The Day that Changed the World

Disciples Today


Editors Note: Disciples Today is publishing this brief Quiet Time series for those who would like a guide to walking through "Passion Week" in the footsteps of Jesus. Please see the other days of the week for further study: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Saturday Sunday.

To deepen your study, consider these options:

Friday: The Day that Changed the World

He Could Have Changed His Mind: Mark 14:32-42; Matthew 26:36-46; Luke 22:36-46
In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus struggled in prayer, agonizing over the suffering awaiting him. Three time he begged God, "By Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Jesus was not a programmed robot. He was a physical man with emotions that could be damaged and a body that could be tortured and destroyed. he wa also fully God. (Colossians 2:9) He could have called down legions of angels to end the travesty. Nails couldn't keep him on the cross. Only love.

Romans 5:6 You see at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ dies for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this while we were still sinners, Christ dies for us.

He Chose to Do This for Me
As you read the day's accounts for the crucifixion in Matthew 26 & 27; Mark 15; Luke 23 and John 19; let yourself realize that he was doing all this for you personally. We desreve rejection, punishment, death, and separation from God for our sins but Jesus did not. yet he pushed through the painful beatings, the mocking, the betrayal, the humiliation, the nails driven in his hands and feet and his torturous death so we would have forgiveness, healing and reconciliation with God.

Here are some ideas to deepen our understanding of the crucifixion:

He Chose to Take Our Punishment
God is pure love. (1 John 4:16) We are children created to be loved by him. God is also pure righteousness, truth, justice and holiness. He created us with the ability to choose to love and obey Him or not. By our own free choice, we sinned. We all have sinned (Romans 3:23) causing the intimate connection between us and God to break down. Isaiah 59:1-2 says that our sin separates us from God. God, in fact, is the total absence of sin; it is impossible for Him to be in a relationship with sin.

The dilemma began in the Garden when God's beloved children rebelled and sinned against Him. Sin spread like a murderous cancer from person to person with each one making his or her own choice. How could God restore the relationship with His children and also between His children without compromising his own justice and righteousnes? It took extreme measures and the supreme sacrifice of a pure, sinless liefe to appease righteous justice. Consider for a minute...what beatings, murder, rape, stealing, malice, greed, betrayal, torture, deceit, faithfulness, gossip, etc. etc.? Has any human found such a solution? Jesus is the solution. he received the punishment that all mankind desreves so that justice is satisfied.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that cam by Christ Jesus. Romans 6:23-24.

He Chose to Give his Life
Jesus was Jewish. He knew the Law intimately. He kept it perfectly. He was aware of the fact that God had established blood sacrifices for the atonement of sins. During the Passover week, the streets were crowded with Israelites lumbering along carrying their animal sacrifices to the Temple. It was an imperfect system, using the blood of innocent animals, kept until the perfect sacrifice for man could be found. "For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is thr blood that makes atonement for one's life." Leviticus 17:11

How many sacrifices did Jesus watch knowing he would soon be shedding his own blood as the only hope for the undeserving multitudes of fuilty lives? He struggled with the painful reality but surrendered his will to God for our sakes.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal live. John 3:16

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! Romans 5:9

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace. Ephesians 1:7

Take time today to focus on Jesus' heart, mind, soul, and strength. Satan was at the most powerful point in his existence, while God, wearing the frail flesh of man, was at his weakest.
How did Jesus prepare to handle the greatest spiritual battle of all time?
How can I become more like Him knowing that, too often, just one jeering, hateful comment can dissipate my faith and courage?
How did God's grace motivate Jesus? How did the truth motivate him?
How grateful am I on a daily basis for what Jesus did for me?
Am I continuously growing deeper in my understanding of the Cross?
How does the Cross relate to my behavior? To my attitudes?

Have a Gethsemane prayer. List the things that tempt you the most to back away from dying to yourself for God and for others. Agonize in prayer through the list.
Pray through to resolution....

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