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March 11

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“And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last. Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Mark 15:37-38 NKJV).

From: March 11, 2020

DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT JESUS ACCOMPLISHED?

At the sound of Jesus’ last cry, the thick curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple, was rent from top to bottom, opening the way. This must have been quite startling to the priests who witnessed it during the exact time of afternoon prayers. For it was at the “ninth hour” that Jesus cried out, which was the final time of daily prayers. The Jews counted time from sunrise at 6AM which they called the “first hour,” so the “ninth hour” would have been 3PM. There were three daily prayer times, except on the Sabbath when there were four. The daily prayer times were: Morning prayers at 9AM, Midday prayers at Noon, and Afternoon prayers at 3PM. It was during the third prayer time that Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying “It is finished!” (John 19:30). And the temple veil was torn asunder.
 
From that moment, Jesus, our Great High Priest, opened up “a new and living way” by His blood, so that we are able to enter the “Holiest” place and bring our requests before the Father (Heb. 10:19-22).
 
Do you understand what Jesus accomplished for us? He took what appeared to be defeat and turned it into victory. His accomplished His mission to pay for our sin and to open up the way for us to be reconciled to the Father.
 
PRAYER: Dear Father, we are so thankful for the love and sacrifice expressed in the giving of Your Son. It is beyond our understanding, yet it is the fullest revelation of Your love and holiness. We offer ourselves back to You as living sacrifices today, in Jesus’ name, amen.

“Present a cake from the first of the flour you grind, and set it aside as a sacred offering, as you do with the first grain from the threshing floor” (Numbers 15:20 NLT).

From: March 11, 2019

FIRST GIFTS FROM FIRST FRUITS

As the Lord gave the people of Israel all that they needed to live, He instructed them to make an offering of the first part of a new harvest. Even as they made the first cake from the newly ground flour, they were to offer the first cake to the Lord as a sacred offering. In this way, the people of God were to express the priority of their love for God and their gratitude for His provision. First gifts from their first fruits were sacred to the Lord.
 
How can we express our love to the Lord with first priority today? How does the principle of first gifts from first fruits inform our expression of love and gratitude to our God?
 
PRAYER: Dear Lord, we are so quick to complain and to forget Your provision. Forgive us. We repent of our ingratitude and lukewarm love. We freely offer the first part of our time, talent and treasure to You. For You are all in all to us. The first day of the week, the first part of the day, the first portion of our income, the first part of our hearts… these and more, we offer to You. Lead and guide us, O Lord. Show us what You want to do in and through us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise” (Mark 15:5 NLT).

From: March 11, 2018

JESUS WAS SILENT
As Christ’s accusers made charge after charge against Him, Pilate was surprised at His silence. Pilate already suspected that the Jews were acting out of “envy” (Mark 15:10), but he was amazed that Jesus offered no defense. No doubt he was accustomed to seeing the accused blubber out a passionate defense when facing his court. Yet, Jesus uttered not a word. Certainly, he must have also marveled at Christ’s dignity and self-control. He had never seen a man such as this.
 
Jesus could have easily offered a verbal defense that would have made Pilate see Him as innocent and His accusers as fools. But Jesus said nothing. Jesus could have responded with a devastating military defense, as He had told Peter when he tried to defend Jesus in the garden, “Put away your sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt. 26:53). Yet, Jesus took no action.
 
As the prophet Isaiah prophesied concerning the Messiah, “He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth” (Isa. 53:7). Jesus was silent.
 
And as the chorus of Ray Overholt’s 1958 hymn declares:
“He could have called ten thousand angels
     To destory the world and set Him free.
He could have called ten thousand angels,
     But He died alone for you and me.”

“And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last. Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Mark 15:37-38 NKJV).

From: March 11, 2017

At the sound of Jesus’ last cry, the thick curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple, was rent from top to bottom, opening the way. This must have been quite startling to the priests who witnessed it during the exact time of afternoon prayers. For it was at the “ninth hour” that Jesus cried out, which was the final time of daily prayers. The Jews counted time from sunrise at 6AM which they called the “first hour,” so the “ninth hour” would have been 3PM. There were three daily prayer times, except on the Sabbath when there were four. The daily prayer times were: Morning prayers at 9AM, Midday prayers at Noon, and Afternoon prayers at 3PM. It was during the third prayer time that Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying “It is finished!” (John 19:30). And the temple veil was torn asunder.
 
From that moment, Jesus, our Great High Priest, opened up “a new and living way” by His blood, so that we are able to enter the “Holiest” place and bring our requests before the Father (Heb. 10:19-22).

‘And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”’ (Mark 15:39 ESV)

From: March 11, 2016

Roman soldiers were expert executioners. They had seen men die in the cruelest of ways. They had witnessed their various human responses to torture and death. Yet, this officer had never seen anyone endure suffering as Jesus did. What was it about Jesus that moved this hardened death squad centurion? Was it his dignity and demeanor amidst such ugliness and disdain? Was it his care for the thief crucified beside him or his forgiveness of the taunting crowd? Perhaps it was the darkening of the sky or the ground that shook when he cried out his last? Maybe there was a way that he looked at the Roman leader with compassion in his eyes even as he was dying? Whatever it was, this officer was moved to affirm Christ’s identity. His normally sarcastic, biting tongue was moved to childlike wonder. I wonder. What became of this Roman officer? Did he turn in his sword for a seat at the Lord’s table? Did he exchange his Roman helmet for one of salvation? Will we see the soldier who once stood at the foot of the cross, someday a servant bowing at the feet of the Christ?

“So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, ‘Truly this Man was the Son of God!'” (Mark 15:39 NKJV)

From: March 11, 2015

Roman soldiers were expert executioners. They had seen men die in the cruelest of ways. They had witnessed their various human responses to torture and death. Yet, this officer had never seen anyone endure suffering as Jesus did. What was it about Jesus that moved this hardened death squad centurion? Was it his dignity and demeanor amidst such ugliness and disdain? Was it his care for the thief crucified beside him or his forgiveness of the taunting crowd? Perhaps it was the darkening of the sky or the ground that shook when he cried out his last? Maybe there was a way that he looked at the Roman leader with compassion in his eyes even as he was dying? Whatever it was, this officer was moved to affirm Christ’s identity. His normally sarcastic, biting tongue was moved to childlike wonder. I wonder. What became of this Roman officer? Did he turn in his sword for a seat at the Lord’s table? Did he exchange his Roman helmet for one of salvation?

“When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, ‘This man truly was the Son of God!'” (Mark 15:39 NLT)

From: March 11, 2014

Roman soldiers were expert executioners. They had seen men die in the cruelest of ways. They had seen their various human responses to torture and death. Yet, this officer had never seen anyone endure suffering as Jesus did. What was it about Jesus that moved this hardened death squad centurion? Was it his dignity and demeanor amidst such ugliness and disdain? Was it his care for the thief crucified beside him or his forgiveness of the taunting crowd? Perhaps it was the darkening of the sky or the ground that shook when he cried out his last? Maybe there was a way that he looked at the Roman leader with compassion in his eyes even as he was dying? Whatever it was, this officer was moved to affirm Christ’s identity. His normally sarcastic, biting tongue was moved to childlike wonder. I wonder. What became of this Roman officer? Did he turn in his sword for a seat at the Table?

“Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life” (Psalm 54:4 ESV)

From: March 11, 2013

David wrote this psalm while hiding from King Saul. He called God his helper and upholder. David encouraged himself with this. Saul had the support and help of all Israel, but David had the Lord. Some may have wealth or worldly power to help, but we have the help of God. He not only helps us, He sustains, supports, upholds and keeps us alive. Who do you call upon when you need help?

“Come with great power, O God, and rescue me! Defend me with your might. Listen to my prayer, O God. Pay attention to my plea” (Psalm 54:1-2)

From: March 11, 2012

David pleads for God’s presence. We can too. Of course, God is omnipresent, but this is a prayer for His manifest presence. Let us pray the same on this Sunday morning: “Come Lord Jesus! Be present among us!”

“At the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me'” (Mark 15:34)

From: March 11, 2011

This cry was not a mark of failure, but one of prophecy fulfilled and the human condition felt. Jesus said the very words of Psalm 22:1 prophesied for Him. He who knew no sin became sin for us. He suffered separation so that we might be brought near to God.