Jesus’ last quote in Matthew 19-20, 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. The Great Commission was stated to the disciples directly, but was meant for all believers. It is not a suggestion, it is a command. But more importantly, it is a privilege to be in God’s will and to be used by Him for an eternal impact. Let us not take it for granted.
Jesus died an excruciatingly painful death. It was physically painful, but it was just as painful spiritually and emotionally. Jesus’ last moments are captured in John 19:30, When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished,” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. At that moment Jesus’ suffering ended. But it did not just end for Him, but for us as well. He took on all the pain and suffering for us so we would not have to experience it ourselves. When we stop and contemplate what it all really means we see how big of a sacrifice He made on our behalf.
Jesus never once hid from the truth. There were times when He chose not to defend himself, but He never hid from it. In John 18:37 Pilate questioned Jesus and He responded clearly, “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” Jesus came to the world speaking the truth. Those who believed the truth, and in some cases made a conscious choice to believe, were able to see it. But in most cases, especially the religious leader, they chose to not see the truth because it required change and faith. Let us not be afraid to change in order to listen and believe the truth.
Jesus, the only perfect man to walk the face of the earth, died on the cross to atone for our sins. We are no different than the men who hung on the cross with Jesus. One of the men even acknowledged Jesus’ sacrifice for all Luke 23:41 “We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Let us never forget our sinfulness and our unworthiness to be forgiven of our sin through Jesus’ sacrifice. He took our place on the cross and for that reason alone we will live for eternity.
What if the resurrection happened today? This is how we would have reacted and it’s the way we should still feel today.
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After Jesus was crucified, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for Jesus’ body to be buried. Pilate, though he was surprised Jesus died so quickly, gave the body to Joseph. In Mark 15:46-47 we read about what Joseph did with Jesus’ body, 46 So Joseph brought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in the tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid. So… Today we wait. But tomorrow is coming.
Today is Good Friday, and one of the most painful days in the history of our faith. It all came down to this in Matthew 27:50 And when Jesus had cried out in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. But just remember… Sunday is coming!
Today we read Jesus’ prayer to God just before the end of His ministry here on earth. As I read the prayer, I could not help feel a sense of honor that Jesus prayed for me and all future believers in the last part of His prayer. In John 17:20-21 Jesus specifically says, 20 My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. Jesus’ desire was that we all become one body of believers. There is power in unity. His desire was not for us to become a gang, but a loving and encouraging body that cares for each other and as a group can care for others in need. Our body of believers should form a hospital, not a country club. We are here for the sick, not the privileged. Let us always remember this.
Jesus gave His disciples a great example of what His suffering would look like and why it would all be worth it in John 16:21, A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. Through the suffering of birth comes so much joy that a mother will forget what happened moments earlier. This is what Jesus’ suffering was like. I anguish over the thought of what Jesus endured for each of us on the cross. Yet, on Sunday, we will rejoice to know He is risen from the dead for the forgiveness of all our sins. The joy of knowing He is alive and that He suffered for me is overwhelming.
The world around us wants to push our buttons so they can say, “see, I told you they show nothing but hatred.” But Jesus boils it down to it’s simplest form in John 15:17 when he says, This is my command: Love each other. When we choose to turn away from anger and hatred for those around us, especially other believers, we can rest assured we are a true reflection of Christ.