November 6: The Man Standing Before Rulers

Matthew 27:1-10; Luke 23:1-12; Mark 15:1-5; John 18:28-38

You do know Jesus could have stopped this, don’t you? He could have defended Himself against the lies being told about Him. He could have easily convinced both Pilate and Herod He wasn’t guilty of anything. But He just stood there, like a sheep before the slaughter.

Don’t kid yourself. Jesus was NOT a sheep before the slaughter. He knew exactly what He was doing and where His silence would take Him. And He wanted to go there.

I know there are many who are convinced that Jesus, while in the garden, asked His Dad for an alternate plan at the last minute, that He went to the cross out of stoic obedience. But I look at the Man standing before rulers, hearing the lies and slander, feeling the force of blows to His body, and I know He didn’t want to be anywhere else.

It’s what He’d come for.

As I look at the Man standing before rulers, knowing He had the power to pulverize His accusers, understanding He stood there absolutely guiltless, I realize how loved I am. With every blow, Jesus expressed love and grace. With every lash, every lie, every insult, He was saying loudly and clearly: “I love you!”

As I look at the Man standing before rulers, I can almost see the pain in His eyes. He felt the blows. He felt the rejection. I imagine His body, His heart and soul ached, cried out in pain. But my salvation was more important to Him than the pain. He walked through that abuse so He could get to the cross because my sin debt needed to be paid there.

As I look at the Man standing before rulers, my heart is filled with love. No one has loved me like that. No one could except Jesus.

I love the Man standing before rulers.

November 5; Betrayed

Mark 14:43-72; Matthew 26:47-75; Luke 22:47-71; John 18:1-27

Judas walked right up to Jesus and gave Him a kiss. He didn’t stand at a distance and just point a finger. He got about as close as two people could get and then he betrayed the Lord. What was he thinking?

Scripture tells us Satan had entered Judas, so we know he could not have been thinking anything good. Did Satan fill Judas with hate? Is that what motivated the betrayal? Or was it something else? Jealousy? Greed? Did he think he could force Jesus’ hand to start the rebellion against Rome?

We don’t know what Judas was thinking when he walked up to the Lord, looked Him straight in the eye, and betrayed Him with a kiss. Scripture doesn’t let us in on the thought process. So evidently the “why” behind what Judas did doesn’t matter. But it makes me wonder.

I have never said the words, “I don’t believe in Jesus.” But I will admit there were times in the past when I took His name in vain. I have never denied the cross, but there have been occasion when I have knowingly and willingly sinned. There have been times when, in effect, I have looked Jesus straight in the eye, and betrayed him.

Do I betray my Lord when people around me use vulgar language, catch themselves and apologize, and I say, “It’s ok?” Do I betray Him when I blend in with the world so that people don’t recognize me as His child? Do I betray Jesus when I go through the motions of worship with a heart that is unrepentant?

It’s easy to condemn Judas for what seems to be the ultimate betrayal of the Savior. But is my betrayal of Him any less sinful? Does my betrayal hurt Him less than Judas’?

The “why” behind my sinful actions aren’t important any more than it was behind what Judas did. The fact that I can betray my Savior grieves me.

Precious Jesus, forgive me. I can point a finger at Judas and condemn what he did, and rightfully so. What he did to You was inexcusable. But I thank You that today, You have shown me that being horrified at Judas’ sin, and not horrified at mine is wrong. I’m sorry for the times I have denied You, sinned against You, betrayed You. I want only to honor You today with every thought, word, and deed. May people know without a doubt that this woman is totally, intentionally, happily standing with You.

 

 

November 4; Tears

John 15:18-17:16; Mark 14:32-42; Matthew 26:36-46; Luke 22:39-46

It’s hard for me to read about the last few hours of Jesus’ life on earth. I find myself wanting to sit with Him, to hold His hands, to put a cool cloth on His fevered brow. I want to pray with Him, and wipe His tears.

But I know had I lived at that time, I would have been just like Peter, James, and John. I wouldn’t get it anymore than they did.

You know how I know that? Because even as I sit here with tears running down my face for love of that hurting Man who loved me enough to die for me, I have slept while He is grieved over sin in my life, in the lives of my loved ones, and over sin in the world.

Jesus didn’t die, then return to heaven to sit on a throne and say, “Glad that’s over. Now it’s up to them.” He is still working, still praying, still grieving over sin in our lives.

I know the Bible says one day He will wipe the tears from our eyes. But who is wiping His tears?

Oh, may I see sin like He sees it, how He faced it there in the Garden. May I live to please and not grieve Him. May I have the privilege of wiping His tears, and bringing Him only joy.

November 3; In Rememberance

Mark 14:22-31; Matthew 26:26-35; Luke 22:15-20, 31-38; John 13:31-15:17

We observed the Lord’s Supper in church this morning. I don’t know how often your fellowship serves Communion, but I hope that you never take it for granted. Jesus gave us this gift the night before He died. He gave us the gift of rememberance.

When I took the tiny cracker and pressed it into the palm of my hand, I remembered that Jesus was a real man, with a real body, who experienced real pain. Excruciating pain from beatings, floggings, torture and humiliation. Thorns crammed into His head, nails driven into His hands and feet, then hung on a cross to slowly suffocate like some common criminal. I remembered His body.

When I took that little plastic cup filled with grape juice between my fingers, I remembered that Jesus bled real blood from real wounds. I remembered that that blood was spilt to pay what I can never pay – my death sentence which my sins deserve. I remembered His precious blood.

So today, I humbly remember what Jesus did for me the night He took my sins to the cross. I receive His forgiveness and grace. I don’t deserve what He did. But I know He deserves a me who loves and lives for Him.

I worship my Savior, in remembrance.

 

November 2; Just As Jesus Said

Mark 14:12-21; Matthew 26:17-25; Luke 22:7-14, 21-30; John 13:1-30

The Passover Feast was approaching and the disciples wanted to prepare for what we now know as the Last Supper. Jesus gave specific instructions and his disciples set out to follow them.

Scripture records a powerful, reassuring verse in Mark 14:16 and again in Luke 22:13. When the disciples got to Jerusalem, they “found things just as Jesus had told them.” That really spoke to me today.

I think of the many things Jesus said while in His earthly body. Things like:

Come to me, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

If you seek God’s kingdom, He will give you everything you need. (Matthew 6:33)

I am with you always. (Matthew 28:20)

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. (John 14:27)

Whoever comes to me I will never drive away. (John 6:37)

The one who loves me will be loved by the Father. )John 14:21)

I have called you friends. (John 15:15)

If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me. (John 14:3)

He tells us complete joy is in those who keep His commands. (John 15:9-11)

Whoever believes in Jesus has eternal life. (John 3:16)

There are so many precious promises Jesus made. And we can be assured that when we look into them, when we believe, we will find things just as Jesus said.

 

November 1; Everything

Matthew 25:31-26:16; John 12:20-50, 1-11; Mark 14:1-11; Luke 22:1-6

What would you do if the bodily form of Jesus walked into your home and took a seat on your couch? Would you rush to the kitchen to fix Him something to eat, or get Him a drink? Would you pull out your phone and begin to call your friends to come and join you? Maybe you’d sit next to Him and ask those questions on your mind having to do with life and eternity.

Mary took what some to believe was her dowry, the downpayment for her future, her hopes to be a wife and mother, her dreams of having a home for the rest of her life, and she used it to wash Jesus’ feet. She held nothing back. She broke the jar, spilling its contents out on her Savior, lavishing Him with everything she had.

Jesus in bodily form is not likely to come to your house today for tea But if you are His child through His precious blood, His Presence is every bit as real.

What will you give Him today/?

October 31; Pure Motives

Mark 13:24-37; Matthew 24:29-25:30; Luke 21:25-38, 19:11-27

They didn’t do anything really wrong, right? I mean they were where they were supposed to be for so long, lamps in hand. Was it their fault the bridegroom was so long in coming?

The servant given one talent of money didn’t really do anything wrong. It wasn’t like the master actually told him he was supposed to use it to make more money. Didn’t the servant have a right to do with the money what he wanted to? After all, he’d protected it. Give him some credit. ┬áIt’s not like he lost it or spent it foolishly.

Maybe the bridesmaids’ and the servant’s motives were pure. Maybe they thought they were doing it right. But the Bible is pretty clear that there was something amiss. Neither the bridesmaids nor the servant had much of a respect for the man in charge. Maybe they thought, “good enough is good enough.” And if they did think that, they were wrong.

I hope you read these verses today. The rest of these stories don’t contain a happy ending. God is the final judge. There is no getting around it.

But what I don’t want to miss is the end of the story for the bridesmaids who had been prepared, and the other servants who put to good use that which the Master had given them. Talk about a happy ending! Friend, the choices we make in this life, the honor we show God, our obedience to His Word will make all the difference.

Is Jesus your Master? I hope that is the case. Then let’s all be faithful to use what He has given us, for His glory. Let’s watch for His return, ready, eager, excited to see Him. But let’s do it His way, according to what He tells us in His Word. Because pure motives are meaningless if they are not followed by obedience.