The closing sections of Luke and John’s gospel are rife with personal encounters and dialogues with the risen Jesus. These interactions with Jesus and Peter, the two men on the Emmaus road, the women at the tomb, and the various other interactions show the personality and humanity of Jesus. Jesus shows his sense of humor on the Emmaus road, he eats a meal with his disciples, and restores and forgives Peter.
In the midst of these interactions Jesus, as he always does, teaches. I’d like to draw our focus to what Jesus tells the two men on the Emmaus road in Luke 24.27. Luke writes, “Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, he explained to them the things concerning himself in all the scriptures”. This verse is pregnant with meaning and significance! This verse states very clearly that Jesus is the centerpiece of scripture. All roads in the Bible lead to Jesus Christ. Notice that the verse says, “Starting with Moses and the prophets.”. Moses represents the writings of the Pentateuch and the prophets represent all the major and minor prophets. Starting from those two places Jesus taught the men that the entirety of the Old Testament points toward to himself.
This teaches us that the whole of the Bible is beneficial and needed for believers. A whole Bible makes a whole Christian. For Jesus, the disciples, Paul, and the early church the Old Testament was their Bible. The New Testament is built off of the foundation of the Old Testament. Not only do we learn about Jesus in the gospels and the New Testament but in light of the New Testament we see Jesus in the Old Testament. That’s why I love and encourage Bible reading plans that take you through the whole of scripture. Jesus is the crowning Jewel of scripture. From Genesis to Lamentations to Obadiah a road to Christ can be found. Now I would warn against over reading Jesus into texts but this is where interpreting correctly is important.
The take away is Jesus can be found in all the scriptures, therefore, let us read the whole of scripture and learn of Jesus.
Today’s Bible reading passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – Luke 24 and John 20-21
Tomorrow we begin the exciting book of Acts to see what happens after Jesus’ resurrection – Acts 1-3
Why is this devotion being written? Why are you reading this devotion? Why have you experienced supernatural life change in the name of Jesus? It’s all because of what we read in today’s section of Matthew and Mark, the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel accounts give us a point of view perspective of the final moments of the Messiah’s life. Why did Jesus die? According to Jesus it’s because it was the purpose of his life (Mk. 10.33-34), Judas betrayed him, and the Jewish leadership sought out his execution.
But when we leave the gospels and enter Acts, the epistles, and the apocalypse (Revelation) new light is shed upon old truths about what happened at the cross of Christ. The rest of the New Testament, if you will, tills the soil of what we read in the gospels to reveal truths and realities bound in the death of Jesus. The cross is like a diamond when held up to the light. Depending on which way you hold the diamond the light will refract differently and reveal different aspects of the diamond. The cross is a multi-dimensional event with a number of faith-building, worship-inducing, Christ-glorifying truths and realities for the believer to soak up in the scriptures and to be consumed by the love of Jesus and the Father.
This morning we will look at three meanings of the cross:
1. Jesus died to demonstrate the righteousness of God (Romans 3.25)
According to Paul in Romans 3.25 Jesus’ death demonstrated or put on display the righteousness of God. What is the righteousness of God? The righteousness of God is God’s own holy, perfect, blameless, and just character and being. Sin is a capital offense against God. Because he is holy, just, and good he cannot allow sin and rebellion to go unpunished. If he did this, he would then be unjust and not good. When Jesus died his blood covered every past, present, and future sin. Jesus’ death satisfied the wrath of God. When we look at the cross it tells us not only how much God loves us, it also shows us how much God hates sin and the penalty for sin. The death of Jesus demonstrates God’s perfect judgement and character. The cross says God will not let sin go unpunished.
2. Jesus died to disarm the powers of Satan and darkness (Col.2.13-15)
When Jesus’ blood was shed the power that satan and darkness had over humanity was relinquished. The biggest weapon Satan and spiritual darkness can have against you is your own sin and from that, guilt, shame, and other consequences of sin. But when Jesus’ blood was shed the power and slavery that sin held over humanity was broken. The blood cancelled out our certificate of debt (list and penalty of sins) therefore, the power Satan once had was taken away. This is similar to Jesus’ teaching in Mark 3.22-27. The way Jesus conquered victoriously over the power of satan and spiritual darkness is through his death. Paul says in I Corinthians 2, that had the “the rulers of this age” (spiritual powers of darkness) had known what would have happened after Jesus died they “would not have crucified the Lord of Glory”. The death of Jesus breaks the yoke of slavery and oppression over our lives, we are rescued from the power of satan.
3. Jesus died to provide us an example to follow in our own Christian walks (I Pet. 2.21)
Jesus, though he was tried and executed unjustly, still endured the cross to save his sheep (John 10). He surrendered his privileges and his rights and humbled himself for the eternal benefit of others. Likewise, we as Christians should consider the plight of Jesus and imitate him. When we are treated unjustly and unfairly we should not return evil with evil but instead love. When we suffer for doing the right thing we ought to entrust ourselves to God as Jesus did to his Father.
When you read Matthew 27 and Mark 15 these three realities among others are present when Jesus breathed his last on the cross.
Today’s Bible reading passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here –Matthew 27 & Mark 15
Tomorrow’s reading will be Luke 23 and John 18-19.
One parable that comes up many times when you talk about forgiveness is the parable of the Unmerciful Servant. This parable demonstrates how we should forgive others no matter how big their sin is. But to understand this parable best, we have to understand to whom Jesus was teaching, why Jesus was teaching this parable, and what happened before Jesus started telling the parable.
Before Jesus taught the parable, Peter asks in Matthew 18:21 “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” To him, it probably felt like he was doing more than he needed to by forgiving others that many times. But Jesus responded that you should forgive others up to seventy times seven times.
After saying this, Jesus goes into the teaching of the parable of the Unmerciful Servant. The parable starts by telling how the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves. One of the slaves who had been brought to the king owed him ten thousand talents, which was equal to 20 years of work. Since the slave could not pay back the money, the king ordered for the slave, his family, and everything he owned to be sold. The slave pleaded with the king and asked for time to repay everything back to the king. The king then cancelled the slave’s dept in mercy towards him.
Just like the slave, we are in the debt of God. The ten thousand talents which the slave could not repay back is like our sins. We have all fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Our response to God is to ask for the forgiveness of our sins, just like what the slave did. Through mercy, God grants us that forgiveness and cancels our sins.
We are like the slave in the beginning of the parable, but we do not want to be like the slave at the end of the parable. After leaving the king’s presence, the slave finds a fellow slave who owes him a hundred denarii, and demands to be repaid. One denarius was worth one day’s wage. The fellow slave pleaded with the slave, asking for time to repay his debt. The slave, however, did not show mercy to his fellow slave and had him thrown in jail. Other slaves who were watching this unfold, went and reported to the king what they had just seen. When the king found out what had happened, he was very angry for he had shown mercy to the slave, but the slave would not show that same mercy to others. Because the slave had thrown his fellow slave in jail for owing a debt, the king threw the slave in jail for owing him debt.
This parable concludes with Jesus explaining how if we do not forgive others, God will treat us the same way. We have been shown mercy by God, deserving to be punished but instead were forgiven. In the same way, we need to show mercy and forgiveness to others who sin against us. Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” We want that forgiveness from God, and to receive it we must forgive others who sin against us. If we do not forgive others, God will not forgive us.
Saying that we forgive somebody, but not truly forgiving them in your heart, is not real forgiveness. The forgiveness towards others must come from our hearts to count. Matthew 18:35 states, “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.” In every version that I have looked at, it explicitly states that it must be from your heart.
When forgiveness comes from our hearts, we are forgiving others with no pride or desire for revenge. If we have pride or a desire for revenge, there is no true repentance or forgiveness. The slave in the parable did not have true repentance and forgiveness, which caused him to not forgive others. He had not truly repented, but was glad just to be “off the hook.”
As Ephesians 4:32 says, we need to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving towards others, just as God has forgiven us.
Kaitlyn, a middle school student from Michigan, has made the most of a wild and crazy 2020 and she is already working on her third time reading through the whole Bible this year. Way to go! Thanks for sharing with us today!
Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at BibleGateway – Matthew 18
Tomorrow’s reading will be John 7-8 as we continue on our journey through the Bible. Print your copy of our Bible Reading Plan and hop onboard! Kaitlyn will tell you there is something new to discover every time you read His Word!