HE LAID DOWN HIS LIFE
Date: 4/10/2014 07:43 - Subscribe


Read Luke 23: 44-49.

TEXT: Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said,
"Father, into Your Hands I commit My spirit!"
(See Luke 23:46.)

Having completed the payment for all our sins, and loudly
proclaiming it to the world, there is no reason for Jesus to
continue suffering on the cross. He fulfills the prediction
He once made to the Jews, "For this reason the Father
loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it up
again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My
own accord" (see John 10:17-1cool.gif.

The time has now come. Luke tells us Jesus called out
with a loud voice, committed His spirit to His Father's
safe-keeping, and breathed His last.

His sudden death and the events that surrounded it had
a monumental impact on the people who witnessed it.
The centurion had watched many criminals die from
crucifixion-none was like Jesus. In the moments before
He died Jesus proclaimed four statements with a loud
voice: "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?",
"I'm thirsty," "It is finished," and "Father, into Your
hands I commend My spirit." Crucified criminals died
from suffocation due to the accumulation of fluid in their
lungs. How could Jesus speak loudly if His lungs were
filled with fluid? And conversely, how could He suddenly
die if His lungs were empty enough to speak loudly four
times?

Seeing the way Jesus conducted Himself throughout His
crucifixion, the unnatural way He died, and the
miraculous signs that accompanied His death, the
centurion could reach only one conclusion: "Certainly
this man was innocent" (see Luke 23:47) and "Truly this
was the Son of God!" (See Matthew 27:54.)

THE PRAYER:

Lord Jesus Christ, when Your work on the cross was
done You laid down Your life. On Sunday morning You
took it back up again, rising from the dead. Give me faith
to trust You always. Amen.

(Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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PAID IN FULL
Date: 4/09/2014 09:06 - Subscribe


Read Romans 3: 21-26.

TEXT: When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said,
"It is finished" (see John 19:30).

Jesus knew within Himself that everything was completed.
But for those who stood at the cross and looked at Him,
there was no evidence anything had changed. There was
no way to tell that God the Father had accepted Jesus'
sacrifice, no way to know this dying Man crowned with
thorns was Israel's triumphant King, or that Satan lie
crushed and hell's iron doors had been torn wide open.

Jesus wanted the world and all of us to know His mission
was complete, and that we are safe from Satan's schemes
and hell's grim thrall. So He drank the sour wine, and
proclaimed in a loud voice, "It is finished!"

Anyone living at that time who heard Jesus' word would
recognize it immediately. It was stamped on a loan when
the last payment had been made. We would translate it,
"Paid in full." Jesus was announcing He had completely
paid every last penny of the debt we owe to God for our sin.
There is nothing we can do, nothing we have to do to turn
God's anger away. There is no purgatory, no place of
suffering to make up for our sins. There is no reason for
doubts and no room for questions. Jesus has completely
satisfied God's demands, which we could never satisfy.

Our Savior spoke this sixth word so we would be certain
our sins are forgiven. He repeats this assurance in His
Word in our worship services. It is also present in the
water of Baptism that washes our sins away by the power
of God's Word. Likewise, it is in His body and blood given
in, with, and under the bread and wine of Holy Communion.

THE PRAYER:

Lord Jesus Christ, make us sure and confident that You
have completed our salvation, and there is nothing we can
do or need to do. Amen.

(Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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ALL IS NOW FINISHED
Date: 4/08/2014 07:44 - Subscribe


Read John 19:28-29.

TEXT: After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished,
said (to fulfill the Scripture), "I Thirst" (John 19:2cool.gif.

Yesterday we reached the turning point of Psalm 22 where
Jesus says in verse 21, "You have rescued Me." The rest
of the psalm goes on to predict Jesus' resurrection. Before
we return to it, we want to revisit the Gospels to conclude
Jesus' time on the cross, His death and burial.

When last in the Gospels we looked at Jesus' fourth saying
in Matthew 27:46, "My God, My God, why have You
forsaken Me?" But we did not point out the time Jesus
spoke these opening words of Psalm 22. Matthew writes
"About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "My
God, My God, Why have You forsaken Me?" At the ninth
hour, shortly after saying this, Jesus died. But in this short
span of time Jesus uttered three sayings; the first of these
is Jesus' fifth saying: "I'm thirsty."

It would be a mistake to overlook the phrase that sets up
this saying. "After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now
finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), 'I thirst.'" What is
finished? The answer here is the dire suffering, the spiritual
torment, the Father's wrath unleashed on Jesus for our sins.
Jesus knows He has reached the turning point. He has
completed the payment for all our sins; His Father is totally
satisfied.

With the price of our sins fully paid, Jesus can now ask for
a drink. In so doing, He fulfills verse 15 of Psalm 22. But
Jesus is not just interested in easing His terrible thirst; He
is determined to free His tongue which has been sticking to
His jaws. He has an important message to proclaim to
those gathered around Him-and to you and me.

THE PRAYER:

Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for completing our salvation
by Your bitter suffering on the cross. Amen.

(Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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THE TURNING POINT
Date: 4/07/2014 08:54 - Subscribe


TEXT: Save me from the mouth of the lion! You have
rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen
(Psalm 22:21).

Jesus is still focused on His Father as He makes His
last reference to His enemies. In the previous verse
He pleaded, "Deliver my soul from the sword, my
precious life from the power of the dog!" Now He pleads
for His Father to save Him from the mouth of the lion
and rescue Him from the horns of the wild oxen. These
wild oxen put us in mind of the savage bulls, the first
deadly animals David mentioned in verse 12.

But if you look carefully at that last phrase, "You have
rescued Me from the horns of the wild oxen," you will
notice Jesus has turned a corner. He is no longer
pleading, "Please rescue Me," nor is He making a
bold prediction for the future: "You will rescue Me.
" Rather, He is asserting the rescue has already taken
place, "You have rescued Me."

This marks the turning point in Jesus' crucifixion. It is
as though a sunbeam has pierced the thick darkness
that surrounded Jesus while He was forsaken by His
Father. In the next few days we will interrupt our study
of Psalm 22 to return to the Gospel accounts of Jesus'
death to see how the Father's rescue of His Son can
be seen in His last three sayings from the cross.

THE PRAYER:

Lord Jesus Christ, You drank the cup of Your Father's
wrath down to the dregs. I rejoice with You at once
again seeing Your Father's face turned toward You,
shining in pride and joy. Keep me in faith that I too
may see the glorious face of my God when you deliver
me from death and take me home to heaven. Amen.

(Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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MY SOUL, MY PRECIOUS LIFE
Date: 4/06/2014 09:17 - Subscribe


Read Psalm 35.

TEXT: Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life
from the power of the dog (Psalm 22:20).

Jesus pleads for His Father to deliver His soul and His
life from the sword and the power of the dogs. The sword
includes the cross itself, the instruments by which Jesus
was tortured, and by which He is dying. The dogs, of
course, are the enemies that have pursued and
surrounded Him.

Jesus makes a strong assertion about His soul and His
life-they are precious in His Fathers' eyes. They are so
precious in fact that Jesus will shortly commend them
into His Father's keeping.

Your soul and life are also important to God. Other people
may stand off and value you little; you may even think of
yourself as unimportant. But you are extremely precious
to God, so precious He gave His only-begotten Son to
save you. You are especially valuable to Him since Jesus'
blood has cleansed you of your sins.

Your soul and your life are precious in God's eyes, but are
they precious in yours? Jesus points out He only has one
soul, one life. Likewise you and I have but one soul that
will stand before God's judgment throne, one life in which
to cling to Jesus Christ as Savior. Do you feed and nourish
your soul with God's Word, and with Holy Communion? Do
you gather with your brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ
each week to strengthen one another? Do you value the
eternal life Jesus Christ has won for you and given you
through His Word and Baptism?

THE PRAYER:

Lord Jesus Christ, show me the great value Your sacrifice
has given my soul and my life. Help me nourish this faith
with my brothers and sisters in church, and to share Your
salvation with all people. Amen.

(Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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