his death. Even though he expected to die, it had to be difficult to hear coming from the people who days before had been shouting, “Hosanna!” These were the very people he loved so much and would be giving his life for. The inner turmoil must have been agonizing. He couldn’t just blink his eyes and have it over with. He had to endure the cruelty of the cross for us.

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Revelation 5:1-14 – Victory by Sacrifice

Read Revelation 5:1-14

Being a worship leader and musician, between the reading in Chapter 4 and today’s in Chapter 5, I can’t help but think of two songs. You can click to listen to Revelation Song and Worthy is the Lamb. Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder, indeed!

Again, we have more beautiful imagery. We see the scroll in God’s hands. That’s how books were written in those days. I understand a scroll could be up to 30 feet long. That’s a lot of words! But God’s scroll was holy and filled with truth. It was sealed with seven seals. Who was worthy to open it to reveal the future God had written?

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Deuteronomy 15:19-23 – Another Way to Honor God

Read Deuteronomy 15:19-23

Can you imagine the tracking system needed to keep track of every animal’s childbearing schedule? Maybe I’m the only one who is a little awed by this. I totally understand how the people were to honor God with their first fruits, and that easily translates into our world today with our salaries as well as the bounty from our land. But to me, a cow is a cow is a cow. Obviously, this Iowa girl didn’t spend much time on a farm. I’m guessing that just like we can tell our pets apart, farmers could tell their flocks apart.

That being said, it must still be quite a feat to remember if Bessie has had a litter before so that her first born can be set aside for the Lord. Did the farmers feel like this was a hardship? What if they made a mistake and missed one, or set aside a second born son? Maybe we sometimes feel like we are facing difficulty in keeping ourselves on track, living a faithful life, resisting temptation so we can live God-honoring lives. I’m pretty sure I’m missing the point Moses is trying to make here. We need to let go of details like this when they distract us.

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Matthew 10:32-42 – People Will Be People

Read Matthew 10:32-42

People can be selfish and driven by materialistic desires. Jesus is challenging us here. If we deny him, he will deny us. On the flip side, and this is the side I’d rather be on, for those who publically acknowledge Jesus, he will acknowledge them. It sounds kind of like, “if you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours.” There is more to it than that.

As a follower of Christ, we know he is the only way to the Father. It isn’t by anything we can do or say. We are given the choice of being quiet or speaking out. I believe God will place opportunities in our path to act. We have all missed out on these divine appointments by choosing to be quiet. Don’t you wish you could go back and have a do-over sometimes?

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Hebrews 10:1-18 – Sins Forgotten

Read Hebrews 10:1-18

We’re moving through the book of Hebrews and there is a lot of emphasis on Jesus being our high priest. His sacrifice was once and done. He will not have to die again. Remember, some of the young Christians had been Jews just moments before. Their heritage had been a yearly sacrifice. Each year you’d be reminded of your sins as the sacrifices were made and the high priest entered the Most Holy Place.

You can’t just change a person’s experience or understanding of forgiveness overnight. This is a process. It may be hard for us, too, to imagine how the shedding of Jesus’ blood could be the perfect sacrifice. There are a lot of us sinners in the world now and across the span of time. There will be many more in the days ahead. We, too, need to wrap our head around the fact that God came to live and die. His death redeemed us.  Continue reading “Hebrews 10:1-18 – Sins Forgotten”