Did you ever notice when Jesus forgave those who were responsible for His death?
It was in the midst of His suffering.
Luke 23:34 KJV — Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
This truth struck me this morning as I was praying.
Jesus is the believer’s example in all things and that includes forgiveness.
Thus, we should be quick to forgive, even in the midst of the pain, right in the middle of the wrong, we need to forgive.
What about those things which happened already?
Yes, we need to forgive those who hurt us in the past as well.
Because Christ Jesus forgave us, we must forgive others.
Acts 5:31 NKJV — “Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank You for Your example, that You chose to forgive, even in the middle of the most horrific abuse You were experiencing. Thank You that it doesn’t matter how much we are hurt, it matters how much You are willing and able to heal the hurt. Lord, thank You for Your incredible sacrifice. Thank You for salvation. Amen.
Matthew 26:1-2 NKJV — Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, that He said to His disciples, “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”
There’s nothing which can really prepare someone for the death of a loved one.
But this is an even deeper shock.
The disciples had great expectations for Jesus and crucifixion wasn’t one of them.
Not to mention, that Jesus had done nothing wrong.
What would they accuse Him of?
How could an innocent man be allowed to pay the ultimate punishment?
Their minds couldn’t grapple the full truth of what was occurring.
The Gospels were written for those who came after.
So we might learn the truth as well as those who walked with Jesus.
Luke 24:15-17 NKJV — So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?”
Jesus, Himself, explained all that had happened to His disciples, that they might share the truth.
It was why He came.
Luke 24:25-27NKJV — Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! “Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
As difficult as it is to realize that Jesus was born to die on a cross, all of scripture points to Him as the Redeemer.
It is truly wonderful that Jesus knew exactly what He was walking to and when He rose, He had made the way to salvation.
As we walk forward in this week before Easter, let us spend time meditating upon Jesus.
What He did.
Who He is.
And why He did it.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your sacrifice. Nothing I can do or experience will ever compare to Your wonderful gift of salvation. How great a blessing! What a wonderful, beautiful, priceless gift! Lord, I want to honor You and Your sacrifice. I want my life to reflect Your love and truth. Please help me to live daily, carrying my cross with joy. Thank You for Your promises. Thank You for Your love. I love You. Amen.
Luke 2:7 KJV — And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
The Bible doesn’t specify what animals were present at the stable.
But it makes sense that there would be.
Leviticus 23:12 KJV — And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD.
Jesus is the Lamb.
John 1:29 NKJV — The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
His sacrifice paid for sin, once and for all.
So, having a lamb in the Nativity is definitely a wonderful reminder of the sacrifice Jesus gave.
Truly, He was the only One Who could pay for our sin.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for Your sacrifice. Lord, thank You for the humble place of Your birth and how full it is of hints to Who You are and what You were going to do. Truly, everything about Your birth is an inspiration and encouragement. For nothing was out of control then, nor is it now. You are working the will of Your Father, restoring us to a right relationship with You. Thank You! Praise be to Your Holy Name! Amen!
And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together. Genesis 22:8 NKJV
This passage of scripture where God tests Abraham is riveting.
The chapter begins by telling us God was testing Abraham.
Then God tells Abraham that he is to take Isaac to a mountain range and, on a mount He would show him, offer Isaac as a burnt offering.
So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Genesis 22:3 NKJV
The Bible doesn’t record a single thing on Abraham’s side other than his action.
He rose early to obey the Lord.
Scriptures tell us Abraham loved Isaac, so this wasn’t about a lack of affection between father and son.
It was because of Abraham’s great love for his son that he was being tested.
When they reach the place Abraham told his servants:
And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” Genesis 22:5 NKJV
Abraham is going to sacrifice his son as a burnt offering, but he knows God’s promise for Isaac and we see in his words his faith that God would follow through on His promise even if he has to sacrifice Isaac.
Abraham’s faith is seen again in his words to Isaac.
But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together. Genesis 22:7-8 NKJV
Abraham trusted God to fulfill His Word, no matter the circumstances.
So much so that his hand was raised to kill his son as he understood God to direct him when God stepped in.
But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Genesis 22:11-12 NKJV
Abraham passed the test.
Nothing and no one was more important to Abraham than following God.
Not even his son, whom he loved.
And because of his devotion to God, his test is a foreshadowing of Jesus, God’s Son, who was sacrificed to pay for all the sins of the world.
John 3:16-17, Gal. 1:4, Luke 24: 25-27 (just a few examples)
The astonishing faith of Abraham, who had never seen or heard of anyone rising from the dead, is inspiring.
Abraham knew God would fulfill His promise through Isaac, as He had said, and no circumstance, not even death would change that.
This was definitely a memorable moment.
No wonder the mount became renamed:
And Abraham called the name of the place, The- Lord -Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” Genesis 22:14 NKJV
Such treasures to be gleaned from Abraham’s faith and devotion to God Almighty!
What an incredible story to see God spare Isaac and to realize He instead provided Hisown Son.
What amazing love shines forth through this!
And it’s attainable today.
God still loves now just as much as He did then.
He loves every single one of us equally.
We know this, because Jesus died for all.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for this astonishing story. Thank You for Abraham’s example to us. Please help me to live in the same way, unwavering faith, incredible devotion, and quick obedience to Your Word. Lord, thank You for sacrificing Yourself for us. Thank You for Your unfailing love. Thank You for Your Word, which guides and hones my heart. Please continue to teach me, that I might not sin against You. May Your name be glorified! Amen.
There are many circumstances which cause one to be willing to sacrifice something.
Time is often sacrificed in pursuit of happiness.
Money can be sacrificed in the pursuit of comfort.
Love has been sacrificed in the pursuit of desire.
Yet the best and only pure sacrifice is that of God’s.
He gave all.
Jesus walked among men to be questioned, accused, and finally killed just to give those who would believe a door to a new life, a new perspective, and eternal salvation.
As I walk in the knowledge of His sacrifice for me it’s so much easier to desire the things of eternity.
Only when my eyes are focused on myself or my circumstances or my world do I struggle with the little things which are unimportant.
Yet there is such a depth to the sacrifice of Christ.
It doesn’t call me to simply wrap up in comfort and security now that my soul has been washed, instead it urges me to daily speak, live, and love in such a way as to show others I have been changed by His grace.
Yet two nights ago I was frustrated and angry over dirty laundry.
Will I ever truly understand how to live daily in the knowledge of my Lord’s sacrifice?
Will I ever be able to love people the way Christ does?
Praise God for His mercy, grace, and His Word which continues to encourage me to repent.
“The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.”
God’s wonderful gift
free to all
who would believe.