April 8, 2011

Today you should read: Mark 15:33-47

There is no greater thought than that of Jesus taking His last breath. Re-read verse 37. Think about what this meant: the final breath simply meant that He had accomplished what the Father wanted Him to do.

Read John 17:4. This passage sums up what we read in Mark 15:33-47. Many say that Jesus went on to spend three days in hell, even wise guys like Luther. However, that would mean that Calvary was not sufficient. The main point here is that Jesus, having taken His last breath, accomplished everything the Father told Him to do and the next three days in the tomb would prove that He was no lunatic or liar… He was Lord!

What did Jesus’ last breath mean for us? Read verse 38. This was the completion of our sins being atoned for (Jesus taking our sin upon Himself so that we could stand before God as His righteousness – 2 Corinthians 5:21). Think about this: His last breath would then lead to His resurrection which in turn would allow us to take our “first breath” as new-born Christians.

His last breath leads to His death which means life for us! (Ephesians 1:1-5)

Now, please take the time to re-read verse 34. What does it mean to repent? It simply is to change direction, right? I would say not only is it to change direction but to completely forsake the direction you were going. What does verse 34 say? Jesus asks His Father, “why have you forsaken me?”

Allow this to stick with you the rest of the day: the reason His Daddy forsook Him is because of your sin! Your sin nailed Christ to the cross. He had to take His last breath and die so you could take your “first breath” in order to be able to live with an eternal hope through God’s sovereign grace. Do you take sin seriously? I mean really?

My prayer for you today is that you would dwell on these three things and let all three burn upon your heart and mind:

1) His last breath meant death
2) His last breath in death leads to your first breath as a Christ follower
3) Your “first breath” should lead to your “last breath” in sacrificing your life for others (1 John 3:16)

Today, worship God and determine to be useful to the Kingdom!

Posted by: Zach Monroe

April 7, 2011

Today you should read: Mark 15:1-32

As I read the story of Jesus’ crucifixion, it made my heart heavy. As I imagine the hostile state of mind the Jews where in – especially the chief priests – I become angry. Why would they do this to Jesus our Savior?! It is easy to accuse the chief priests, but I am reminded of Romans 5:8:

“But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!”

I never thought the word “us” would be so powerful but it is an important part of the whole crucifixion. The word “us” is a plural, all inclusive word. When Paul uses this word he is saying that “all of us” are responsible for the cross. The crucifixion did not happen because of the “big” sins like murder, adultery, stealing, etc. It was for every single person who has every breathed a breath on this earth, because we are all sinners.

Now, this makes us read the story of the crucifixion differently. When the Jews and the chief priests are yelling “crucify Him!”, our voices are in that crowd. When we see the soldiers beating Him and pounding a crown of thorns on His head, our hands are among the fists that beat him. When Jesus is being mocked on the cross, our voices are taunting Him. It was for your sin and my sin that Jesus willingly hung on the cross.

It is my hope that when we read Mark 15:1-32 we would not read it with calloused hearts. I pray that we grasp the seriousness of this event and understand the weight of our sin. Understand that when we sin, it is not just some small thing that we will get over but that it is the very thing that sent Jesus to the cross. Let us stop comparing our sin to the sin of others and start viewing it in light of the cross. This one event should drive every decision, every thought, and every breath that we take.

Posted by: Chad Wiles

April 6, 2011

Today you should read: Mark 14:32-72

Inadequate thankfulness…

What a famous passage of scripture. I remember this scene from the movie The Passion of the Christ that portrayed the quivering Savior preparing for what was ahead.

This passage contains some of the most well-known verses in all of Scripture. We see Jesus on His face before the Father with a heart willing to obey, asking God for the chalice of death to be taken from Him. It wasn’t death that He dreaded but the full wrath of God and the sin of the world upon Himself. Then we see the apostles – who could forget the story of them falling asleep while Jesus is in agony? We read Jesus’ famous words: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (v38). Then we see one of His own disciples betray Him and the religious fakes question and beat Him. As if all that isn’t enough, we see Peter do something he never thought he would do: deny Jesus three times. I’d say this passage is pretty significant.

For today’s application, I want to take a little bit of a different approach from the usual teachings of this passage; I want to focus on it as a whole.

Today’s “Walk-Away”:

Inadequate thankfulness. That’s what is inside of my heart; it’s full of it. How about yours? Can you relate? Jesus poured out everything and willingly took the wrath of God for our sin and for God’s glory.

In verse 34 Jesus says, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death”. In verse 36, He asks God for the cup to pass, but that request was conditional upon God’s will which was Jesus’ first priority.

He knew what was to come and He chose to obey, for God and also for me and you. When I read this story, it reminds me of the incredible sacrifice that Jesus offered, and I can’t help but reflect on how inadequate my thankfulness to Him truly is. Am I overwhelmed with thankfulness to Jesus for what He went through to save me and spare me from the suffering and punishment that I deserve? He took my place and went through the incomprehensible pain of the pouring out of God’s wrath, and He chose it. He chose to follow through with the plan. Wow!

Let’s check our hearts and respond with worshipful thanksgiving for what Christ went through for us. Continue to cultivate that kind of heart. What would it look like to live a life that is in constant thankfulness for what Christ has done? Thank Him today.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

April 5, 2011

Today you should read: Mark 14:1-31

So, Jesus and His disciples have just traveled to Bethany after Jesus tells them what it will look like in the end times. Meanwhile, the Pharisees are trying to find a way to get rid of Jesus. While Jesus and His disciples were eating a meal a lady came in with a very nice jar full of expensive perfume. She took the jar, broke it open, and poured out all the perfume on Jesus’ head. Now, the disciples react in a way most of us probably would. Instead of seeing the beauty of this act of worship and sacrifice to Jesus, they see the waste of potential resources that could have been used to serve Jesus. Often times we would prefer to give to and serve Jesus rather than worship and adore Him. Just like in the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42) there is only one thing that truly matters and that is to worship the Lord by sitting at His feet and listening to Him.

So, the disciples are angry with this lady about her waste. This seems to be the tipping point for Judas, who we know was taking money from their ministry funds. (John 12:6) Judas decides that this is the last straw and he is tired of following Jesus, so, he goes to the Pharisees and lets them know he wants to get in on the plan to betray Jesus. They decided on a price and began looking for an opportune time to seize Jesus. It is amazing what money can make a person do. Judas, because of his love for money, turns from a disciple and follower of Jesus to the key person in capturing and killing Him. What do your possessions make you do? Do they cause you to reject God or replace Him? Be careful that you don’t let “stuff” take root in your heart.

Now, Jesus and the disciples are sharing the last supper. Jesus is now instituting this as a celebration and a ceremony of remembering what He is about to do. He explains to the disciples that He is going to break His body for them and spill His blood to save many. What a beautiful picture we see here of Jesus’ death and sacrifice for us on the cross! May we always think of that, especially as often as we partake in the Lord’s Supper.

This story ends with Jesus telling the disciples that they are going to desert Him when He is taken. Peter, of course, has a prideful way about him and decides to speak out. He tells Jesus that he will never desert Him, even if he has to die. It is funny that we often times argue with the God of the universe about the way things are going to be. We tell God that this or that can’t happen or that we can or cannot do or say or be something. Sometimes I think we actually think we know better than God. Either that or we don’t actually believe in Him. How are you doing in this? Are you allowing God to tell you what is and what isn’t, or are you dictating your life to Him and hoping He will just concede Lordship to you and bless your efforts?   

Posted by: Robbie Byrd