Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The 7 Last Words of Christ from the Cross #2

"Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34)

Jesus expresses the ultimate forgiveness as He asks the Father to pardon his executioners even while they are in the midst of killing Him.  This is a crazy kind of forgiveness.  There is no remorse, no repentance, no change of heart.  Jesus expresses forgiveness--not years after the event, not even weeks--but while the event is still in progress. 

Jesus notes their ignorance of God's activity. They don't know what they are doing.  How often do we act decisively in the same way--not knowing what we are doing? 

Let's apply it in two ways today.  First, we are all guilty of living ignorantly.  We have all acted, at times, in a way that was destructive to ourselves and others.  We have behaved in ways that are contrary to the revealed will of God.  Jesus offers forgiveness.  Even now, He offers forgiveness when we look to Him and acknowledge His Lordship.  Today, let me encourage you to confess your sins to Jesus and allow Him to wash you in His gracious forgiveness.

Second, we need to recognize that people all around us are acting ignorantly--they don't always know what they are doing.  And consequently, we get hurt and those we care about get hurt.  May we be quick to act like Jesus and ask that they be forgiven.  May we graciously extend forgiveness to those who harm us, even as God forgives us.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The 7 Last Words of Christ on The Cross #1

This week, as we anticipate resurrection morning, I want us to take a look at the seven last words that Jesus proclaimed while dying on the cross.

#1--"'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?' that is, 'My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?'" (Matthew 27:46).

This is a direct quote of the first verse in Psalm 22 and is often thought to be a cry of despair because of the separation that sin has created between Jesus and God the Father.  It is certainly a cry that most of us have experienced as we have questioned the presence of God as we have endured our pain.  We have likely joined the Psalmist--David, in crying out, "O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; and by night, but I have no rest." (Psalm 22:2)  We have all felt the sting of breaking hearts and sleepless nights.  But have we understood the purpose of our anguish in the way that Jesus did?

Psalm 22 is a great prophetic description of the death of Jesus the Messiah.  Read Psalm 22:14-18 and you will see amazing factual detail contained in the death of Jesus.  Remember, these astounding verses were written about a thousand years before Jesus died on the cross.  "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within me.  My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; and You lay me in the dust of death.  For dogs have surrounded me; a band of evildoers has encompassed me; they pierced my hands and my feet.  I can count all my bones.  They look, they stare at me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots." 

Jesus points us to Psalm 22 because He wants us to know that there is purpose in his death.  He wants us to know that God has purpose in the darkness of the cross.  It's not an accident and Jesus is no victim!  With His death, Jesus fulfills Psalm 22 perfectly--all of Psalm 22!

Jesus fulfills Psalm 22:24, "For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has He hidden His face from him; but when he cried to Him for help, He heard."  Because of Jesus death, God doesn't despise us or hide from us!  Rather, He hears our cries for help!  We may feel forsaken--but we are not!

Jesus fulfills Psalm 22:26, "The afflicted will eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the Lord."  Jesus' death provides nourishment, fulfillment, and the resulting praise of God!  We may feel forsaken--but we are not!

Jesus fulfills Psalm 22:27, "All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will worship before You."  Jesus' death on the cross made it possible for all humanity to turn to the Lord.  Yes, we may at times feel forsaken, but we are not!

Jesus died on the cross to move us from the despair of Psalm 22:1 to the glory of Psalm 22:31, "They will come and will declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, that He has performed it."  Jesus accomplished our righteousness through His death on the cross!  He performed it!  That's the Good News of the cross!  We may feel forsaken--but we are mistaken!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Official Title Selected

I'm thrilled to announce that the "Titling Committee" with Kregel Publications has settled on the official title for the new book.  It is, "Messed Up Men of the Bible: Seeing the Men in Your Life Through God's Eyes".

I am so excited to have the opportunity to birth this book.  Stay tuned...