Ever been in a situation where the penalty handed out seem harsh, too harsh maybe? Ever been in a situation where the decision made about what to do seemed too extreme? We know that in this world we will face many trial, but we also have been told to consider it pure joy for they work to make us complete and lacking nothing. We know that in this world we will face many troubles, but we also have the confirmation that we don’t need to lose hope because Jesus has overcome the world! Have you ever received a punishment or penalty or something where it felt extreme and didn’t fit the situation? Trust in God for He can take what the devil planned for evil and turn it around and use it for good. God’s plans are for good! God’s purpose is to give us a hope and a future!
I remember one case, but because I had learned the power of bitterness to tear me apart and the power of forgiveness to bring healing, I forgave them and worked to move forward not wanting to get myself into a downward spiral. Choose life! Choose forgiveness! Choose to move forward and trust God!
Today’s reading speaks of a situation where it happens to Jesus…
Jesus Is Sentenced to Death
(Matthew 27.15-26; Mark 15.6-15; John 18.39—19.16)
13Pilate called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people, 14and said to them, “You brought this man to me and said that he was misleading the people. Now, I have examined him here in your presence, and I have not found him guilty of any of the crimes you accuse him of. 15Nor did Herod find him guilty, for he sent him back to us. There is nothing this man has done to deserve death. 16So I will have him whipped and let him go.” 18The whole crowd cried out, “Kill him! Set Barabbas free for us!” ( 19Barabbas had been put in prison for a riot that had taken place in the city, and for murder.) 20Pilate wanted to set Jesus free, so he appealed to the crowd again. 21But they shouted back, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” 22Pilate said to them the third time, “But what crime has he committed? I cannot find anything he has done to deserve death! I will have him whipped and set him free.” 23But they kept on shouting at the top of their voices that Jesus should be crucified, and finally their shouting succeeded. 24So Pilate passed the sentence on Jesus that they were asking for. 25He set free the man they wanted, the one who had been put in prison for riot and murder, and he handed Jesus over for them to do as they wished. –from Luke 23
In the moment it sounds harsh and crazy. When you know the rest of the story and God’s plan for redemption and that Jesus rose on the 3rd day and has ascended into Heaven and is sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for you and me, then we realize God knew what He was doing and His plans are better than our plans and His ways are better than our ways. Let’s be living sacrifices to God! Let’s allow our living to be worship to God in all we say and do!
Earthly and Heavenly Worship
1The first covenant had rules for worship and a place made for worship as well. 2A tent was put up, the outer one, which was called the Holy Place. In it were the lampstand and the table with the bread offered to God. 3Behind the second curtain was the tent called the Most Holy Place. 4In it were the gold altar for the burning of incense and the Covenant Box all covered with gold and containing the gold jar with the manna in it, Aaron’s stick that had sprouted leaves, and the two stone tablets with the commandments written on them. 5Above the Box were the winged creatures representing God’s presence, with their wings spread over the place where sins were forgiven. But now is not the time to explain everything in detail. 6This is how those things have been arranged. The priests go into the outer tent every day to perform their duties, 7but only the high priest goes into the inner tent, and he does so only once a year. He takes with him blood which he offers to God on behalf of himself and for the sins which the people have committed without knowing they were sinning. 8The Holy Spirit clearly teaches from all these arrangements that the way into the Most Holy Place has not yet been opened as long as the outer tent still stands. 9This is a symbol which points to the present time. It means that the offerings and animal sacrifices presented to God cannot make the worshiper’s heart perfect, 10since they have to do only with food, drink, and various purification ceremonies. These are all outward rules, which apply only until the time when God will establish the new order. –from Hebrews 9
Let’s live each moment of each day in the presence of God! Let’s talk and walk with the Holy Spirit in and thru every event of today! Let’s not be distracted by the things of this world, but rather let’s live our lives to glorify God and to in relationship with God every step of every moment of every day! By letting the Holy Spirit work in and through us from the inside out and so that the outside is a reflection of the work of God inside of us, let’s live lives that point people to the hope and the truth and the love of God through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!
And when we need wisdom, turn to God and His Word! Ask for wisdom and He will provide it generously without finding fault!
Today’s reading continues into Proverbs…
15Patient persuasion can break down the strongest resistance and can even convince rulers. 16Never eat more honey than you need; too much may make you vomit. 17Don’t visit your neighbors too often; they may get tired of you and come to hate you. 18A false accusation is as deadly as a sword, a club, or a sharp arrow. 19Depending on an unreliable person in a crisis is like trying to chew with a loose tooth or walk with a crippled foot. 20Singing to a person who is depressed is like taking off a person’s clothes on a cold day or like rubbing salt in a wound. 21If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them a drink. 22You will make them burn with shame, and the Lord will reward you. 23Gossip brings anger just as surely as the north wind brings rain. 24Better to live on the roof than share the house with a nagging wife. 25Finally hearing good news from a distant land is like a drink of cold water when you are dry and thirsty. 26A good person who gives in to someone who is evil reminds you of a polluted spring or a poisoned well. 27Too much honey is bad for you, and so is trying to win too much praise. 28If you cannot control your anger, you are as helpless as a city without walls, open to attack. –from Proverbs 25