Excruciating Thursday

Thursday, April 14, 2022

[Reader discretion advised: Christ’s sufferings are graphically described below.]

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9 KJV).

His three years of earthly ministry have expired, but His greatest work is yet to come!

During the all-night interrogation in the “kangaroo court,” His sentence is passed—execution by crucifixion. They have scourged, beaten, and punched Him. Covered in their spit, they laugh at Him, and strike His head with a rod to force on the crown of thorns. His back shredded, His skull possibly fractured, His beard ripped off. His massive blood loss weakens Him further. Having been stripped of His clothing, He struggles to carry His heavy cross to Mount Calvary: Simon must carry His cross for Him. The crowds watch Him, laughing and jeering. His little flock looks on in total shock.

They lay Him on the wooden cross, yanking His limbs to nail them in place. His bones unbroken, but exposed, and His limbs dislocated. They pierce His hands and feet with long spikes, severing the median nerve in the hands, causing permanent hand paralysis. They raise up that cross, and He hangs, slowly suffocating due to His own weight. Every breath becomes increasingly difficult, His lungs fill with fluid, His heart becomes progressively strained. Eventually, He cannot breathe, and thus dies.

Now imagine His spiritual suffering. Three hours into His crucifixion, His heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost have abandoned Him. For the first time ever, He is totally alone. Physical and spiritual darkness now cover the earth. The weight of all the world’s sin and sins of all time crushes His soul. God’s undiluted wrath falls upon Him, as it does on those suffering in hellfire. He cries out in agony. Hanging on that cruel cross, with His spiritual eyes, He observes Satan himself and all his evil creatures snickering and cheering. He looks out to see His disciples staring at His helpless disfigured body. Oh, if only they knew how His physical and spiritual bodies were being tormented, utterly tortured beyond imagination!

After six hours of excruciating pain, He finally lets Himself die….

Please check out our archived Bible Q&A: “Was Jesus Christ really crucified on Friday?

Two Sons and Two Fathers

Saturday, April 9, 2022

“And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:” (Luke 23:18 KJV).

One son will be liberated to live, and the other Son will be sentenced to die!

At the time of Christ’s trial, Barabbas is a prisoner (Matthew 27:16). Barabbas is a murderer, a robber, and guilty of “insurrection,” or rebelling against the government (Mark 15:7; Luke 23:18,19; John 18:40).

It is Passover. Roman governor Pontius Pilate has a custom that, at the feast, he releases a prisoner, whomever the people desire (Matthew 27:15; Mark 15:6). “But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified” (Matthew 27:20-22).

Israel’s chief priests, rulers, and common people all demand Christ’s crucifixion and Barabbas’ release, so Pilate gives the sentence (Luke 23:23-25). Guilty Barabbas is set free to live, and innocent Jesus Christ is condemned to be crucified. While Barabbas’ involvement in the matter seems insignificant upon first glance, God included it in His written Word because to provide us with an amazing illustration!

“Barabbas” means “son of the father.” Barabbas is a criminal, and he represents sinful, rebellious mankind who is worthy of death. He is bound by sin, and faces eternal death. Spiritually, sinful mankind is the son of Satan—man is of his father the devil (John 8:44). Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, God, “knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21), but took upon Himself our sins and was punished in our place.

Innocent Jesus Christ took the place of guilty Barabbas, which actually represented Christ taking the place of the whole world, suffering God’s wrath on our behalf! “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust…” (1 Peter 3:18). Thus, through Christ’s finished crosswork, we sinful sons of Adam (and Satan) can be freed from sin, and we can become the righteous sons of God.

Israel: The Miracle Nation #10

Saturday, February 12, 2022

But Sarai was barren; she had no child (Genesis 11:30 KJV).

How will the LORD God prove Israel is His miracle nation?

According to the Bible, Romans 7:12: “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” The Law of Moses is definitely God’s Word. It expresses His righteousness and our failure to be perfect. No one in his or her own strength can become God’s child or do His will. Nearly 2,000 years of Jewish history—our Old Testament Scriptures—bear record of that fact. If we choose a performance-based acceptance system, we will receive nothing but curses from God. Yet, sin deceives us, and we assume we can perform to get the blessing. Human flesh always seeks to brag, but God’s grace will never accept it!

Romans chapter 4: “[1] What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh [human efforts], hath found? [2] For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. [3] For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [4] Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. [5] But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” The Apostle Paul reaches back to Genesis 15:5, centuries before the Law of Moses was ever ratified. Here is God’s grace!

Human works, religious works, never delivered anyone from sin. The Law of Moses never saved anyone. All the Law can do is condemn, or show us we cannot do enough. It can impart no power to us to keep its rules and regulations! If sinners are to become God’s people—whether the nation Israel or the Church the Body of Christ—it will be entirely what God does on their behalf (grace!). Ultimately, it is Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork (His work, that which perfectly satisfies the Law’s righteous demands!) applied to their account as sufficient payment for their sins. The nation Israel has yet to learn this, but God will see to it that she does. In the meantime, friends, may we not be stubborn and learn it.

Israel: The Miracle Nation #9

Friday, February 11, 2022

But Sarai was barren; she had no child (Genesis 11:30 KJV).

How will the LORD God prove Israel is His miracle nation?

The Holy Spirit details how Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork will deliver the nation Israel in the ages to come. Consider the New Covenant in Hebrews 8:8-13: “For finding fault with them [law!], he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant [grace!] with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt [law!]; because they continued not in my covenant [law!], and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant [grace!] that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will [grace!] put my laws into their mind, and [I will] [grace!] write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will [grace!!!!] be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I [grace!!!!] remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”

Jeremiah 31:31-34, written 600 years before Christ, is now interpreted in light of Calvary. Israel’s sins committed under the Old Covenant—the Law of Moses—are now cancelled with the ratification of the New Covenant at Christ’s Second Coming (Hebrews 9:11-28; cf. Acts 3:19-21; Romans 11:25-29). “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;…. For by one offering he hath [grace!!!!] perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:10-12,14).

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Israel: The Miracle Nation #8

Thursday, February 10, 2022

But Sarai was barren; she had no child (Genesis 11:30 KJV).

How will the LORD God prove Israel is His miracle nation?

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them [the Jews] who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin(Romans 3:19,20). The Law of Moses was given, not to save anyone from sin, but to clearly define sin. If the “best” nation, Israel, is condemned, what hope do the world’s nations have in ever attaining God’s standard of righteousness? None! Hence, grace, not law, was the LORD’S original covenant with Israel. The Law was to teach stubborn Israel they needed a Saviour, for they could not save themselves.

Galatians chapter 3: “[18] For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. [19] Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. [20] Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. [21] Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law…. [24] Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”

Likewise, having used the Law to realize our need for the Saviour, we now receive by faith God’s blessings via His grace (what He can do for us through Christ’s finished crosswork). “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:30,31). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:…” (Ephesians 1:3).

Israel will finally learn that yet future….

Bowed Together! #8

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

“And he [the Lord Jesus] was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity” (Luke 13:10-12 KJV).

What lesson is the Holy Spirit conveying through this passage of the Holy Bible?

Recall the Sabbath Day was to serve as Israel’s weekly reminder to contemplate God’s work during the Creation Week and subsequent rest (cf. Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11). Every Saturday, the Jews were to stop their labors and remember God’s purpose and plan for Creation. Why had the LORD rested that first Sabbath? His work completed, it was time for Him to enjoy the Heavens and the Earth! Alas, sin entered the world through Adam in Genesis chapter 3. Whatever God intended for Creation has yet to be fulfilled. Israel had been formed to take Adam’s place in the Earth, but she too rebelled and willfully followed Satan!

Sabbath rest ultimately looks toward Millennial Kingdom rest, when all Creation is delivered from Satan and sin, and God’s original purpose in Creation is finally brought to pass (see Hebrews 3:7–4:11). Therefore, the Lord Jesus Christ performed a series of Sabbath miracles—including the healing of the “bowed together” woman—to highlight the deliverance connected to His earthly kingdom.

Upon hearing God’s wonderful promises to sinful Israel, Satan objects in Isaiah 49:24, “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?” Verses 25 and 26: But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour [!] and thy Redeemer [!], the mighty One of Jacob.

“And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him” (Luke 13:17).

Bowed Together! #7

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

“And he [the Lord Jesus] was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity” (Luke 13:10-12 KJV).

What lesson is the Holy Spirit conveying through this passage of the Holy Bible?

Although the disabled woman “glorified God” because of her healing (verse 13), the ruler of the synagogue “answered with indignation” (verse 14). He is angry the Lord Jesus has violated rabbinical traditions, religious rules that forbade the rendering of medical aid on the Sabbath unless in life-and-death situations. “Jesus should have cured her yesterday or tomorrow! Her condition was not urgent enough that He had to help her today!”

Verses 15 and 16: “The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?” Wow! Now there is a rebuttal involving great thought. Here these Jewish religionists would work by freeing their animals to drink water even on the Sabbath, but they had the audacity to criticize the Lord loosing a human hostage and leading her to wholesome life on the Sabbath!? Whereas they pitied beasts, they were callous toward their fellow people! Such confusion and nonsense are found among the “animal rights” activists today, with human life meaningless but animal life exalted.

Christ identified the woman’s—and Israel’s—overall problem. Through his lie program, Satan has “bound” her, made her his prisoner by placing her in shackles or chains (sin and false religion). Yet, God can and does free her: “Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.” In fact, notice she is “a daughter of Abraham” (verse 16), a Jewess. Jesus’ earthly ministry is to liberate Israel from Satanic captivity, and there is no better day than the Sabbath Day to teach such a lesson….

Bowed Together! #6

Monday, January 10, 2022

“And he [the Lord Jesus] was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity” (Luke 13:10-12 KJV).

What lesson is the Holy Spirit conveying through this passage of the Holy Bible?

Continue reading the verse following today’s Scripture: “And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.” In addition to declaring the powerful words of God—those which impart life and health—the Lord Jesus touches the infirm woman with His hands. Here are the mighty hands of the Creator at work! “Immediately,” she is recovered from the effects of sin and Satan’s evil world system. Unlike the “miracles” of modern “sideshow Christianity,” this is no gradual healing that takes hours, days, weeks, months, or years to realize. No, instantly, her chronic disability is corrected.

How do those in the synagogue respond to this miraculous demonstration? Verse 14 relates: “And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.” This caretaker of the synagogue and organizer of its services is outraged. Vaguely appealing to Exodus 20:8-11 and Genesis 2:1-3, as well as Judaistic traditions, he exclaims, “Jesus, today is the Sabbath Day, and this is to be a time of rest not work! Furthermore, as you know, according to rabbinical interpretations of these passages, medical aid is not to be rendered on the Sabbath unless in the case of life-threatening situations! You should have let her come on a non-Sabbath day to heal her! How dare you work on the Sabbath!”

Of course, hypocrisy and confusion abound in these statements of the synagogue ruler. Like his apostate nation, he has taken the position of doubt not faith. Thus, the Lord Jesus Christ cleverly answers him in a most unexpected way….

Bowed Together! #5

Sunday, January 9, 2022

“And he [the Lord Jesus] was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity” (Luke 13:10-12 KJV).

What lesson is the Holy Spirit conveying through this passage of the Holy Bible?

Luke states the “folded” woman of today’s Scripture has lived with her debilitating medical condition for “eighteen years.” The significance of this is simple. In Bible numerics, 12 represents Israel and six indicates man. Israel coupled with man’s abilities or religious efforts results in incapacity not righteousness! Whereas Israel sees herself as “okay”—lavish Jerusalem Temple, humbling ceremonies, pious rituals, complicated rites, copious amounts of rabbinical traditions, strict rules and regulations—the Lord examines her to find a dreadful sight. All He sees is perversity, crookedness, inability. In her own “strength,” she is weak, incapable of being upright, powerless to become God’s kingdom of priests in the Earth.

Thankfully, the Great Physician has not only correctly diagnosed her, He also has the cure she so desperately needs. Re-read today’s Scripture: “And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.From the lips of the Lord Jesus, the living and life-giving words of God go forth: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful…” (Hebrews 4:12). In these spoken words of the Creator, there is health for the “folded” woman—yea, Israel! Through the Divine revelation given her, her spine is restored, she straightens up, and she walks naturally for all to see!

What we have here is a lesson most plain: Israel’s justification is through the New Covenant, not the Old Covenant. She will be declared righteous or right in God’s sight, not by her reliance on her sinful flesh but by depending on the LORD imputing His own righteousness to her. Through His grace, the Lord Jesus Christ unburdens His beloved nation, doing for her what she could never do for herself….

A Saviour Who Will Save

Sunday, January 2, 2022

“…Jesus Christ of Nazareth… Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:10,12 KJV).

Today’s Scripture tells us who alone can save man from the everlasting hellfire he deserves!

A frequent objection made against Christianity is that every religion has “good” members, and to ignore them and limit heaven to a few Christians is unfair. This is a defected notion. How does one arrive at a definite conclusion when there is no one standard to gauge everyone’s “goodness?” They are “good” according to whom, according to what standard? Remember, relative morality actually does not help the sinner—he may be a “better” sinner than another, but he is also a “worse” sinner than yet another, and whether “better” or “worse,” he is still a sinner!

The God of the Bible has a simple method for determining righteousness. Today, He sees two types of people—saints and lost people. While both groups were born in sins (Ephesians 2:1-3), “shapen in iniquity [in the womb]” (Psalm 51:5), and “condemned already” (John 3:18), only the saints have come to realize their lost state. Job asked in Job 9:2, “How should a man be just [righteous, acceptable] with God?” Saints have come to the acknowledgement that they needed God’s righteousness, that they had a massive sin debt that they could never satisfy, that their “righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6), that they could never possibly make themselves right before a holy God (He is the standard; Romans 3:23). The lost people, however, do not realize they are lost, for they believe their religious works “score points” with God and make up for their sinful deeds (2 Corinthians 4:3,4). They ignore the finished crosswork of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for their sins (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

Saints have come by faith to Jesus Christ, whose name literally means, “Anointed Saviour” (cf. Psalm 2:2; Matthew 1:21). As the writer of the book of Hebrews said, “[Jesus] is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him” (7:25). Literally, no world religion has such a “Saviour” as Jesus Christ!