Highlights In Today's Reading:
Jesus is delivered to Pilate. Pilate asks a question of eternal consequence (27:22). Christ is crowned with thorns and crucified. His death fulfills the Law (27:50; 5:17; Isaiah 53). Jesus is buried and the events of the day of His resurrection are told in Chapter 28. It is of utmost importance that you don't miss a word of these 2 chapters.
There beneath the shadow of the cross, with the blood flowing down from the side, arms, and feet of the crucified Savior, the Roman soldiers gambled for the garment of the One who was dying to save them: They crucified Him, and parted His garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted My garments among them, and upon My vesture did they cast lots (Matthew 27:35). These soldiers gazed for hours and saw nothing but a dying Jew. And sitting down they watched Him there (27: 36). In the presence of the most awesome event in the world's history, they were all unmoved. How possible it is for many to read of Christ's suffering and feel nothing and do nothing!
Bearing His cross did not begin when a wooden cross was laid upon Jesus' shoulders. He carried the real cross of mankind's redemption all through His life; what became visible on Golgotha was a manifestation of His true cross which motivated His life. From the temptations of Satan to the agony in Gethsemane and the offering of Himself on the cross, Jesus chose to live daily against self-will, the temptations of the flesh, especially that of gaining His kingdom by worldly means. Every day He chose to take up His cross; that is, He chose to lose His own life and will by doing only what He had seen or heard from the Father (John 5:19) and we too should choose to take up our cross daily.
The Christian's "cross" is not some burden we cannot avoid, some handicap we must overcome, or some sorrow we must face, but daily rejecting the self-life for Christ's life — not our will but His will of victory over the power of sin (Matthew 26:39). Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin (Romans 6:6).
In our conformity to Christ's death there is an end of self, we give up ourselves to live and die for others. Out of this death we rise with the power to love and to bless. He said to them all, if any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me (Luke 9:23). Paul said: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20).
Thought for Today:
The cross is more than just a symbol of Christ's death. For the Christian, it is a way of life.
27:15 wont =b> accustomed; 27:16 notable =b> notorious; 27:24 tumult =b> uproar, riot; 27:48 straightway =b> immediately, without delay.
For Matthew 27:5-10: See Zechariah 11:12-13. Matthew 27:34: See Psalm 69:21. Matthew 27:35: See Psalm 22:18. Matthew 27:39: See Job 16:4; Psalm 109:25; Lamentations 2:15. Matthew 27:43: See Psalm 22:8. Matthew 27:46: See Psalm 22:1.
Pray for Radio Sri Lanka International Shortwave Broadcasts for the week in Nepal sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. R.F. Garland • Government Officials: Gov. Dave Freundenthal (WY) and Rep. Edward Royce (CA) • Country: Italy (58 million) in southern Europe • Major languages: Italian and German • Religious freedom • 81% Roman Catholic; .4% Protestant; .1% Eastern Orthodox • Prayer Suggestion: Pray that God will keep you from speaking evil (Psa. 34:13).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:34