Devotions

Monday 4-6-20

Click on Dr. Whitney’s picture to hear his explanation of Matthew 27:46.

Jesus’ first saying from the cross: Matthew 27:46 (NASB) About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?”

Tuesday 4-7-20

Jesus second saying from the cross: Luke 23:34a (NASB) But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

Jesus lived what He taught His followers as He suffered on Calvary’s cross. Jesus taught His followers they must forgive others (See Matthew 19:21-35). As Jesus suffered on the cross for the sins of the whole world, He asked the Father to forgive those who participated in His crucifixion. Their spiritual blindness prevented them from seeing their despicable evil. Yet, God used their evil to accomplish His plan to save us from our sins (See Acts 2:22-23). Amazingly, the prophet Isaiah foretold Jesus rejection and death for our sins 700 years before Calvary (See Isaiah 53)!

We must return to Jesus’ words in Luke 23:34a. Those who participated in Christ’s crucifixion were ignorant of the ramifications of their actions. Jesus prayed for their forgiveness. He suffered and died to make their forgiveness possible. However, Jesus’ forgiveness is not automatic. A person must confess and turn from their sins, and receive Jesus as Savior and Lord to experience His forgiveness.

If you want to know more about Jesus and His forgiveness, I urge you to read the Gospel of John. This gospel was written, “so that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; that believing you might have life in His name (John 20:31).”

Wednesday 4-8-20

Jesus third saying from the cross: Luke 23:43 (NASB) 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

The context for Jesus third saying on the cross begins in Luke 23:39. Jesus was crucified between two criminals who both mock him according to Matthew and Mark. In Luke’s account, one of the criminals scoffs at Jesus and taunts him: “If you are the Messiah, prove it by saving yourself and us to!”  The other criminal rebukes the scoffer: “Don’t you fear God! We are getting what we deserve but this man has done nothing wrong.”  Then he asks Jesus to remember him when he comes into His kingdom.  Jesus replies, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Why the difference between Luke’s gospel and Matthew and Mark?  Both accounts must be true, so how do we reconcile them?  Apparently, both criminals were mocking Jesus earlier in the crucifixion (Matthew 27:44, Mark 15:32). Something occurred to change the repentant criminals mind. David Garland proposes: This man was not at the Last Supper when Jesus announced that the Father had bestowed on him a kingdom and promised his loyal disciples that they would eat and drink at his table in his kingdom and sit on thrones (22: 29 – 30; see 1: 33). What would have led him to believe that this man being crucified next to him would ever exercise sovereign power? The only thing in the context to cause his sudden insight into Jesus is his intercessory prayer for forgiveness (23: 34). The Father answers the prayer by revealing his Son to this criminal and opening the door “for his salvation.”

In other words, the repentant criminal experienced forgiveness and salvation in answer to Jesus prayer: “Father forgive them; for they know not what they are doing.” This criminal was saved by faith in Jesus near the last moments of his life.  Dear ones, never quit praying for your lost loved ones! God in His mercy may save them on their death beds. 

Of course, someone will ask, “Where is paradise?”  I point you to 2 Cor. 12:4 and its context.

Thursday 4-9-20

Today, we will look at three of Jesus’ seven sayings on the cross. The first of three is John 19:26-27 (NASB), When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He *said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then He *said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household. As Jesus suffered in ways we can only imagine, bearing the sins of the whole world, he looks after His mother. Mary is a widow, and Jesus, her eldest son, has been caring for Her. Jesus lives out the command to honor one’s mother and father. Those of us who wish to honor our parents will follow Jesus’ example.

Why did Jesus entrust His mother to John, the disciple whom Jesus loved? None of Jesus’ brothers believed in Him (John 7:2-5) and were not at the crucifixion. However, John was there with Mary, providing support. In R. C. H. Lenski’s words, “These two belonged together because these two were losing in Jesus’ death more than the rest. Mary was losing her son, John the master who loved him beyond the rest.”

Today’s second statement for examination is in John 19:28 (NASB) After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, *said, “I am thirsty.” Jesus declares his thirst to fulfill Psalm 69:21 and perhaps Psalm 22:15. Both Psalms are considered Messianic and describe righteous suffering. Despite Jesus’ agonizing suffering, He is in complete control.

Jesus third statement is John 19:30 (NASB) Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. Commenting on this verse, Scholar James Hamilton declares:

“The righteous life has been lived. The greatest demonstration of humility and love has been accomplished. Exact obedience to every righteous requirement of the Father has been maintained. The full measure of the Father’s wrath has been poured out. The cup has been drained to the dregs. The penalty for sin has been paid. The substitute has taken the place of his people. Atonement has been made for every one of their innumerable transgressions. The stains have been made clean, the Father’s wrath propitiated, the law’s demand fulfilled, the pains of the people taken, guilt forgiven, old made new, salvation accomplished, love demonstrated, truth upheld, mercy lavished, brokenness healed, evil unplugged, Satan defeated, the promise of life made. It is finished.”

On Calvary’s cross, Jesus completed His mission entrusted to Him by the Father. He loved us to the uttermost by paying the penalty our sins deserve. Thank you, Jesus!

Saturday 4-11-20

Today’s devotion was written by Dr Leo Endel, Executive Director of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention.

Reunion: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” In these last words from the cross, separation from the Father is becoming reunion with the Father. Jesus in full confidence of the Father and of the Father’s completed plan commits His Spirit into the hands of the Father.

His words are from Psalm 31:5, a favorite Psalm, or song, of ancient Israel. It was a reminder that in the midst’s of life’s crises and struggles God is our refuge and deliverer. At the pinnacle of the absolute darkness of the cross Jesus is fully confident of the Father’s deliverance and, even more than that, that the Father will use this act of love to bring hope and salvation to the world. His cry for deliverance is not a request to be freed from the cross but to be delivered back to the Father–mission accomplished!

Hear these words of Psalm 31 and think of what they must have meant to Jesus:
In you, O LORD, do I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me!
Incline your ear to me;
rescue me speedily!
Be a rock of refuge for me,
A strong fortress to save me!
For you are my rock and my fortress;
and for your name’s sake
you lead me and guide me;
you take me out of the net
they have hidden for me,
for you are my refuge.
INTO YOUR HAND I COMMIT MY SPIRIT;
you have redeemed me,
O LORD, faithful God.
Today, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, “commit your spirit” to the God you can trust!