Messiah’s Joy Amidst Calvary’s Grief #1

Friday, April 3, 2015

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2 KJV).

Do you ever wonder what our Lord Jesus Christ was thinking about while He hung there on Calvary’s cross?

Psalm 22:1-21 provides us with a glimpse of Jesus’ thoughts as He endured that awful crucifixion: He is greatly tormented physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Various verses in Psalm 69 provide additional insight, especially as death begins to close in on His soul. Written about 1000 B.C., these and other “Messianic psalms” graphically describe assorted events in our Lord’s earthly life (in this case, His crucifixion)… centuries before they occurred!

What Jesus Christ thought about while suspended on Calvary’s cross was the Holy Scriptures. He had faith in the Old Testament passages that applied to Him. No matter what happened to Him, He knew it was His Father’s will, and His Father would be glorified. As He stated earlier, “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup [of Thy wrath; Revelation 14:10] from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt (Mark 14:36). “…The Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him (John 8:29bc).

Do you realize what today’s Scripture is saying? Jesus Christ felt immense physiological and spiritual pain, but He thought about the overall view: for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame” (cf. Psalm 16:8-11). Yes, the Old Testament spoke of His suffering, and those Scriptures must be fulfilled, but it also testified of His glorious kingdom that would follow, and those Scriptures also were to be fulfilled in due time! “…The sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11). While it did not diminish the extent of His distress and suffering, Jesus Christ kept in memory the glory His Father would give Him once He had endured the crucifixion (Philippians 2:8-11). It gave Him such joy. He felt grief unspeakable, but He also had joy unfathomable!

Please check out our archived Bible Q&A: “Are Christians obligated to observe Passover?

In Evil Long I Took Delight #5

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24 KJV).

The fifth verse of John Newton’s classic 1779 hymn “In Evil Long I Took Delight” highlights today’s Scripture.

“A second look He gave, which said,
‘I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid;
I die that thou mayst live.’”

Our God-given conscience makes us aware of our daily sins (Romans 2:13-15). We also know that there is a Creator God whom we will face in judgment (Romans 1:17-20). What will we do with those sins when we stand before Him? Can we open our wallets and purses and pay off God? Would He let us into His heaven if we simply showed Him our church-membership card, or our baptism record, or our confirmation certificate, or our annual-giving receipt? Religious people have been taught, “Yes!” If they can just give God something good, they assume that He will be happy with them and give them the grace to do good and make up for their wrongs.

Saul of Tarsus learned all about the “value” (nothing!) of his religious performance before God: “[8] Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, [9] And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” (Philippians 3:8,9).

What are religious works before God? “Dung!” (How “flattering”—activity not done by faith in God’s Word to us is likened to waste product!) What are our righteousnesses before God? “As filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6)! God offers His forgiveness to us “freely by his grace” (absolutely no cost to us) because we have nothing with which to pay our sin debt (today’s Scripture). Jesus shed His sinless blood and died that we might be free from sin, redeemed, bought out of the slave market of sin. He shed His sinless blood and died, that we might truly live to not delight in evil….

At Calvary #2

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

“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 3:20 KJV).

The second verse of William R. Newell’s classic 1895 hymn “At Calvary” highlights today’s Scripture.

By God’s Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned
To Calvary.

It is by God’s Word—specifically, the Law (the Ten Commandments)—that we learn what sin is (today’s Scripture). “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression [or “overstepping”] of the law” (1 John 3:4). The Bible says in 1 Timothy 1:8-11: “But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”

Read today’s Scripture with the previous verse: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them 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 shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:19,20).

Romans 3:21,22 gives us the solution to our sin problem: “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.” Jesus Christ shed His sinless blood to pay for our sins, and by faith in that alone, God’s righteousness would be given us, and our guilt and shame of disobeying God’s Law would be imputed to Christ!

Having the Zeal of the LORD

Sunday, May 25, 2014

“And the disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up” (John 2:17 KJV).

May we rely on our Lord Jesus Christ, that His zeal may always consume us as it does Him!

A Christian emailed me, replying to our March/April devotionals arc, “A Heart Transplant for Israel:”

“Excellent study! Can’t help but think about today’s Christian. Those that have trusted Christ have indeed had ‘heart surgery’. But there are some who could use a stint or bypass to get the blood flow healthy again. Sadly many have lost their zeal for The Lord & have forfeited Godly joy, peace, & contentment for the lies of this world.”

Indeed, today’s lukewarm Christianity is in trouble (especially younger generations such as mine). Unfortunately, many Christians have surrendered: they are tired of the opposition and criticism, and have failed to pass on God’s Word to younger Christians (cf. 2 Timothy 2:1-4). While this world is most certainly hopeless—it is headed for the seven-year Tribulation!—we Christians need not cower in fear. Beloved, the mighty Holy Spirit of God worked in and through the Lord Jesus Christ, and He will unquestionably work in and through us just as mightily if we take the time to study and believe our King James Bibles rightly divided (1 Thessalonians 2:13)!

Jesus Christ had become so consumed with, so passionate about, God the Father’s will, that He was delighted beyond words. The verse previous to today’s Scripture says, “And [Jesus] said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise” (verse 16). The apostles remembered Psalm 69:9, a Messianic Psalm that Jesus had just fulfilled (“For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up”). God purposed His Temple to be His dwelling-place, not some marketplace where people overcharged and swindled others in His name. So, Jesus cleansed the Temple, literally running out these thieves using a whip (John 2:15)!

Beloved, may we rely on Jesus Christ’s faithfulness, to have His zeal to proclaim His message of grace to this lost and dying world, and to be “zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14)! 🙂

Heart Service #6

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you” (Romans 6:17 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is the key to being delivered from and guarded against today’s apostate Christendom.

When he wrote Romans (circa Acts chapter 20), Paul had never visited the saints in Rome (he was imprisoned there years later in Acts chapter 28). One or more of his ministry coworkers, perhaps Aquila and his wife Priscilla (Acts 18:2; cf. Romans 16:3-5), had shared the Gospel of the Grace of God with these pagan Romans.

Paul rejoiced when he heard about the Romans’ salvation, their trusting in the finished crosswork of Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for their sins, their forsaking of worthless idols and vain religion. He yearned to visit them but was hindered; he was forced to write this epistle to them instead (Romans 1:8-15). Thank God He had Paul write to the Romans instead, or we would not have this wonderful, simple book of grace doctrine to study today!

After discussing our new identity in Christ (Romans chapters 1-5), Paul proceeded to ask in Romans 6:1,2: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Our position in Christ has permanently made us dead to sin, that nature we inherited from Adam. Saints, sin is not who we are anymore. “Likewise reckon [conclude] ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (verse 11).

In today’s Scripture, Paul reminded the Romans how they were saved unto eternal life, received forgiveness of sins, had a home reserved in heaven. They heard some sound Bible doctrine—the Gospel of God’s Grace, everything that God did for them in Christ at Calvary’s cross—and they believed it in their hearts. The Apostle made it clear that their salvation from daily sins (the context of Romans chapters 6-8) would operate in the same manner. It would be Jesus Christ’s resurrection life, His power, His righteousness, His strength, His faith, His work. Him, Him, Him, not them, them, them!

NOTE: We will briefly suspend this devotionals arc. Stay turned!

Messiah’s Joy Amidst Calvary’s Grief #2

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God(Hebrews 12:2 KJV).

Do you ever wonder what our Lord Jesus Christ was thinking about while He hung there on Calvary’s cross?

Jesus knew Bible prophecy had to be fulfilled: He had to suffer in accordance with the Old Testament prophets. Even when He spoke seven times from the cross, He quoted various Old Testament verses. The Old Testament prophets also gave Him comfort: for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (today’s Scripture).

For instance, He remembered that Jonah’s prophecy had to be fulfilled: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). On the third day, He would live again, and be reunited with His heavenly Father!

He knew that His Father would resurrect Him. His spiritual torment and physical death were only temporarily, as David quoted Jesus 1000 B.C., “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:10; cf. Acts 2:24-31).

Our Lord thought of reigning over that glorious kingdom that His Heavenly Father would give Him after His resurrection. As the psalmist wrote centuries before Calvary’s crosswork, “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Psalm 2:6-8). “Begotten” refers to Jesus’ resurrection, not His nativity in Bethlehem (Acts 13:33,34).

Jesus Christ, during His torturous crucifixion, thought about and rejoiced in the promises in the Scriptures that applied to Him. Likewise, we, during difficult circumstances, can remember and rejoice in God’s promises to us—Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.

We too can share Messiah’s joy amidst grief! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should Christians celebrate Easter?

Messiah’s Joy Amidst Calvary’s Grief #1

Friday, April 18, 2014

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God(Hebrews 12:2 KJV).

Do you ever wonder what our Lord Jesus Christ was thinking about while He hung there on Calvary’s cross?

Psalm 22:1-21 provides us with a glimpse of Jesus’ thoughts as He endured that awful crucifixion: He is greatly tormented physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Various verses in Psalm 69 provide additional insight, especially as death begins to close in on His soul. Written about 1000 B.C., these and other “Messianic psalms” graphically describe assorted events in our Lord’s earthly life (in this case, His crucifixion)… centuries before they occurred!

What Jesus Christ thought about while suspended on Calvary’s cross was the Holy Scriptures. He had faith in the Old Testament passages that applied to Him. No matter what happened to Him, He knew it was His Father’s will, and His Father would be glorified. As He stated earlier, “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup [of Thy wrath; Revelation 14:10] from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt (Mark 14:36). “…The Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him (John 8:29bc).

Do you realize what today’s Scripture is saying? Jesus Christ felt immense physiological and spiritual pain, but He thought about the overall view: for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame” (cf. Psalm 16:8-11). Yes, the Old Testament spoke of His suffering, and those Scriptures must be fulfilled, but it also testified of His glorious kingdom that would follow, and those Scriptures also were to be fulfilled in due time! “…The sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11). While it did not diminish the extent of His distress and suffering, Jesus Christ kept in memory the glory His Father would give Him once He had endured the crucifixion (Philippians 2:8-11). It gave Him such joy. He felt grief unspeakable, but He also had joy unfathomable!