Archive for March 21st, 2008

Oh, How He Loved You And Me!

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Today’s scripture: John 19:16-36 (ESV-text and audio) (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Mark Shoup):

I recently read a book that, in part, set out to debunk a conspiratorial theory that Jesus didn’t really die on the cross, but was actually just unconscious and subsequently revived in the cool dampness of the tomb. I had not previously been aware of this “swoon” theory, and didn’t really need any convincing that Christ had, in fact, been crucified and resurrected. What struck me most in proving that Jesus certainly died from his injuries, was the graphic and horrific nature of all that He went through.

It’s easy to let 2,000 years and the repetition of the Easter story numb us to Christ’s plight. But when you really consider it, it’s hard to imagine going through that kind of pain for anyone, let alone people who don’t believe in you or your sacrifice.

From Jesus’ “sweating blood” (a rare, but documented effect of severe stress called hematidrosis), to a beating that would have likely ripped His flesh down to the bone, Jesus went through things that often killed people before they even made it to the cross.

As they crucified Him, his shoulders would have both been dislocated, necessitating pushing against the nail in His feet every time He needed to inhale, ripping through the flesh of his feet until eventually it met the resistance of the tarsal bones. So horrible was the process of crucifixion that the Romans considered it too barbaric a punishment for their own citizens — it was only used on foreigners! In fact, the word “excruciating” shares the same root as the word “crucifixion”!

The level of love that would be required to go through all of that for the sake of someone else is something that I just can’t fully comprehend. I doubt many people honestly can. But we don’t have to understand it to benefit from Christ’s great sacrifice. We only have to believe He did it for us!

Thought for the day: Amazing love! Jesus, help me to remember your sacrifice, and receive your love.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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