Sunday School Lesson – “The Passover Lamb is Crucified” Luke 23:33-46; John 3:16

VERSE DISCOVERY: Luke 23:33-46; John 3:16 (KJV, Public Domain)

At twilight, at six o’clock that evening (being the time the Jewish day started), the celebration of Passover would begin, and the lamb of the Last Supper would have been killed for the feast (compare Matthew 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22: 7-13).  Before twenty-four hours would pass, before this very time the next day, Jesus Christ would hang on the cross and be sacrificed as the Passover Lamb once and for all: “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).

Many things have happened between Jesus’ last Passover with His disciples and His journey to the cross.  Following Luke’s account, not long after that Last Supper, after exposing there is a betrayer among them and squashing arguments of who is the greatest (Luke 22:24), Jesus soon found Himself on the Mount of Olives, in that garden called Gethsemane, where He battled in prayer (Luke 22:39-46).

Soon after, the betrayer arrived in the garden with “a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees” (John 18:3).  The price had been paid, and Judas Iscariot would fully follow through on his part as an informant for the enemy, double-crossing Jesus with a kiss (Luke 22:47-48).

After His arrest and the desertion of His disciples (Matthew 26:56), and the denial of Peter (Luke 22:54-62), Jesus stood before Pilate, a man condemned, and yet not condemned.  Not condemned, because there was no sin attached to Jesus or in Jesus that would condemn Him (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5).  Even Pilate’s own mouth voiced His innocence with these words: “Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:  No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him” (Luke 23:14-15).

Yet, the Bible tells us, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  For that to happen, the Passover Lamb had to be crucified.

Pilate passed his sentence and condemned to death (Luke 23:24) He that came to bring life (John 10:10). 

Stripped and beaten, crowned with thorns and spit upon, scourged and mocked (Matthew 27:27-31; Mark 15:16-20; John 19:1), he “Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.  And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha” (John 19:16-17).

Jesus and the Cross

Luke 23:33-38 “And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.  Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.  And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.  And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.  And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, This Is The King Of The Jews.”

This was His destiny if we want to call it that.  This was the appointed time for Jesus to arrive at this place, this place called “Calvary, this place in history.

“Calvary” was more than a lovely thought in the hymns we sing and the story we pass down, it was a real place, where real pain and sacrifice were experienced.  It was a real place where love would win the ultimate victory.

Before He left heaven, this place, carrying out this plan of salvation was already determined: “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world…” (1 Peter 1:19-20; see also Acts 2:23; Hebrews 9:26; Revelation 13:8).  The very details of His crucifixion were recorded in Psalm 22 many years before it happened.

Calvary would be the place where God would satisfy the greatest need humanity has ever known: salvation.  Calvary is the place where “they crucified him,” where Jesus laid down His life on the cross (John 10:18).

Submitting to the Father’s will on the cross would mean things would forever be different.  He had done more than come to change the world, He had come to change the hearts and lives of men.  He had come to “seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:40).  He had come to reconcile broken humanity back to the Father (Colossians 1:20; 2 Corinthians 5:18).  The cross made the way for that to happen.

With that, the act of crucifixion commenced.  As His body was forced to lie on that rugged beam, being held in place, the nails were driven in His flesh to secure Him, to punish Him, to kill Him.  Being lifted high, with the weight of His body pulling and being jarred against the tearing of flesh and the pain of the wound of the scourging, He was hung between two “malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left” (we will talk more on them later).

This symbol of our Lord’s cross, posted between two others, is another real symbol in history testifying to the realness this moment demanded.  Our Lord’s death is not a fairy tale or a wonderful read of something lovely someone did for us.  His story is real, with incredibly real details that support the account of what He did for you and me.

Hanging there, Jesus wastes no time in speaking His first words from the cross: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”  Jesus refuses to let pain speak for Him.  He refuses to let resentment, bitterness, or anger have a word here.  Instead, love speaks.  The same love that drove Him to the cross (John 15:13) is the same love that is pleading for their forgiveness.  When the course of these events is over and Jesus ascends back to the Father, all who believe in Him will find life and forgiveness (John 14:6; 3:16; Acts 3:19; 2:38).

Earlier, Jesus prayed for His disciples (John 17), and here He prays for the executioners, the nailers, the mockers, the whippers, and for them who yelled, “Crucify Him!” (Luke 23:21).

In an article I previously published titled, Focus Shift, I wrote:

Instead of ranting and raving, Jesus, in His agony and pain sought the betterment of the very ones who were killing Him.  He knew He would die.  He knew the pain would not cease until He did.  This plan was going to go forth.  Yet, He focused on the needs of others rather than Himself.

How awesome is that?  Often, we hear these words during a Seven Last Words service on Good Friday, but can we even begin to imagine the strength and willpower it took for Jesus not to focus on Himself during that time?  For Him to look beyond what He was currently going through to care for and about others?  I don’t think we have a clue.  He immediately pleaded with the Father for their forgiveness.” (©WordforLifeSays)

So, thus, He prayed.

As they “cast lots” for His garment, fulfilling even more prophecies (Psalm 22:18), the response of the very people Jesus just prayed for while in agony was startling.  They “derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.”

The “soldiers” too “mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar.”  That old phrase, “rubbing salt into an open wound,” comes to mind when I read these words.

Love lays down on the cross.  Love prays for His transgressors.  Love bleeds in the place of man.  Yet, love is scorned and mocked with wagging heads (Matthew 27:39; compare Psalm 22:7-8), tormenting Jesus with more than the nails in His flesh.  The hurting words of the people must have pierced His heart in a way a sword never could.

Yet, He refused their taunts.  He refused the temptation to leave this appointed place.  He refused to save Himself from this hour (John 12:27).  Remember what He said in the garden?  “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?  But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” (Matthew 26:53-54).

Therefore, He hung, with Pilate’s “superscription. . . over him”, written in “Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

Why was Pilate so adamant about keeping his superscription as it was?  The Jewish leaders insisted that he revise the wording by saying, “Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews” (John 19:21).  But Pilate refused and stated, “What I have written I have written” (John 19:22).  What was meant to be a written charge of the condemned became a written testimony for all to see.

Pilate knew they handed Jesus over by unjust means (Matthew 27:18), and they had no real evidence to condemn Him.  Even more startling was his wife’s interruption of the proceedings to send a private message to him, straightly telling him, “Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him” (Matthew 27:19).

He spoke twice in Luke, “I find no fault in him” (Luke 23:4, 14).  Was his conscience bothering him?  That, mixed with the warning from his wife, could have stirred something inside of him, but not enough to totally release Jesus from this fate.

Was he making a point?  Who really knows his thoughts behind the process, but the words of the superscription, written in the three main languages of the day and region, would stand to proclaim, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

Jesus and the Thief

Luke 23:39-43 “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.  But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?  And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.  And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.  And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

So, there Jesus hung in between the two thieves (Mark 15:27), fulfilling scripture once again, being “numbered with the transgressors” (Mark 15:28; Isaiah 53:12).

Originally, both thieves had a thing or two to speak out against and challenged our Lord, and “reviled him” (Matthew 27:44; Mark 15:32).  Jesus was truly taking a battering on the cross.  There would not even be a camaraderie with His fellow condemned.  As His body bled and writhed in agony, would He be forsaken by all?

The challenge picked up in intensity as the pain and feeling of hopelessness crept in for one of the thieves.  He “railed. . . If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.”  In his railing against the Lord, he probably wasn’t as much concerned with Jesus and His claim to deity, and saving Himself, as he was for his own life being spared.  Out of fear for his life and his own pain, he made this selfish request.

But, challenging his challenge, the other thief spoke up, “Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?”  Being this close to the end of his life may have awakened a reality in this man that the other seemed to miss.  None of them would leave these crosses alive.  The Roman soldiers would make sure of that (John 19:31-34).  All of them faced the same outcome.  Or did they?

Was there no fear of God in the first thief, even in this late hour of life?

As the prodigal son did in the pigpen (Luke 15:17), had this second thief finally come to himself and realize the wrongs that undid his life?  Did he question the choices he made that led him to Calvary as well?  Did he see something in Jesus, even in this late hour of his own life –  the man who speaks forgiveness from the place of pain, that he wanted for his own life, what little of it was left?

We don’t have all the answers to the questions or thoughts this man was struggling with on the cross, but we do know that he recognized two things.  First, he recognized his own undone state, that he “justly” was suffering for his “deeds.”  Recognizing personal sin is the first step to true repentance.  Jesus may have been nailed next to him, but he knew what Pilate and Herod already knew: “this man hath done nothing amiss.”

I don’t know how much of Jesus this thief could see physically with his eyes, but with his heart, it appears he had seen enough to believe that even now something better can come from his wasted life.  “And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.”

Others were jeering, mocking, and cursing Him, but this dying thief recognized Jesus by what others missed, addressing Him as “Lord.”  He would die as a consequence of his actions, of this, he was sure, and he accepted that.  At the same time, he also accepted that the One who hung next to him was “Lord.”

To the “Lord” he prayed, “remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.”  He didn’t rile.  He didn’t even suggest to Jesus to be released from his cross.  But when his story was done on this earth, he wanted to be where Jesus was, in His “kingdom.”  As the minutes passed, and the struggle to breathe and endure the pain and humiliation of the cross were getting extremely harder, this thief was looking ahead, with hope, for something better.

His late hour faith in Christ was rewarded with these words from our dying Lord: “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”  Today, Jesus promised him, this will all be over.  Today, this man would be saved once and for all.  Today, Jesus would carry this precious soul to heaven with Him.

Jesus and the Father

Luke 23:44-46 “And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.  And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.  And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.”

Earth responded to the Lord being crucified.  From noon, “the sixth hour”, to three o’clock in the afternoon, “the ninth hour”, “darkness” covered the “earth” (see Amos 8:9).

At this “ninth hour” Jesus cried out from the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).  The nails, the taunts, the pain were incomparable to this feeling of separation between Himself and the Father, a feeling He had never experienced before.  These very words were prophesied to be voiced at this time (Psalm 22:1), as the sin of the world laid literally on the shoulders of Jesus.

Heaven also responded to the crucifixion of our Lord when “the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.”  The need for further sacrifices was no longer there.  Through Jesus Christ, God was making a new way for believing souls to gain access to Him.

Before the cross, Jesus taught that He was the “way” (John 14:6) and the “door of the sheep” (John 10:7).  In John 10:9, Jesus says, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”  There was no longer the need for “the veil of the temple.”  The Good Shepherd gave His life for the sheep (John 10:11), and heaven tore the “veil” because the way has been made:

“God made a way through the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.  To the life that will turn their heart and soul over to Him, He made a way.  “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” (John 14:6).  He is our access key.  He is the one who paved the pathway for us in righteousness and through His blood provided a space for us in His heavenly realm.  If we are His and have turned to Him, there is a place with your name on it in heaven.  A place waiting and wanting to be filled by you, but you must come through Jesus Christ only.” (God Made a Way/WordforLifeSays.com)

Seeing that all was done, every prophecy and command fulfilled, Jesus, spoke, “It is finished” (John 19:30).  Then, to the Father, Jesus cried out, echoing the words of Psalm 31:5, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”  There was nothing left for Him to do.  This portion of His story was written, and written perfectly well, and now it was time for the ending.  The work of the cross was finished.  The Passover Lamb had been crucified.  The price for sin has been paid (Romans 5:8; 6:23; Hebrews 9:12; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

Jesus and the World

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16 isn’t just a wonderful sentiment.  It’s more than a good word spoken to a seeking man by the name of Nicodemus.  John 3:16 was the expressed saving power of God on display in one verse, and Jesus knew that when He died on the cross, when He was lifted “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness” (John 3:14), through His sacrifice, those who believe will find “eternal life” (John 3:15) in Him.  “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17).

Why?  Because, “God so loved the world.” 

Love is God’s great motivation for everything.  From the calling of everything into existence to His moving through history, in all of it, God has operated in the sphere of love.

There is a popular quote that you may have heard before touting, “Love makes people do strange things.”  While love, or man’s idea of love, may have tripped people up and caused confusion over what love really is or how to respond to it, God never had any misgivings.  Anything and everything He did for love was an on-purpose act with a direct point of what He wanted to accomplish, even the death of Christ on the cross.

Love doesn’t make God do strange things.  God’s love does impossible things that only His perfect heart can do.  Although some may not understand the act of sacrificing Your perfect Son for the most unworthy of people, and they may view it through the eyes of limited human knowledge, thinking it strange, God sees it as the only way out for mankind to have a renewed relationship with Him.  God knows that for any man, woman, or child to be redeemed, they need to be reconciled to Him.  Only what Jesus did through the cross, as our Passover Lamb, can do this.  Only God’s love put Jesus there for us, for the “world”, to hang on Calvary’s tree: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16; emphasis mine).

Because of what Jesus Christ has done, we now have “access by faith into this grace,” and we have a reason to “rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2).  Through His sacrifice of blood, He bought the key that would give us an open door to our heavenly Father.  And with everything we face in this life, our promise through Christ stands, and we who “believeth in him” shall have “everlasting life.” 

Thank God for the Lamb!

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” 1 Corinthians 5:7

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Your Heart Wants God

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Many hearts walking around today want God.  Feeling void without Him, they fill it with things they think can satisfy the longing deep within.

More and more, the search goes on to try this and that to fill the place only God can fill.  Attempt after attempt is made to try something, anything, that will occupy the space called your heart.

Friend, this is where God wants to be.  Successes, things, and even people will never be able to do for you what God can do.  All the things we try to put in place and accept into that sacred space of our hearts, outside of Him, will never last, will never fill, and will never bring you to the peace you are truly seeking.

Your heart wants God.  Your heart will never be happy with anything or anyone else. You may not completely understand how it all works, what it all means, or what this is all supposed to look like, but your heart wants God.

All you have to do is invite Him into that sacred space. Yes, you may have questions, and for some of those questions, there may not be an immediate answer revealed to you. But take that simple first step of faith, and trust God enough to let Him come into your life with His love and saving plan even if you do not immediately have all the answers to the questions you are looking for.

Your heart wants God, and Jesus gave us this promise: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20).

Your heart wants God, and all you have to do is open the door and let Him in.  If you do, Jesus said, “I will come in to him.”  He loves you, and in your heart is where He wants to be.

Your heart wants God, and God wants your heart. Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Matthew 22:37).

Even if you do not understand everything, the Bible encourages us to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5,6).

Today, with all sincerity of heart, look to God.  “Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.” (Lamentations 3:41).  “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” (Isaiah 45:22).

Jesus is the only way you will ever find to get to God. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Jesus is the only answer and plan for our spiritual healing. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16, 17).

Today, your heart can have what it genuinely wants.  Turn to God through Jesus Christ and be saved.  Let Him fill your heart as only He can. “For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.” (Psalm 33:21).

“When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.” Psalm 27:8

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“490 Acts of Love!”

 

“Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven,”
Matthew 18:22

Gulp!  Yes, forgiveness in any form can be a hard pill to swallow.  But, let me ask you this.  How many times has God ever said no to us whenever we sought healing and restoration for the wrongs we have done?  Exactly, He hasn’t!

Forgiveness, much like love, is nothing to be played with.  It is not a lip service to please others rather, it is a heart service to the Lord.  It is, in a sense, showing to others the same grace and mercy that God showed toward us.

Immediately following this verse, so that there were no misconceptions about the seriousness of this point that He was making, Jesus sealed it with a story of one who showed mercy and offered forgiveness and one who didn’t:

 “Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” – Matthew 18:23-25

The seriousness of it all really comes to light when Jesus opens up the parable and comparing it to the kingdom of heaven.  Now, why did He go and do that?  Because the story He is about to tell so resembles what occurs in the spiritual realm that it would be easy for the people to relate to.

What would happen if today God sat down and “took account” of all the wrongs we have done?  What would it be like if we stood before Him unable to pay what we owe?  We were there!  Jesus knew the predicament that humanity was in.  He knew that man could never get himself out of the debt of sin, so here He stresses grace, mercy and compassion on those who don’t deserve it.

How often have we withheld those three precious gifts from another because our feelings were hurt?  Believe it or not, it’s the same thing.  We may not have choked out a man, demanding retribution, but if we are withholding the same mercies that God showed us then we are choking that man or woman spiritually and emotionally.

“But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses,” (Matthew 6:15).  God will not allow us to act like that unjust servant.  Love has compelled Him to shower us with love, at all cost to save us, just so that He could forgive us and restore us.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16).

It was an act of love.  An act of love that we now have the responsibility to pay it forward to another.  No, people may not deserve it.  But, then again, neither did we.  It was only through the eyes of a merciful God that we are given another chance.

Tell me, who in your life deserves that second or third or whatever the number may be, chance today?  Forgiveness IS NOT EASY!  But, it is an “Act of Love.”

490, of course, is not a definite number.  It’s a symbol that we are to be unlimited in our willingness to forgive the offence of others against us.  It is the same love; the same “Act of Love” that God showed us.  We have been loved to the point of forgiveness and we called to love in the same way.

The Bible tells us, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8, KJV).  I guarantee, if we were to look at ourselves, we could not fathom how many times our accounts would have gone unpaid had it not been for the blood of Christ.  More than 490 times?  But, thank God, He acted in love to save to us!

 

“Walk In Grace!”

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“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not that of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast,” Ephesians 2:8-9

 

“I don’t deserve it, but Lord I thank You!  I didn’t do anything to earn it, but again, Lord I thank You!”  That’s the feeling the word grace evokes in me.  It’s like walking on the clouds of heaven while here on earth; experiencing release and freedom in all that Christ has secured for me.

Grace is personal.  Though Christ died for all, it has to touch each one on an intimate level.  It takes hold of and absorbs in the spirit of man, this wonderful gift of God.  It allows the one who follows after it to get a glimpse of what it truly may be like in heaven when all the shackles of this earthly bondage are removed.  It is ours, personally and individually, to experience for them that are found in Him.

Isn’t it wonderful – this gift of His?  Isn’t it magnificent that no matter our status in life or how hard we work it can never be earned?  It can never be put in our repertoire of attainments to salvation.  It is a gift!

Gifts are meant to be received.  On a number of occasions my husband and even my children have tried to give me something out of the blue.  While I am very grateful for the consideration that they want to give me something, I often wind up doing a lot of questioning trying to ascertain the reason for them wanting to give it in the first place.  I want to know what I did to deserve it.  “Oh, you don’t have to go through such lengths. And, yada, yada, yada . . .”   In turn, what was a thoughtful expression is now tainted by frustration in the giver.  They become frustrated with me for doing so much questioning instead of just receiving; for implying the only reason I am worthy is become of some work I must have done for them.

Human perception of this kind of outpouring of love has been marred by this sinful world.  In it dwells the attitude of “if you do for me, then I’ll do for you.”  “If you scratch my back, then I’ll scratch yours.”  It is hard for one to believe in a motivation of pure love; to believe that one would give just because they love.

Paul laid the truth out for us.  “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespass and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lust of our flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others,” (Ephesians 2:1-3).  We were “by nature children of wrath.”  In other words, we were no good, no goods who deserved absolutely nothing.

Verse 4 steps in and shows the love of God at work.  “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.”  He didn’t do it for us because of some great checklist we marked off as job complete, now I deserve this.  His love gave us the gift to receive, “Not of works, lest any man should boast,” (vs. 9).  “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus,” (vs. 7).

This is one of those lessons that you really have to let the Word speak for itself, lest mankind try to put their own spin on it.  God loves us!  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16).  When we accept that love and are saved through Christ, then we have an opened door to accept the gift of grace along with it.  I depend on His grace daily!  I choose to “WALK IN GRACE” today.  It’s a choice.  Read the entire chapter 2 of Ephesians.  See what you were and what He has made you now.  See where you were, and now where He wants to take you.  Compare what you did to what He has done for you.  Now, CELEBRATE! AND, WALK IN THE GRACE HE GIVES. 

 

“490 Acts of Love!”

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Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven,” Matthew 18:22, KJV

Gulp!  Yes, forgiveness in any form can be a hard pill to swallow.  But, let me ask you this.  How many times has God said no to us whenever we sought healing and restoration for the wrongs we have done?  Exactly, He hasn’t!

Forgiveness, much like love, is nothing to be played with.  It is not a lip service to please others rather, it is a heart service to the Lord.  It is, in a sense, showing to others the same grace and mercy that God showed toward us.

Immediately following this verse, so that there were no misconceptions about the seriousness of this point that He was making, Jesus sealed it with a story of one who showed mercy and offered forgiveness and one who didn’t:

 “Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” – Matthew 18:23-25, KJV

The seriousness of it all really comes to light when Jesus opens up the parable and comparing it to the kingdom of heaven.  Now, why did He go and do that?  Because the story He is about to tell so resembles what occurs in the spiritual realm that it would be easy for the people to relate to.

What would happen if today God sat down and “took account” of all the wrongs we have done?  What would it be like if we stood before Him unable to pay what we owe?  We were there!  Jesus knew the predicament that humanity was in.  He knew that man could never get himself out of the debt of sin, so here He stresses grace, mercy and compassion on those who don’t deserve it.

How often have we withheld those three precious gifts from another because our feelings were hurt?  Believe it or not, it’s the same thing.  We may not have choked out a man, demanding retribution, but if we are withholding the same mercies that God showed us than we are choking that man spiritually and emotionally.

“But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses,” (Matthew 6:15, KJV).  God will not allow us to act like that unjust servant.  Love has compelled Him to shower us love, at all cost to save us, just so that He could forgive us and restore us.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16, KJV).

It was an act of love.  An act of love that we now have the responsibility to pay it forward to another.  No, people may not deserve it.  But, then again, neither did we.  It was only through the eyes of a merciful God that we are given another chance.

Tell me, who in your life deserves that second or third or whatever the number may be, chance today?  Forgiveness IS NOT EASY!  But, it is an “Act of Love.”

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8, KJV).  I guarantee, if we were to look at ourselves, we could not fathom how many times our accounts would have gone unpaid had it not been for the blood of Christ.  More that 490 times?  But, thank God, He acted in love to save to us!

 

“Walk In Grace!”

My Project 228-001

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not that of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast,” Ephesians 2:8-9

 

“I don’t deserve it, but Lord I thank You!  I didn’t do anything to earn it, but again, Lord I thank You!”  That’s the feeling the word grace evokes in me.  It’s like walking on the clouds of heaven while here on earth; experiencing release and freedom in all that Christ has secured for me.

Grace is personal.  Though Christ died for all, it has to touch one on a more intimate level.  It takes hold of and absorbs in the spirit of man, this wonderful gift of God.  It allows the one who follows after it to get a glimpse of what it truly may be like in heaven when all the shackles of this earthly bondage are removed.  It is ours, personally and individually, to experience for them that are found in Him.

Isn’t it wonderful – this gift of His?  Isn’t it magnificent that no matter our status in life or how hard we work it can never be earned?  It can never be put in our repertoire of attainments to salvation.  It is a gift!

Gifts are meant to be received.  On a number of occasions my husband and even my daughters have tried to give me something out of the blue.  I’m an at home mom and often these gifts come in the form of money.  While I am very grateful for the consideration that they want to give me something, I wind up doing a lot of questioning to try to ascertain the reason for them wanting to give it in the first place.  I want to know what I did to deserve it.  “Oh, you don’t have to go through such lengths. And, yada, yada, yada . . .”   In turn, what was a thoughtful expression is now tainted by frustration in the giver.  They become frustrated with me for doing so much questioning instead of just receiving; for implying the only reason I am worthy is become of some work I must have done for them.

Human perception of this kind of outpouring of love has been marred by this sinful world.  In it dwells the attitude of “if you do for me, then I’ll do for you.”  “If you scratch my back, then I’ll scratch yours.”  It is hard for one to believe in a motivation of pure love; to believe that one would give just because they love.

Paul laid the truth out for us.  “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespass and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lust of our flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others,” (Ephesians 2:1-3).  We were “by nature children of wrath.”  In other words, we were no good, no goods who deserved absolutely nothing.

Verse 4 steps in and shows the love of God at work.  “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.”  He didn’t do it for us because of some great checklist we marked off as job complete, now I deserve this.  His love gave us the gift to receive, “Not of works, lest any man should boast,” (vs. 9).  “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus,” (vs. 7).

This is one of those lessons that you really have to let the Word speak for itself, lest mankind try to put their own spin on it.  God loves us!  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16).  When we accept that love and are saved through Christ, then we have an opened door to accept the gift of grace along with it.  I depend on His grace daily!  I choose to “WALK IN GRACE” today.  It’s a choice.  Read the entire chapter 2 of Ephesians.  See what you were and what He has made you now.  See where you were, and now where He wants to take you.  Compare what you did to what He has done for you.  Now, CELEBRATE! AND, WALK IN THE GRACE HE GIVES!

 

“Walk In Grace!”

My Project 228-001

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not that of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast,” Ephesians 2:8-9

 

“I don’t deserve it, but Lord I thank You!  I didn’t do anything to earn it, but again, Lord I thank You!”  That’s the feeling the word grace evokes in me.  It’s like walking on the clouds of heaven while here on earth; experiencing release and freedom in all that Christ has secured for me.

Grace is personal.  Though Christ died for all, it has to touch one on a more intimate level.  It takes hold of and absorbs in the spirit of man, this wonderful gift of God.  It allows the one who follows after it to get a glimpse of what it truly may be like in heaven when all the shackles of this earthly bondage are removed.  It is ours, personally and individually, to experience for them that are found in Him.

Isn’t it wonderful – this gift of His?  Isn’t it magnificent that no matter our status in life or how hard we work it can never be earned?  It can never be put in our repertoire of attainments to salvation.  It is a gift!

Gifts are meant to be received.  On a number of occasions my husband and even my daughters have tried to give me something out of the blue.  I’m an at home mom and often these gifts come in the form of money.  While I am very grateful for the consideration that they want to give me something, I wind up doing a lot of questioning to try to ascertain the reason for them wanting to give it in the first place.  I want to know what I did to deserve it.  “Oh, you don’t have to go through such lengths. And, yada, yada, yada . . .”   In turn, what was a thoughtful expression is now tainted by frustration in the giver.  They become frustrated with me for doing so much questioning instead of just receiving; for implying the only reason I am worthy is become of some work I must have done for them.

Human perception of this kind of outpouring of love has been marred by this sinful world.  In it dwells the attitude of “if you do for me, then I’ll do for you.”  “If you scratch my back, then I’ll scratch yours.”  It is hard for one to believe in a motivation of pure love; to believe that one would give just because they love.

Paul laid the truth out for us.  “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespass and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lust of our flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others,” (Ephesians 2:1-3).  We were “by nature children of wrath.”  In other words, we were no good, no goods who deserved absolutely nothing.

Verse 4 steps in and shows the love of God at work.  “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.”  He didn’t do it for us because of some great checklist we marked off as job complete, now I deserve this.  His love gave us the gift to receive, “Not of works, lest any man should boast,” (vs. 9).  “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus,” (vs. 7).

This is one of those lessons that you really have to let the Word speak for itself, lest mankind try to put their own spin on it.  God loves us!  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16).  When we accept that love and are saved through Christ, then we have an opened door to accept the gift of grace along with it.  I depend on His grace daily!  I choose to “WALK IN GRACE” today.  It’s a choice.  Read the entire chapter 2 of Ephesians.  See what you were and what He has made you now.  See where you were, and now where He wants to take you.  Compare what you did to what He has done for you.  Now, CELEBRATE! AND, WALK IN THE GRACE HE GIVES!