156. So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” -John 18:11 Context: John 18:1-11
Note Jesus’ resolve here. Just before this Jesus had struggled within Himself and in prayer over “drinking the cup,” that is, embracing the events that would lead to His death on the cross for our sins on Skull mountain (Calvary). But it was the Father’s will, so in love He obeyed. Here Peter tries to take the matter into his own hands. But Jesus made clear to Peter and to us that violence must never happen in the name of Jesus. Jesus knew He must fulfill His mission so that John 3:16 would be in the Bible! From this we learn that obedience often is costly, and though our feelings and even our family or friends may try to dissuade us, we must do what God is calling us to do!
157. Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a King. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the Truth. Everyone who is of the Truth hears My voice.” -John 18:37 Context: John 18:36-38
Christian, you are an alien in this world – your ultimate citizenship is in Heaven now. If you love the Truth, you will be drawn to Jesus because He is the Truth! In the very next verse Pilate looked at Jesus quizzically and said, “What is truth?” Pilate was used to people cowering before him because as the Roman authority he was about to pronounce judgment. In Pilate’s mind truth was relative, and was defined by the ones with the power. Yet here was Jesus, Truth personified, standing before Pilate, and he didn’t quite know how to respond. At one of Jimi Hendrix’s last concerts, a man yelled, “Jimi, you are the truth.” Hendrix stopped the concert abruptly and said, “No, no, I’m not the truth – If anyone here knows what the truth is come on up here and tell us.” No one came forward. A few weeks later Jimi Hendrix was dead. If only someone had shared with him that Jesus is THE Way, THE Truth, THE Life, and no one comes to God the Father and Heaven except through faith in Jesus.
158. Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when you come into Your Kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” -Luke 23:42-43 Context: Luke 23:39-43
Remember that it is never too late to obey the command to call on the name of Jesus for salvation. Acts 4:12 says “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!” The thief dying beside Jesus did that right before he died. Talk about your “death bed conversions!” When Jesus said, “Assuredly,” He was saying the “Double Amen.” He said, “Amen! Amen! I say to you, TODAY you will be with Me in Paradise.” Jesus saved that man on the spot, despite all the sinful things he had done. Jesus will respond to your faith also. Faith in Him will save you. Faith in Him will lead to you bearing fruit! Live by faith in Jesus – live to hear Him say “Amen, Amen” to you!
159. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” -Matthew 27:46 Context: Matthew 27:45-46
God is holy and cannot look directly at sin. That’s why in the book of Romans sinners are called God’s enemies. At the moment Jesus hung on that cross and made this statement He was bearing the hideous sin of the world on Himself. And something happened in that moment that had never happened before in the Godhead. God the Father turned His back on God the Son, and Jesus felt the pain and isolation from His Father He had never known before and never will again. That’s why He cried out, “Why have you forsaken Me?” The pain He felt in that moment obviously hurt Him more than all the physical pain of the crucifixion. And He did that for you and me, so we could have our sin dealt with and be reconciled to God. We righty say that salvation has nothing to do with works, but to get it technically right we should say that salvation has nothing to do with OUR works. Salvation only comes because Jesus Christ was able to do the work that none of us could do either for ourselves or for others! He became our sin-bearer, so we could be salvation-bearers! Do you need to ask what the implicit command(s) are for us from this passage? Remember the cost, be forever grateful to God, and live by faith in Jesus!
160. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. -John 19:30 Context: John 19:28-30
The mission Jesus had been sent to do He had done! He had died for the sin of the world. Here Jesus voluntarily gave up His spirit. He not only had the power to lay His life down, but to raise Himself from the dead and return to His place in Heaven! Christian friend, you also have a mission that God is calling you to. Never minimize your role in God’s plan. Part of what God desires to accomplish in this world He desires to accomplish through you. God has chosen to work through people like you and me, despite our faithlessness and fickleness! He has called us to be salt and light in this world. Just as David served the purposes of God in His generation (Acts 13:36), we are to finish the work God has for us in ours!