11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God… (Hebrews 10:11–12, NKJV)
In contrast to the repeated offerings of animal sacrifices by Levitical priests, the great High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, offered one sacrifice for sins forever. With “His own blood” He entered heaven (“the Most Holy Place”), and by it, obtained eternal redemption for sinners (Heb. 9:12, 14-15, 26-28; 10:10). The gospel, “the word of the cross”, presents the sacrifice of Jesus to the whole world and calls us to salvation by His blood (1 Cor. 1:18; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:20). Thank God today for His great love, His marvelous wisdom and His rich mercy. All are on full display when we survey the wondrous cross of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness… (1 Corinthians 1:21–23, NKJV)
The message of a crucified king who saves the world continues to be viewed by an unbelieving world as foolish fables. That is not at all how men would write the script. The first-century Jews envisioned their mighty king riding in on a great steed, trampling over their enemies and vanquishing their foes by the sword in mighty battle. But, God’s king and His kingdom is not so inclined. God’s Anointed One rode into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey, humble and lowly. It was not long before they cried out, “crucify him”. Those who elevate human wisdom count the message of the cross to be foolish. Belief in the gospel demands humility. Those who put stock in human wisdom become hardened by pride – an obvious barrier to humble faith. God still saves those believe the gospel. Therefore, we must continue to preach Christ regardless of faithless refusals.
45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. 46 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 27:45-46)
Betrayed, denied and rejected; On the cross all seemed to be lost. Now, in darkness and throes of death, Jesus endures the final hours of agony without immediate relief from the Father He loved and who loved Him. Only Jesus could be the sacrifice for our sins. He came to this moment for that very purpose. What magnificent resolve He had! “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name” (Jno. 12:27-28). Although there was no immediate relief, yet “when He cried to Him, He heard” (Psa. 22:1, 24). Dear Christian, when you must face life’s trials and sorrows, take heart. The Father is not far away. There is divine purpose to suffering and by faith we endure (1 Pet. 1:6-9). Pass through your moment of pain knowing that when you cry to the Lord, He hears you, too (1 Jno. 5:14-15).
32 There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots. (Luke 23:32-34)
Today is Pearl Harbor Day, when we honor the memory of those who lost their lives on December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy”. 2,403 military personnel and U.S. civilians died in the Japanese attack that day. We honor those who lost their lives in the defense of our nation. Another day in the history of the world is marked by the great evil done on it. A gross injustice occurred the day Jesus of Nazareth was nailed to a cross to die. It appeared that evil had been victorious. But, God turned death and despair into great victory. The death and resurrection of Jesus overwhelmed sin and defeated death. The gospel calls upon us to honor Jesus Christ with loving, obedient faith. By his act of loving sacrifice we live with the sure confidence of eternal triumph.