Day Sixty with Mark: Mark 15:33-41.

Today in Mark 15: 33-41 we look at the death of Jesus:

33 When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.” 36 And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”

40 There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.

matthias_grc3bcnewald_-_the_crucifixion_-_wga10710One of the things it’s easy to do, and frankly you want to do, is skip through this part and get to the good part.  Get to the resurrection.  We know it’s coming.  We know it’s almost there.  We know what happens.

I think because we know it, it’s easy for us to forget, they didn’t.  I mean, yeah, Jesus told them He would rise from the dead, He told them that He must die and be raised again, so they “knew” but they didn’t get it.

Can you imagine being them?  Can you imagine seeing Jesus breath His last before your very eyes, without really believing what is to come?

We see here so much.  We see the curtain torn within the Temple.  With that happening, no longer must you go to God through the priest, but now all of us, you, me, everyone, we have access to God. Through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus, we all have access to the throne room of grace.

We see the fact that Roman centurion saw all that happened, and believed that Jesus was the Son of God.  No one does what Jesus did.  We all fight for our life, no one lays it down like Jesus did, to save the world.  If you ever want to know what love looks like, this right here.  If you ever doubt that you are loved, this right here.  If you ever feel as though no one cares, this right here.

One other thing, that to me, is truly beautiful about Christianity.  Look at who remained?  John’s Gospel tells us that he was there as well, but look.  It was the women.  They stayed.  When everyone else fled, they stayed.  And look what else the text tells us, they followed and provided for Jesus.

They were part of the team. They were valued.  They were important.  In that culture, that just wasn’t so.  That wasn’t the way that it worked.  But in Jesus’ kingdom, that’s the way that it works.  All are loved. All are valued.  All have a place.  Jesus died for all.  He died for the world.

And we see that today.

Yes, I know in a few days we’ll read about Easter.  But stay here for a while.  Remember what He did for us.  Remember what He endured for us. Remember.

And be thankful.

Friday we’ll look at Mark 15:42-47.

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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Darkness Falls. But Sunday’s Coming

Encore-Black-Drapery-Fabric-by-Drape-Kings-FinalToday is the wrongly named Good Friday. Today, our Lord breathed His last.  Today, He suffered the penalty for the sins of the world; for my sins, for your sins.  For all of us.  Today, the world was reconciled to God through the suffering and death of our sweet Jesus.

Sometimes we get in such a hurry to get to Easter and empty grave that we do not stop and ponder.  We do not stop and marvel.  We do not stop and bow our heads.

We do not stop and cry at the fact that the babe born at Bethlehem today suffered not for His own mistakes, or His own misdeeds, but for our stuff.  Our sin.  Our rebellion.  Our turning from God.

As we said last night in 2 Corinthians 5:21:

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Today, darkness falls.  Today, the devil has his moment in the sun.  Today, evil has it’s moment.  Today, the entire creation cries out.

Today was a bad day.  And we need to remember that.

But there’s one more thing we need to remember.

Sunday’s coming.

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Good Friday 2013

Today is Good Friday. It is the day that our Lord died for our sins.  I talk a lot about grace and love and mercy. Anyone that’s known me for any length of time knows that. Today, we must stop. And remember. Remember what it cost our Lord so that we could know His grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

I want to share a quote with you from Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book The Cost of Discipleship that talks about how grace is free, but never cheap. Read this, with your heart attuned to what Jesus has done for us.

6a00d8341d03e653ef01538e09382a970b-800wi“Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the Church’s inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits. Grace without price; grace without cost! The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing. Since the cost was infinite, the possibilities of using and spending it are infinite. What would grace be if it were not cheap?…

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.

Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price,” and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”

May we never, ever, ever forget what our Lord has done for us.To understand the miracle of Easter we must stop. And pause. And consider the cross. And bow our heads for our sin that drove Him there.

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.

Yes, it’s Friday. But Sunday’s Coming

Psalm 22

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?

O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.

Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.

In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.

To you they cried, and were saved; in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm, and not human; scorned by others, and despised by the people.

All who see me mock at me; they make mouths at me, they shake their heads;

“Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver— let him rescue the one in whom he delights!”

Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother’s breast.

On you I was cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me you have been my God.

Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.

Many bulls encircle me, strong bulls of Bashan surround me;

they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast;

my mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.

For dogs are all around me; a company of evildoers encircles me. My hands and feet have shriveled;

I can count all my bones. They stare and gloat over me;

they divide my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.

But you, O Lord, do not be far away! O my help, come quickly to my aid!

Deliver my soul from the sword, my life from the power of the dog!

Save me from the mouth of the lion! From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me.

I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:

You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him; stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!

For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him.

From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will pay before those who fear him.

The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise theLord. May your hearts live forever!

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him.

For dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.

To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, and I shall live for him.

Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord,

and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it.

This was the Psalm that Jesus quoted upon the cross. This Psalm shows His pain, His hurt, His fear.

We forget that Jesus was not just fully God.  He was fully human.  He felt pain.  He felt hurt.  He felt loss. He felt abandonment.  He felt all this.

Let us never forget all He endured.  Let us never forget the depth of His love.  Let us never forget all He gave.  Let us never forget.

And, let us remember how this Psalm ends. With rejoicing. For while the Psalm begins with abandonment, it ends with God’s victory and redemption.

So does today.  Yes, it’s Friday.  But Sunday’s Coming.