April 23, 2011 – Stanley


Holy Saturday, A Dark Sabbath   JOHN 19:31-42
Just as Christ once rested in the stern of a boat through a raging storm, He rested in the tomb as storms raged within His disciples. A day after Jesus’ death, fear, doubt, and grief must have cycled endlessly through their minds. Memories of their lives with Him must have played there too: how it felt to stand upon a rolling sea, to feed thousands with a few loaves of bread, or to see Lazarus’ burial clothes heaped in the dirt. No doubt their hearts grew sick with confusion as they contemplated these things.

The disciples’ feeble faith shouldn’t surprise us, because if we’re honest, we see it in ourselves. The “little of faith,” as Jesus often called them, failed to believe or remember things the Lord said of Himself—that He’d lay down His life and take it up again. Had His followers faithfully held these things in their hearts, that Sabbath day might have been a time of joyful anticipation.

At times in our lives, God may seem absent, but ultimately we know that He will never leave us (Heb. 13:5). And unlike the disciples, we’ll never experience the dark prospect of a failed Savior. But many times we forget the promises of God. In the face of uncertainty, how frequently do we turn to a “do-it-yourself” Christianity to fix our problems?

Too often we look no further than our own solutions, when what we need is the wonder-working power of Christ’s resurrection and a posture of humility as we wait on Him. If we are willing to wait through the darkness of night, we can rest in knowing that morning will surely come.

April 23, 2011 – Begg

How Are You Fighting Sin?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Romans 8:37

We go to Christ for forgiveness, and then too often look to the law for power to fight our sins. Paul issues this rebuke: “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? . . . Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”1 Take your sins to Christ’s cross, for the flesh can only be crucified there: We are crucified with Him. The only weapon to fight sin with is the spear that pierced the side of Jesus.

To give an illustration–if you want to overcome an angry temper, how do you go about it? It is very possible that you have never tried the right way of going to Jesus with it. How did I get salvation? I came to Jesus just as I was, and I trusted Him to save me. I must kill my angry temper in the same way. It is the only way in which I can ever kill it. I must go to the cross with it and say to Jesus, “Lord, I trust You to deliver me from it.” This is the only way to give it a deathblow.

Are you covetous? Do you feel the world entangle you? You may struggle against this evil as long as you please, but if it is your besetting sin, you will never be delivered from it in any other way than by the blood of Jesus. Take it to Christ. Tell Him, “Lord, I have trusted You, and Your name is Jesus, for You save Your people from their sins. Lord, this is one of my sins; save me from it!”

Ordinances are nothing without Christ as a means of mortification. Your prayers, and your repentances, and your tears–the whole of them put together–are worth nothing apart from Him. Only Jesus can do helpless sinners good, and helpless saints too. You must be conquerors through Him who has loved you if you will be a conqueror at all. Our laurels must grow among His olives in Gethsemane.


1Galationas 3:1-3

April 22, 2011 – Stanley


Good Friday the Lamb of God   MATTHEW 26:47-27:56
Jesus is called by a variety of names–Messiah, Lord, Christ, Rabbi, Teacher–but the one that is probably the most unfamiliar to the modern world is the Lamb of God. Since most of us do not have a Jewish background, we have a limited understanding of this title. But the Israelites of that day understood the significance of this name. Lambs were for sacrifice.

God has always dealt with sin through the blood of sacrifices. When Adam and Eve sinned, an animal was slain to cover the nakedness and shame of two individuals (Gen. 3:21). On the first Passover, each household covered their doorway with sacrificial blood (Ex. 12:1-7). Later, a goat was slaughtered for the atonement of the entire nation (Lev. 16:15). Now in John 1:29, we see the ultimate sacrifice–the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.

Usually a person’s most impressive achievements are completed while he or she is alive, but think about what Jesus accomplished through His death. Just as innocent animals had died in place of the guilty, so Christ gave His perfect life for sinful mankind. He assumed full responsibility for all our sins and took the punishment that we deserved. As He hung on the cross, the judgment and wrath of God was poured out on Him instead of on us.

Since we are limited by our human minds and senses, we cannot fully understand all that the Lamb of God endured to bring us salvation. But we know enough to realize that we owe Him our lives. He took our place on the cross; let’s give Him first place in our hearts.

April 22, 2011 – Begg

Exalted with Him

Acts 5:31

Jesus, our Lord, who once was crucified, dead, and buried, now sits upon the throne of glory. The highest place that heaven affords is His by undisputed right. It is vital and helpful to remember that the exaltation of Christ in heaven is a representative exaltation. He is exalted at the Father’s right hand, and though as Jehovah He had eminent glories, in which finite creatures cannot share, yet as the Mediator, the honors that Jesus wears in heaven are the heritage of all the saints.

It is delightful to think of how close Christ’s union is with His people. We are actually one with Him; we are members of His body; and His exaltation is our exaltation. He will allow us to sit upon His throne, even as He has overcome and is seated with His Father on His throne. He has a crown, and He gives us crowns too. He has a throne, but He is not content with having a throne to Himself; on His right hand there must be His queen, dressed in fine gold. He cannot be glorified without His bride.

Look up, believer, to Jesus now. Let the eye of your faith see Him with many crowns upon His head; and remember that one day you will be like Him, when you will see Him as He is. You shall not be as great as He is, you will not be as divine; but you will, in some measure, share the same honors and enjoy the same happiness and the same dignity that He possesses. Be content to live unknown for a little while and to walk your weary way through the fields of poverty or up the hills of affliction; for soon enough you will reign with Christ, for He has “made [us] a kingdom and priests to our God,” and we shall reign forever and ever.1

What a wonderful thought for the children of God! We have Christ for our glorious representative in heaven’s courts right now, and soon He will come and receive us to Himself, to be with Him there, to see His glory and to share His joy.


1Revelation 5:10

April 21, 2011 – Stanley

Christ’s Last Supper     EXODUS 12:1-39

The Last Supper, which took place hours before the Lord’s crucifixion—was a Seder (Passover observance). Previously, the feast’s symbols had only pointed back to the Hebrews’ redemption from Egypt. But that Thursday night, Jesus revealed the messianic significance of two symbols: bread and wine.

In a Seder, a cloth bag with separate compartments holds three sheets of matzoh, or unleavened bread. The middle matzoh is removed and split. One half is broken and distributed; the other is wrapped in a napkin, hidden, and bought back after it is found.

Breaking the bread, Jesus said, “Take, eat; this is My body” (Matt. 26:26). In Scripture, leaven symbolizes sin, so bread without yeast represents holy God. In the divided bag, matzohs are unified yet distinct—a picture of the Trinity. The middle bread signifies the Son, who left His Father’s side to dwell among us (Gal. 4:4) and was broken for mankind (Isa. 53:5), wrapped in a burial cloth (Matt. 27:59), hidden in a tomb (v. 60), and resurrected (28:6). Our redemption was, indeed, costly (1 Cor. 6:20).

Wine, the other symbol Jesus highlighted, is poured four times at a Seder. Scholars believe it is the third cup—known as the cup of redemption—that He called “My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26:27-28).

When speaking about Jesus, follow His example of meeting people where they are in their understanding and then leading them to deeper awareness. And as you next take Communion, look back on what Christ did for you, look forward to His return, and remember He is our Passover (1 Cor. 5:7)

April 21, 2011 – Begg

I know that my redeemer lives.

Job 19:25

The essence of Job’s comfort lies in the little word “my”–“my Redeemer”–and in the fact that the Redeemer lives. Oh, to get hold of a living Christ. We must get a share in Him before we can enjoy Him. What is gold to me while it is still in the mine? It is gold in my possession that will satisfy my necessities by purchasing the things I need. So a Redeemer who does not redeem me, an avenger who will never stand up for my blood, what benefit is there in that?

Do not rest content until by faith you can say, “Yes, I cast myself upon my living Lord; and He is mine.” You may hold Him with a feeble hand and half think it presumption to say, “He lives as my Redeemer.” But remember, if you have faith even as a grain of mustard seed, that little faith entitles you to say it.

But there is also another word here, which expresses Job’s strong confidence: “I know.” To say, “I hope so, I trust so” is comfortable, and there are thousands in the fold of Jesus who hardly ever get much further. But to reach the essence of consolation you must say, “I know.” Ifs, buts, and maybes are sure destroyers of peace and comfort. Doubts are dreary things in times of sorrow. Like wasps they sting the soul! If I have any suspicion that Christ is not mine, then there is vinegar mingled with the gall of death. But if I know that Jesus lives for me, then darkness is not dark: Even the night is light about me.

Surely if Job, in those ages before the coming of Christ, could say, “I know,” we should not speak less positively. God forbid that our positiveness should be presumption. Let us make sure that our evidences are right, in case we build upon an ungrounded hope; and then let us not be satisfied with the mere foundation, for it is from the upstairs rooms that we get the panoramic views. A living Redeemer, truly mine, is unspeakable joy

April 20, 2011 – Stanley

Prepared for Betrayal     LUKE 22:1-13

We’ve all experienced or witnessed betrayal at some point. And no example in the Bible illustrates the pain, guilt, and shame caused by that sin more clearly than the story of Judas.

Chosen as one of the twelve, Judas was privileged. John 12:6 says that he was even granted the responsibility of maintaining the disciples’ money box. But that same verse reveals an important truth about Judas–he was a thief.

John indicates greed was Judas’ weakness. After Mary had anointed the Lord’s feet, Judas complained, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?” (v. 5). The following verse, however, clarifies that he wanted the money only for himself. One can safely assume that if Judas had reached the point of stealing cash from Jesus’ supply, then his greed had gone unchecked for some time. That hidden sin was all Satan needed to interfere with his life. And once the Enemy stepped in, the disciple began “seeking a good opportunity” to betray Jesus (Luke 22:6).

First Peter 5:8 says the Devil is like a “roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” And in Judas, Satan found a willing victim. If we’re honest with ourselves, each of us has a natural tendency toward sin.

Daily communion with God keeps hidden sins from becoming greater problems. Left unchecked, the “roaring lion” will also come after us, no matter what our weakness may be. Ask the Lord to reveal any sins you need to confess. Deal with them today–don’t let sin lead you down the path of Judas

April 20, 2011- Begg

Not Far From Home

. . . That through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death.

Hebrews 2:14

Child of God, death has lost its sting, because the devil’s power over it is destroyed. Stop fearing death! Ask God the Holy Spirit to grant you an intimate knowledge and a firm belief in your Redeemer’s death, so that you may be strengthened for that journey. Living near the cross of Calvary, you may learn to think of death with pleasure and welcome it when it comes with intense delight. It is blessed to die in the Lord: It is a covenant blessing to sleep in Jesus. Death is no longer banishment; it is a return from exile, a going home to the many mansions where the loved ones are already living. The distance between glorified spirits in heaven and militant saints on earth seems great; but it is not.

We are not far from home–a moment will bring us there. The sail is spread; the soul is launched upon the deep. How long will its voyage be? How many weary winds must beat upon the sail before it shall be berthed in the port of peace? How long shall that soul be buffeted on the waves before it comes to that sea that knows no storm? Listen to the answer: “away from the body and at home with the Lord.”1 The ship has just departed, but it is already at its destination. It simply spread its sail, and it was there. Like that ship of old upon the Lake of Galilee, a storm had tossed it, but Jesus said, “Peace, be still,” and immediately it came to land. Do not think that a long period intervenes between the instant of death and the eternity of glory. When the eyes close on earth, they open in heaven. The chariots of fire are not an instant on the road.

So child of God, what is there for you to fear in death, seeing that through the death of your Lord Jesus its curse and sting are destroyed? And now it is like a Jacob’s ladder with its base in a dark grave, but with its top reaching to everlasting glory.

12 Corinthians 5:8

April 19, 2011 – Stanley

Anointed for Burial     JOHN 12:1-8Imagine this scene. A woman walks into the annual church rummage sale with a beautiful collection of designer clothes worth thousands of dollars. She says, “I want to give this clothing to the Lord.” Then, as people nod in agreement, she drops the items on the floor and sets fire to them.

You would probably think, What a waste! That’s how the disciples reacted when Mary of Bethany anointed Jesus’ feet with an entire bottle of perfume. For almost three years, the disciples had lived on the donations of wealthy women and other generous people. And this particular bottle was worth about a year’s wages for a rural worker. Proceeds from its sale could have supplied the needs of Christ and His followers for weeks.

Judas spoke up, criticizing the apparent waste, and the other disciples joined in scolding Mary. But her liberal use of the fragrance wasn’t a mistake. Jesus explained, “When she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial” (Matt. 26:12). By using the entire jar at once, Mary released an aroma so overpowering that it filled the whole house (John 12:3). Every breath the guests took reminded them of her extravagant, seemingly imprudent gift.

From Mary’s day until now, the call of God has always inspired His followers to act in ways that others don’t understand. In doing so, we release the fragrance of Christ to everyone we encounter (2 Cor. 2:15). What has God called you to do as an expression of your devotion and love for Him?

April 19, 2011 – Begg

Torn in Two

And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

Matthew 27:51

No small miracle was performed in the tearing of so strong and thick a curtain; but it was not intended merely as a display of power–many lessons were contained in it.

The old law of ordinances was put away and, like a worn-out garment, torn and set aside. When Jesus died, the sacrifices were all finished, because they were fulfilled in Him; and therefore the place of sacrifice, the temple, was marked with a clear sign of this change.

With the curtain torn, all the hidden things of the old dispensation became apparent: The mercy-seat could now be seen, and the glory of God gleaming above it. By the death of our Lord Jesus we have a clear revelation of God, for He was “not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face.”1 Life and immortality are now brought to light, and things that have been hidden since the foundation of the world are displayed in Him.

The annual ceremony of atonement was also abolished. The atoning blood that once every year was sprinkled inside the curtain was now offered once for all by the great High Priest, and therefore the place of the symbolical rite was finished. No blood of bullocks or of lambs is needed now, for Jesus has entered inside the curtain with his own blood.

Therefore access to God is now permitted and is the privilege of every believer in Christ Jesus. It is not just a small opening through which we may peer at the mercy-seat, but the tear reaches from the top to the bottom. We may come with boldness to the throne of heavenly grace.

Is it wrong to suggest that the opening of the Holy of Holies in this marvelous manner by our Lord’s expiring cry was signifying the opening of the gates of paradise to all the saints by virtue of the Passion? Our bleeding Lord has the key of heaven; He opens and no man shuts; let us enter in with Him to the heavenly places and sit with Him there until our common enemies shall be made His footstool.


12 Corinthians 3:13

April 18, 2011 – Stanley

Cleansing the Temple    MATTHEW 21:12-17

For the disciples, Palm Sunday must have felt like a dream. As they followed Jesus into the temple grounds, their voices would have been drowned out by the clamor.

The Court of Gentiles, the only area that non-Jews could enter, had become an open-air market. The Teacher and His followers pushed through the hordes of customers haggling with merchants and shouting to be heard over livestock and doves used for sacrifices. Other pilgrims crowded around money changers’ tables, protesting unfair rates of exchange for the temple currency.

Jesus had seen enough. He stormed through the court, upending tables, overturning traders’ chairs, and driving animals toward the gate, past a throng of people scrambling for scattered money. Finally, He blocked the way so merchandise couldn’t be carried through the temple (Mark 11:16).

The disciples must have been astounded. They expected the Messiah to judge their oppressors, not His own people and their temple. Finally, Jesus shouted above the din and reminded them of a scripture they’d apparently forgotten. “Is it not written,” He cried, “‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a robbers’ den” (v. 17). The crowd was amazed. But the religious leaders were offended and began to plan His death (v. 18).

Jesus’ actions in the temple emphasized how extravagant the offer of salvation is. He showed that no one should restrain or interfere with those God calls to be saved. This week, consider people you know who need the eternal life Jesus promises. How can you help clear the way for them to worship?

April 18, 2011 – Begg

Follow Rahab’s Example

She tied the scarlet cord in the window.

Joshua 2:21

Rahab depended for her preservation upon the promise of the spies, whom she regarded as the representatives of the God of Israel. Her faith was simple and firm, but it was very obedient. To tie the scarlet cord in the window was a very trivial act in itself, but she dared not run the risk of omitting it.

Come, my soul, is there not here a lesson for you? Have you been attentive to all your Lord’s will, even though some of His commands should seem nonessential? Have you observed in His own way the two ordinances of believers’ baptism and the Lord’s Supper? To neglect these is to display the unloving disobedience in your heart. From now on be blameless in everything, even the tying of a thread, if that is what’s commanded.

This act of Rahab provides an even more solemn lesson. Have I implicitly trusted in the precious blood of Jesus? Have I tied the scarlet cord, with an intricate knot in my window, so that my trust can never be removed? Or can I look out toward the Dead Sea of my sins or the Jerusalem of my hopes without seeing the blood and seeing all things in connection with its blessed power?

The passer-by can see a cord of such a conspicuous color if it hangs from the window: It will be good for me if my life makes the efficacy of the atonement conspicuous to all onlookers. What is there to be ashamed of? Let men or devils gaze if they want, the blood is my boast and my song.

My soul, there is One who will see that scarlet cord, even when because your faith is weak you cannot see it yourself; Jehovah, the Avenger, will see it and pass over you. Jericho’s walls fell flat: Rahab’s house was on the wall, and yet it stood undisturbed. My nature is built into the wall of humanity, and yet when destruction smites the race, I will be secure. My soul, tie the scarlet cord in the window again, and rest in peace.

April 16, 2011 – Stanley

Palm Sunday     LUKE 19:28-44

Yet while we are in a particular situation, we tend to make things out to be what they aren’t and infer wrong meanings. We kick ourselves, thinking, If only I had known then what I know now!

Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem must have been one of those moments for His disciples. It had appeared to be such a wonderful day for them—and it was, but for different reasons than they realized. They thought the Messiah had come to reestablish Israel’s power in the world. But God had something else in mind.

The disciples weren’t the only ones who had misconceptions about the Messiah. Many Jews of the day expected Him to be an earthly king. When the crowds heard Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they cheered, “Hosanna! ” which means, “Save now!” They saw Him as their new King, come to bring salvation from political and societal oppression. He raised the dead–no doubt he could also restore the kingdom of David and free them from Roman rule.

Seated upon a donkey, Jesus resembled a ruler returning to his city in peacetime, loyal subjects lining his path with coats and palm fronds. Even the Pharisees were there watching in indignation, saying, “Look, the world has gone after Him” (John 12:19).

This week, think back to those times when circumstances looked one way but turned out to be something else entirely. Remember when you realized God was different than you imagined and saw His will unfold in surprising ways. Look for an opportunity to share your insight with a friend or loved one.

April 16, 2011 – Begg

Precious Blood!

. . . The precious blood of Christ.

1 Peter 1:19

Standing at the foot of the cross, we see hands and feet and side all distilling crimson streams of “precious blood.” It is “precious” because of its redeeming and atoning efficacy. By it the sins of Christ’s people are atoned for; they are redeemed from under the law; they are reconciled to God, made one with Him.

Christ’s blood is also “precious” in its cleansing power; it cleanses from all sin. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”1 Through Jesus’ blood there is not a spot left upon any believer; no wrinkle nor any such thing remains. O precious blood that makes us clean, removing the stains of our iniquity and permitting us to stand accepted in the Beloved despite the many ways in which we have rebelled against our God.

The blood of Christ is also “precious” in its preserving power. We are safe from the destroying angel under the sprinkled blood. Remember, it is God’s seeing the blood that is the true reason for our being spared. Here is comfort for us when the eye of faith is dim, for God’s eye is still the same. The blood of Christ is “precious” also in its sanctifying influence

. The same blood that justifies by taking away sin also quickens the new nature and leads it onward to subdue sin and to obey the commands of God. There is no greater motive for holiness than that which streams from the veins of Jesus. And “precious,” unspeakably precious, is this blood because it has an overcoming power. It is written, “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb.”2 How could they do otherwise? He who fights with the precious blood of Jesus fights with a weapon that cannot know defeat.

The blood of Jesus! Sin dies at its presence; death ceases to be death: Heaven’s gates are opened. The blood of Jesus! We shall march on, conquering and to conquer, so long as we can trust its power!


1Isaiah 1:18 2Revelation 12:11

April 15, 2011 – Stanley

How to Seek the Lord     PSALM 105:1-8

Although Scripture tells us to seek the Lord, many Christians struggle with this command. Some are so distracted by other interests and responsibilities that God is only a miniscule part of their goals and desires in life. When confronted with their responsibility to pursue Him, they often feel guilty but don’t know how to begin.

When desire for God surpasses our eagerness for other pursuits, following through becomes much more likely. But hunger for the Lord is an acquired taste. The more we pursue Him, the greater our hunger will be. However, if we ignore Him, what little appetite we have will diminish even further. Do you find that the latter describes your experience? Then ask the Lord to whet your appetite for Him—and follow through by making the effort to seek Him.

Begin with the Scriptures and prayer. Set aside time each day for meditating on God’s Word—listen for His voice, slowly digest what you read, talk to the Lord, ask Him questions, and apply what you learn to your life. Begin studying the Bible. Some of you may say, “I’ve never been into that.” My advice: Get into it! The deep things of God don’t just drop into our brains; they are placed there through diligent study.

Seeking anything requires time and effort. Will you invest your life in the pursuit of the Eternal One—the source of all contentment, joy, and hope? Or will you go after that which is fleeting? By neglecting the Lord, you cheat yourself of all the benefits He promises to those who diligently seek Him.

April 15, 2011 – Begg

Has He Forsaken You?

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Psalms 22:1

Here we view the Savior in the depth of His sorrows. No other place displays the griefs of Christ like this, and no other moment at Calvary is so full of agony as when His cry rends the air–“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” At this moment physical weakness was united with acute mental torture from the shame and ignominy through which He had to pass; His grief culminated in suffering the spiritual agony beyond all telling that resulted from the departure of His Father’s presence. This was the black midnight of His horror–when He descended the abyss of suffering.

No man can enter into the full meaning of these words. Some of us think at times that we could cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” There are seasons when the brightness of our Father’s smile is eclipsed by clouds and darkness; but let us remember that God never really does forsake us. It is only a seeming forsaking with us, but in Christ’s case it was a real forsaking. We grieve at a little withdrawal of our Father’s love; but the real turning away of God’s face from His Son–who can calculate how deep the agony that caused Him?

In our case, our cry is often dictated by unbelief: In His case, it was the utterance of a dreadful fact, for God had really turned away from Him for a season. Poor, distressed soul who once lived in the sunshine of God’s face but now in darkness, remember that He has not really forsaken you. God in the clouds is as much our God as when He shines forth in all the beauty of His grace; but since even the thought that He has forsaken us gives us agony, what must the suffering of the Savior have been when He exclaimed, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

April 14, 2011 – Stanley

The Value of Seeking the Lord PSALM 119:1-8

We all have ambitions and desires. And while these are not necessarily wrong, we should analyze our priorities: Where do I invest my time and energy? What or who occupies my thoughts? As important as our earthly pursuits, responsibilities, and relationships may be, they cannot compare to the value of a life spent seeking the Lord.

First of all, consider what it means to seek something. The word connotes a strong desire and an energetic quest to achieve it. Suppose you discovered a very productive vein of gold on your property. You wouldn’t just stroll out and look at it occasionally. No, you would gather some equipment and diligently go out each day to chip away at the rocks and collect the precious metal.

In the same way, seeking the Lord is not a quick and occasional encounter, but a wholehearted effort to know Him more intimately and follow Him more closely. Those who unreservedly pursue this kind of fellowship with God are determined to spend time with Him; they also want to forsake anything that could hinder growth in their relationship with the Lord. God’s committed followers boldly claim His promises and trust Him to fulfill His Word. Their experiences with the Lord bring amazing satisfaction yet cause them to hunger for more of Him.

The Christian life is meant to be a pursuit of God. To walk through the door of salvation and stand still, never drawing any closer to Him, is to miss the treasures that are available in Christ. Those who seek Him soon discover that knowing Him is the greatest reward of all.

April 14, 2011 – Begg

Even in the Face of Mockery

All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads.

Psalms 22:7

Mockery was a large factor in our Lord’s suffering. Judas mocked Him in the garden; the chief priests and scribes laughed Him to scorn; Herod set Him at nothing; the servants and the soldiers jeered at Him and brutally insulted Him; Pilate and his guards ridiculed His royalty; and on the tree all sorts of horrible jibes and hideous taunts were hurled at Him.Ridicule is always hard to bear, but when we are in intense pain it is so heartless, so cruel, that it cuts us to the quick. Consider the Savior crucified, racked with anguish far beyond anything we can imagine, and then picture that motley multitude, all wagging their heads or making mouths in bitter contempt of the poor suffering victim! Surely there must have been something more in the Crucified One than they could see, or else such a great and mingled crowd would not have unanimously “honored” Him with such contempt. Was it not evil confessing, in the very moment of its greatest apparent triumph, that after all it could do no more than mock at that victorious goodness that was then reigning on the cross?

O Jesus, “despised and rejected by men,”1 how could You die for men who treated You so badly? Here is amazing love, love divine, love beyond degree. We despised You in our pre-converted days, and even since our new birth we have given the world a place in our hearts, and yet You bled to heal our wounds and died to give us life. O that we could set You on a glorious high throne in all men’s hearts! We would ring out Your praises over land and sea until men would universally adore you just as they once unanimously rejected You.

Your creatures wrong Thee, O sovereign Good!
You are not loved, because not understood:
This grieves me most, that vain pursuits beguile
Ungrateful men, regardless of Thy smile.

1Isaiah 53:3

April 13, 2011 – Stanley

Jesus Is Alive and Active HEBREWS 10:10-14

Have you ever wondered what Jesus is doing, now that He has ascended to heaven? Our Scripture passage tells us that after offering Himself as a sacrifice for our sins, He sat down at the right hand of God. Verse 13 might lead us to believe He is simply sitting up there waiting for the time when He comes back to rule and reign on earth. But when we consider other passages, we soon realize He is quite active on our behalf.

First of all, even though the Son is with the Father in heaven, He is also residing within every believer in the person of the Holy Spirit, whom He sent to be in us and with us (John 15:26; Rom. 8:9-10). Christ is actively working within you to shape your character and empower your obedience.

Next, Jesus lives to intercede for those who believe in Him (Heb. 7:25). He makes requests on our behalf and brings our prayers before the Father.

Then, we see in 1 John 2:1-2 that Jesus is our Advocate when we sin. Positioned between us and holy God, Christ declares our righteous standing because of His sacrifice and our faith in Him.

What’s more, Christ is preparing a place for us in heaven (John 14:1-3). He is also arranging all the events necessary for His return.

Jesus is busy in heaven carrying out the Father’s will. And we, as His followers, should be doing the same thing. He saved us for the purpose of reflecting His life in our work, attitudes, words, and behavior. We are His body—His eyes, ears, voice, feet, and hands—pointing others to Him.

April 13, 2011 – Begg

Why a “Sachet of Myrrh”?

My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh.

Song of Songs 1:13

Myrrh may well be chosen to typify Jesus because of its preciousness, its perfume, its pleasantness, its healing, preserving, disinfecting qualities, and its connection with sacrifice. But why is He compared to “a sachet of myrrh”?First, because it speaks of plenty. He is not a drop of it–He is a basketful. He is not a sprig or flower of it, but a whole bundle. There is enough in Christ for all my needs; do not let me be slow to avail myself of Him.

Our well-beloved is compared to a “sachet,” again, for variety, for there is in Christ not only the one thing needful, but “in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily”;1 everything needful is in Him. Consider the numerous aspects of Christ, and you will see a marvelous variety–Prophet, Priest, King, Husband, Friend, Shepherd. Consider Him in His life, death, resurrection, ascension, second coming; view Him in His virtue, gentleness, courage, self-denial, love, faithfulness, truth, righteousness–everywhere He is a sachet of preciousness.

He is a “sachet of myrrh” for preservation–not loose myrrh tied up, but myrrh to be stored in a container. We must value Him as our best treasure; we must prize His words and His ordinances; and we must keep our thoughts of Him and our knowledge of Him as under lock and key, in case the devil should steal anything from us.

Furthermore, Jesus is a “sachet of myrrh” for specialty. The emblem suggests the idea of distinguishing, discriminating grace. From before the foundation of the world, He was set apart for His people; and He gives His perfume only to those who understand how to enter into communion with Him, to have close dealings with Him–blessed people whom the Lord has admitted into His secrets, and for whom He sets Himself apart.

Choice and happy are those who can say, “My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh.”
1Colossians 2:9

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