Here’s Today’s Devotional from The Vine…
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Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Dividing his garments among them, they cast lots. - Luke 23:34
This was the first word spoken by our Lord on His cross. It was uttered just when the soldiers were in the act of crucifying Him – driving the terrible nails through His hands and feet. It was a moment of excruciating, inconceivable anguish. Yet He uttered no cry of pain, no word of execration upon those who were causing Him such suffering, but calmly prayed for His brutal, pitiless murderers - “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
The moment the sacred blood began to flow the intercession for sinners began. The pleading was first for the ignorant heathen soldiers who were acting as executioners; but it was not for these alone. It certainly widened out, and took in all who had been concerned in the condemnation and crucifixion of Jesus. It was for the Jewish rulers and people who had rejected their Messiah. May we not believe that many of those who on the day of Pentecost and afterward were brought to repentance were forgiven and saved because on His cross Jesus made intercession for them?
Then the prayer went out beyond the people who had a direct part in the crucifixion. From His cross Jesus saw the lost world down to the end, and prayed for all men. We know, too, that that word of prayer was but the beginning of an intercession that is going on yet inside heaven, where Jesus pleads the merits of His own sacrifice for the salvation of sinners.
This word of Jesus teaches us a great lesson on Christian forgiveness. He prayed for His murderers. We should pray for those who injure us. There are some fragrant trees which bathe in perfume the axe that gashes them. So should it be with Christ‘s people. Instead of resentment and injury for injury, we should show only sweet, tender love to those who harm us.
Here’s Today’s Devotional from The Vine…
They set up over his head the accusation against him written, “THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” - Matthew 27:37
There was no other crime charged. He had done nothing amiss. Pilate had satisfied himself of that. He had examined Him, and could find no fault in Him, hence he would not write any charge on His cross but this, that He was the King of the Jews. The rulers objected to this, and wanted him to write that “he said” He was “King of the Jews;” but Pilate would not change a word, and there it stood above His head during all the agony and all the darkness “the King of the Jews.”
So He was. The tablet told the truth, though erected to mock the people. He was the Messiah who had been promised all through the centuries. He was the King of whom David was but the type. He was the Christ who had been foretold by prophets, and waited for age after age by the nation. At last He came. Angels sang at His birth. His life had been one of great blessing and power. He had wrought miracles of mercy all over the land. He had taught, speaking as never man spoke. He had fulfilled all the Messianic conditions. Yet His enemies had rejected Him; and at last they led Him out to Calvary and nailed Him on the cross. Still He was their King ”their King rejected, their King crucified. His throne was His cross; His crown was the circlet of thorns that the soldiers had twisted and wound around His head.
It does not seem to us a kingly hour in our Lord’s life when He hangs on His cross dying, yet really it was the time of His highest earthly exaltation. He spoke of going to His cross as going to be glorified. He was indeed King of the Jews. They crucified their King. He is our King too. How are we treating Him? Are we obeying Him? Are any of us rejecting Him? Are any of us crucifying Him afresh? We had better answer these questions.
Today God Is First By Os Hillman
“He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” - Psalm 37:6
As a believer grows in trusting obedience and love, God often brings a test that seems uncharacteristically cruel. The test: being wrongfully judged by those close to you. It is not for the reactionary. It cannot be passed over by simply gutting it out. Supernatural grace is the only means of passing this one. It is one of those tests the Savior had to experience Himself when being tried by the court of public opinion, the religious community, and the government of His day. His response to the government was silence. His response to the religious establishment was silence at the final judgment. To the rest of His accusers He remained quiet and left vindication to the Father. He lived the commandment He gave to the disciples:
“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked” (Luke 6:35).
How do you react when you are accused or mistreated for no reason? Do you listen quietly, or do you justify each and every action? Most of us take pride in doing what is right and expect the same from others, especially our brothers and sisters in the faith. Jesus knew that if you were to be a true follower of His, you would enter this test eventually. It is part of the program. The workplace gives ample opportunity to be wronged, misunderstood, and maligned. When God brings a measured assault against one of His children, it is to find out if he truly believes in the cross. The cross is where each of us is given the opportunity to die to our pride, our reputations, and our ego. When He allows a measured assault upon us, it is to find out if the cross is sufficient. He wants to see if we will seek to rescue ourselves. Jesus said if we die with Him, we will be raised with Him. When God allows satan to bring the measured assault, ask God for the grace to cling to the cross. Let the pride and arrogance that Jesus wants to remove from our lives be crucified. Thank God for the opportunity to be crucified with Christ. Then your righteousness will shine like the noonday sun and the justice of your cause will be in His hands.