Tuesday, March 20, 2018

What Sorts of Folks Got Crucified?

[Jesus said]: "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." --John 5:24

Early in Julius Caesar's political career, the people of Rome hated him so badly that he thought it best to leave his country. He sailed for the Aegean island of Rhodes, but on the way pirates attacked his ship and Caesar was captured.

The pirates demanded a ransom of 12,000 gold pieces, and Caesar's staff was sent to make the arrangements for payment. For almost 40 days, the pirates held Caesar captive.

He would jokingly tell them that he would someday capture and crucify them. The amused kidnappers dismissed his threats. But when the ransom was paid and Caesar was released, the first thing he did was gather his army together to pursue the pirates.

The pirates indeed were captured and crucified!

This was the Romans' attitude toward crucifixion. This cruel death was reserved only for the worst criminals. It was meant to show extreme contempt for the condemned. And the pain and humiliation experienced by someone crucified by the Romans was unmatched by any other.

They condemned and humiliated the person and name of Jesus thousands of years ago just as many people do today. And even though He died a lowly death, we as believers can rejoice in knowing that "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification" (Romans 4:25).

Jesus died for the sins of all--including those who beat Him and nailed Him to the cross. You may know of someone today who doesn't know Jesus. Will you be the one to tell them about the forgiveness He gives? Will you be the one who points them toward eternal life through Jesus?

PRAYER CHALLENGE: Ask the Lord to bring someone into your life this Easter who you can share the story of His death, burial, and resurrection, and the price He paid for their sins.

Monday, March 19, 2018

An Unsearchable Love

He is an unsearchable God who pours out an unsearchable love.

As I look back through the Scriptural account of history, I can see how God sent His Son to be born in a manger, grow and live among us, and die for our sins upon a cross. I can clearly see how the sacrifice of Jesus allows us, through faith, to enter into God's presence. I can even see the purpose of His humble birth as an example of humility and service. But what I don't think I will ever fully understand is why. Oh, sure, I know the reason is love; "For God so loved the world that He gave..." (John 3:16), but I seriously doubt I will ever understand the amount of love required to sacrifice so much - the amount of love He had (and has)...for me!
Paul wrote to the Romans with the intent of setting foundational beliefs for the church. In this letter, Paul presented the greatest amount of teaching found anywhere in the Bible. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote on topics ranging from sin and judgment, to faith and Salvation; from the purpose of the Law and life through the Spirit, to the sovereignty of God and the future of Israel. But toward the end of the letter, Paul paused and wrote a short prayer of praise and glory.
Romans 11:33-36

"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay Him? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen."

We get the feeling that Paul reviewed the first portion of his letter and just couldn't continue without praising the Lord. Paul had wrestled through many difficult issues and learned a valuable lesson: God is God, and sometimes this simple truth defies understanding.

God has a perfect plan where every piece fits neatly together, but there are many connections my finite mind fails to comprehend. I can't always see the purpose of my trials or the lessons I need to learn, and I get frustrated with His timing (I want to know His plan, now!). But I know His love gave everything; "He humbled Himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:8). I may not fully understand this love, but the little I know is enough to create a desire to live a life of devotion and faith. One day, all His mysteries will be perfectly revealed. Until then I will simply continue to worship and trust.

We may never fully understand, but I pray we are all drawn a little closer today. If you have never experienced His love, I pray you will release your heart into His care. If you're feeling unloved by the world, I pray you will look to Him and see a Father who gave His Son so He could hold you for all eternity. He is an unsearchable God who is glorified by pouring out, for you, an unsearchable love.

Have a Christ Centered Day!
Steve Troxel
God's Daily Word Ministries