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October 27, 2017, 5:00 AM

How has Jesus’ act on the cross influenced and impacted the way you live, love and forgive?

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons. As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.  Matthew 27:50-61


Today God reminded me just how much I have been blessed.  How you’ve been blessed, my prayer is that you would add a new item to your list. Rejoice over the fact that you know the story of God’s love and that it doesn’t end on the cross. This is an advantage those who witnessed firsthand what happened to Jesus did not possess. They were in the dark as the chaos unfolded before their very eyes. As you read today’s passage on the crucifixion of Christ did you notice how individuals reacted to the events taking place.


After mocking Him, the soldiers spit on and struck Jesus. Later they divvied out his clothing amongst each other. Simon, a random onlooker, was forced to carry Jesus’ cross.  One has to wonder what was going through Simon’s mind as he lugged the cross up the hills of Golgotha. While Jesus was near death, the crowds and chief priests hurled insult after insult in His direction.  Even the thieves hanging on the crosses next to Jesus couldn’t resist taking a jab at the vulnerable teacher.  No one could comprehend why Jesus didn’t utilize the power He possessed to free Himself from this predicament. This doesn’t even touch upon the confusion that arose after Jesus gave up His spirit. The earth shook, tombs broke open and holy people who died were raised to life.  Not being able to comprehend what they were witnessing, terror filled the hearts of those guarding Jesus’ body.


I can’t even begin to fathom what Jesus’ close friends were thinking. They had given up everything in order to follow Him and now He was gone. But, this isn’t how the story ends. Three days later Jesus conquered death by rising again. Just like those who witnessed Jesus’ death, the picture of the cross strikes a deep cord within all of us. Many don’t know how to react to the Son of God dying on a cross for their sin. The cross evokes feelings of guilt and shame for some while others experience great joy and thankfulness. It speaks to the core of who we are no matter our background. Unarguably, the cross stands as the central most important event in history. It requires our attention. The cross demands we stop and take notice. Everyone must come to grips with what this historic event means to them personally. At some point in everybody’s life, they will be confronted by the reality of the cross.


The question each one of us needs to ask is: what am I going to do with the cross? Will I embrace it or try to pay it back? Will I look upon it with joy or shame? Most importantly, will I lay down my life and let Christ live within me or will I ignore it and keep living for myself?  My hope is that your response to the cross is thanksgiving. When you marvel at something praise erupts from your inner being. You can’t help but give praise to the object of your affection. How would your life look different if the cross and all that it stood for caused you to erupt in praise? What will it take to get you to this point, if you are not already there? We must be able to see the cross for what it is. It is imperative to see God’s righteousness vindicated, our sins forgiven, and that once again we are His people. This is the purpose of the cross. How has Jesus’ act on the cross influenced and impacted the way you live, love and forgive?


This is my Prayer: Father God, thank You for the beauty of the cross. Lord Your love and grace are consistent and abounding. I rejoice in the gift You’ve given me. Jesus through Your death, I’ve been given life. I want my life to reflect the sacrifice and love seen in the cross. Help me to be grateful for the generosity of grace that You extend to me. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

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