Day Fifty-Nine with Mark: Mark 15:21-32

Today we look at the crucifixion of Jesus in Mark 15:21-32:

21 They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. 22 Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). 23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.

25 It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26 The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. 29 Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.

There are so, so many things that we could look at in this passage, so many different things of great import here, things that changed the course of human history.

We see here Simon of Cyrene, being forced to carry the cross.  He was just standing there, when this was thrust upon him.  We never know when life may come to us in ways that we don’t understand and that we are not ready for.

We see them dividing Jesus’ clothes, taking what would have been considered His only real possession of value and picking over it.

We see Jesus being mocked, one last insult.

But to me, and this is something I learned from my trips to the Holy Land, the thing that speaks so much to be me, is the place where Jesus is crucified.  Golgotha, which means the place of the skull.

Why was it called “the place of the skull?”  I always thought it must have looked like a skull.  I may have been taught that some point in my life. But I always believed that it was a reference to the appearance of the place.

12466137_10156386423985043_7373605738327891786_oThat’s not true.  I wanted to share with you  a picture of from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  This is the site of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial.  This mural shows Jesus on the cross, but look what you see beneath the cross.  You see a skull.

Golgotha, in Jewish tradition and legend, was the burial place for Adam.  So, within tradition, when the earthquake came and the earth was split open, the blood of the second Adam (Jesus) washed over the skull of the first Adam.

Now, this is just legend, there’s no proof that any of this happened. But here’s the deal. That’s exactly what happened. Paul writes about it in his letters.  Through Adam, all died.  Through Jesus, all live (1 Corinthians 15:22).  Through Adam, all of us are fallen.  His sin, his betryal of God, it is passed down to all of us.

You, me, all of us. We are all broken. We all choose wrong.  We all rebel. We all push against God, we all blow it.  Each of us. We all stand in need.

Through Adam, all die.

And through Jesus, all can live.  Jesus died for the world.  His blood washes away the affects of fall.  As we sing in “O For a Thousand Tounges” – He breaks the power of canceled sin!

Just as through Adam, all suffer and die, through Jesus, all live.  Through Jesus, all are forgiven.

All are forgiven.

You are forgiven.

Through Jesus.

Today.

The blood of Christ washes away the effects of the Fall. Through Jesus Christ you are forgiven.

Tomorrow we’ll look at Mark 15:33-41.

What questions do you have?  How does this strike you?  Shoot me an email, comment below, or connect with me through social media.

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Through One Man

One of my favorite things that the Bible teaches about Jesus is this. He’s the second Adam.

Wait, huh? What does that even mean, to say that Jesus is the second Adam?  Listen to what Paul writes here in 1 Corinthians 15: 20-22:

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

Image 4 copy_0The first Adam (you know Adam) was created, he and Eve walked with God, and all was great. Then, as we know, they ate from the tree they were forbidden to eat from, and they fell. And then all of creation fell with them.

So, as it says here, death came through one man. When Adam fell, all of creation fell him. Both creation, and humanity. So, we all now, struggle with our sin, our temptation, our stuff. All of us.

To say you struggle with sin and temptation doesn’t make you a bad person.  It makes you human. All of us, me, you, all of us struggle with sin.  We are the children of our father Adam.  Through one man, all fell.

But, it says that just as through Adam, all fell, through Jesus all can live.  So, one of the coolest things that Jesus did, was he undid what happened in the fall.

Think about it. What happened in the fall – sin and death. What happened through Jesus – forgiveness and life.  So, in other words, you don’t have to stay the same. Yes, we all suffer under temptation and sin, we all struggle, but Jesus came to restore us from what we inherited.

Through one man, all have died.  But, through one Man, Jesus Christ, all of us can live. For in the resurrection, God has overcome sin, death, and the grave.  You don’t have to be dead anymore.  You can live.  The second Adam has destroyed the work of the first.

Today, you can live!

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All Fall Down

I spent a lot of time in college listen to goofy, fun, Christian music. In the 1990s, Christian music, the kind of music you hear on K-LOVE or other Christian stations was really just getting starting. And back then, there was a song I used to love called “All Fall Down.” And the reason why I loved this song was because it basically said something that I believe, that I’ve preached my entire ministry.

We are all going to fall down. We are all going to make mistakes. No one is perfect. All fall down.

What happens then?

Listen to what happens today in John 13: 36-38:

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.

Today’s passage made me think of that old song. Listen to what Jesus tells Peter today.

You will deny. By the end of the night, you will have denied me three times. Now, this is Peter we are talking about. He’s kind of a big deal. The head of the apostles. The one that preached Pentecost. The one that walked on water, if just for a moment.

He’s Peter.

And he fell down. He made a mistake. He denied. He messed up.

All fall down.

He got back up though. He repented and He stood up through grace. And was faithful. His mistake didn’t end His walk with God. It was merely a bump in the road.

All fall down.

We will each make mistakes. That’s part of the human experience. That’s what happens. What then?

What next? We will all fall down. What will we do after fall down?

May we stand up, and may we stand on grace. We aren’t saved by what we have done, we are saved by what He has done. We are loved because we are made in Him image. We are loved because He has redeemed us.

We are loved because we are His.

Today, we will fall. May we stand. May we stand on grace. Today, when you fall, dust yourself off, get up, keep going.

All fall down. Though His grace may we get up and keep going!

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

Pride

The suggested Old Testament readings the past few days have been from Proverbs. I’ve always loved Proverbs and Psalms.  Dr. Frank Pollard, one of the best preachers I’ve ever known, used to always tell folks to read three Psalms and a chapter of Proverbs a day, it would really make a difference. And I believe that to be true.

As I praying today, I started thinking about pride, and the famous passage we know from Proverbs popped in my mind Proverbs 16:18

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

It hit me this morning one of the ways that pride brings forth destruction in my life. It looks like this.

I need to be a better person. I need to be more faithful.  I need to do more.  I need to change.  I need to be different. I need to. . . whatever.

How is that prideful? Those look like good, Christian statements.  How is that pride?

It’s pride in that I’ve mistakenly though I can do it. I just need to bow up.  I just need to do more. I can do it.  I just haven’t.  But I can.

No, I can’t.  Pride fools us in to thinking we are stronger than we really are. Pride fools us into thinking we are smarter than we really are. Pride makes us think that if we just want it enough, we can do it!

That’s not what the Bible teaches.  The Bible reminds us that through God, all things are possible.  Yes, we can change. We can be different. We can do better. We can be new. We can be a new creation. We can experience all these things.

But, not through our strength and will. But through God’s grace.

Pride makes us think we can do it.

And, as long as we think we can do it, we will never be able to do it.

Only through His grace can we do any of it. Only through His grace can we be new and different. Only through His grace can we change. Only through His grace can we live.

The pride goes before the fall. May we not be prideful today. May we remember that our true strength comes not from ourselves.

But from God.

Get Back Up!

One of my mentors said something in class once which has always stuck with me – Bible Characters weren’t always Bible Characters.  They were real folks, like me and you. And, somehow along the way, we’ve forgotten that. What do I mean by that?

Each of them, they each made terrible, terrible mistakes. They were human as we are. That means they were not perfect. They did dumb things, just like we do dumb things. They fell down, as well fall down. They were imperfect, and God loved them anyway. Just like He loves us.

Paul reminds us today in 1 Timothy:

12 I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the foremost. 16 But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life.

Paul, this great man of faith, this man that started church after church, this man, led by the Holy Spirit, this man that wrote over half of the New Testament, says that he was unworthy of doing what God had called him to do.

He had fallen down, he had made mistakes.  He had done things he should haven’t done.

But, while he was unworthy, God had judged him worthy.   He didn’t deserve the grace God gave him.  No one does. That’s why it’s called grace.  It’s undeserved, it’s freely given.  No matter what we’ve done, we are loved. And forgiven.  And treasured by God.  No matter what.

You are loved.

Yes, your past is your past.  Yes, you (and I) have fallen down.  So, what do do we?  We get back up!  We fall down, we get up. We fall down, we get up!  Because God’s grace is bigger than any mistake we could make. God’s grace is bigger.

Remember, you are loved today.  God used someone even like Paul.  He can use us too. When we fall down, by His grace, may we get back up!