An Easter Devotion:
- "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34, NIV) Jesus said this about the people crucifying Him, which shows remarkable maturity. Of course, you wouldn't expect anything less from the Son of God, but this is still an important lesson for us as Christians to learn. It would have been easy for Him to ignore them or get mad at His prosecutors, but instead, He showed them mercy, just like He does us when we sin against Him. He will never ignore us or turn down mercy for us. This is an amazing concept to ponder, and it just goes to show how special our God is.
Also, this quote from Jesus gives us an insight into how people are often blind to the sin in their lives. That is probably why it was so easy for Jesus to ask for their forgiveness (aside from his being just plain awesome), since they just didn't know. All of this adds to how amazing and merciful God is towards His children.
- "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43, NIV) Jesus said this to one of the criminals beside Him on the cross. This quote shows more of Jesus' forgiving nature, since He was perfect and could have easily denied the criminal access to His kingdom that He is about to die a horrible death for. Jesus' mercy, as revealed here, is astounding, and knowing that He says the same to us when we ask Him to is incredible. I love how Jesus isn't afraid to forgive people that have done wrong and deserve death on a cross, when He was also on the cross, even though He was completely innocent.
- "Dear woman, here is your son,... Here is your mother" (John 19:26-27, NIV) This quote reveals how we are supposed to care for others that are in need. Jesus' earthly father, Joseph, was more than likely no longer alive at this point since there was no mention of him since Jesus was a child, Mary would have needed someone to look after her. (As the first born, it would have been Jesus' responsibility to take care of his mother.) On top of the literal message Jesus was saying, there is also a spiritual one, as well. With Jesus' death, His kingdom would be established where all believers are brothers and sisters. I think that this is what Jesus was truly emphasizing with this statement, since it would be imperative for the disciples and other believers to treat each other like family.
- "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34, NIV) One of the many things that I love about Jesus is how He can relate with our pain and suffering, since He experienced way more than His fair share while on earth. This moment shows how He needed those around Him to truly think about why He was being crucified. What did He do wrong to deserve that kind of faith? I also wonder if Jesus was asking God to go ahead and end His excruciating pain. I can only imagine how horrible it would have been to spend SIX HOURS on a cross dying for sins that you didn't commit. It would only be natural to want to speed the process up. Jesus, like so many believers facing death, wanted to be in Heaven with the Father. He knew what it was like to be in Heaven, and He would probably have wanted to desperately end His separation from God the Father. He just had to wait for when God said that the time was right, just like how we have to wait for God's timetable to come true.
- "I am thirsty" (John 19:28, NIV)
After spending hours on the cross, Jesus would have of course been thirsty from being beaten, losing blood, and becoming dehydrated. And, He could have easily given Himself water with His power, but He didn't. Instead, the people gave sour wine to the remarkable God that turned water into wine. All that Jesus wanted was for us to thirst after Him, but instead we mocked Him. Now, we just have to try and do better and actually honor the perfect man that gave His life as a sacrifice for sinners like us.
- "It is finished" (John 19:30, NIV)
Jesus is commenting on how His work on earth was about to be complete, and we are about to be able to have our sins forgiven without sacrificing heaps of animals. He has dealt with the scorn and shame of crucifixion, and all for God's glory and our salvation. It is sad that He is about to die, but it's all for a bigger picture. Thank You, Lord, for what You did so that we can live. Without Your sacrifice, we would not be here today to celebrate Your death and resurrection. Help us to not have let You die in vain.
- "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit" (Luke 23:46, NIV)
As Jesus is coming closer to death, He uses His energy to let God the Father know that He still wants God's plan to be first in His life. All of this - His persecution, trial, crucifixion, and eventual death- is for God's plan and our salvation. Still, the Father has control over the whole situation, and Jesus wants to honor that. Since He is about to die, He is showing the people around Him that He is going to a better place and He will remain positive about the situation. Jesus is about to be in Heaven with His Father, and then, everything will be okay.
Since it is Good Friday, it is important to remember Jesus' death and what it means for humanity. Spend some time thanking Him for everything. Just don't forget the resurrection on Sunday, which is what truly sets Jesus apart from other people who have died. With the resurrection, death was defeated and we are truly forgiven. Jesus is just amazing, so thank You, Jesus, for Your death and resurrection.
Comment what you love about Jesus' sacrifice and what it means to you, and don't forget to like the blog on Facebook and Instagram. The contact info can be found under the "About" section at the top of the page. Thanks for reading, and Happy Easter!