Saturday, April 03, 2010

Day of Prayer and Fasting--Easter 2010, Part 2

Guest blogger: Patsy Weinberg


Noon


The disciples were first fast asleep, then fast afoot.

Herod wanted a show.

Pilate wanted out.

And the soldiers? They wanted blood…

The whipping was the first deed of the soldiers.The crucifixion was the third. Though his back was ribboned with wounds, the soldiers loaded the crossbeam on Jesus' shoulders and marched him to the Place of the Skull and executed him. (He Chose the Nails, 15-16)


We don’t fault the soldiers for these two actions. After all, they were just following orders. But what’s hard to understand is what they did in between. (Nails, 16)


Read Matthew 27: 26-31.


The soldiers’ assignment was simple: Take the Nazarene to the hill and kill him. But they had another idea. They wanted to have some fun first. Strong, rested, armed soldiers encircled an exhausted, nearly dead, Galilean carpenter and beat up on him. The scourging was commanded. The crucifixion was ordered. But who would draw pleasure out of spitting on a half-dead man?


Spitting isn’t intended to hurt the body—it can’t. Spitting is intended to degrade the soul, and it does. What were the soldiers doing? Were they not elevating themselves at the expense of another? They felt big by making Christ look small.


Ever done that? Maybe you’ve never spit on anyone, but have you gossiped? Slandered? Have you ever raised your hand in anger or rolled your eyes in arrogance? Have you ever blasted your high beams in someone’s rear view mirror? Ever made someone feel bad so you would feel good?

That’s what the soldiers did to Jesus. When you and I do the same, we do it to Jesus too (Matthew 25: 40)…We must face the fact that there is something beastly within each and every one of us. Something beastly that makes us do things that surprise even us….Haven’t you reflected on an act and wondered, “What got into me?"


The Bible has a three-letter answer for that question: S-I-N. There is something bad—beastly—within each of us. We are “by nature children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3 nasb). It is not that we can’t do good. We do. It’s just that we can’t keep from doing bad. (Nails, 16-17)


Then we have a problem: We are sinners, and “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23 niv).

We have a problem: We are evil, and “Evil people are paid with punishment” (Prov. 10:16).

What can we do? Allow the spit of the soldiers to symbolize the filth in our lives. And then observe what Jesus does with our filth. He carries it to the cross. (Nails, 18)


In the fable (Beauty and the Beast), the beauty kisses the beast. In the Bible, the Beauty does much more. He becomes the beast so the beast can become the beauty. Jesus changes places with us (Gal. 3:13)...What if the Beauty had not come? What if the Beauty had not cared? Then we would have remained a beast. But the Beauty did come, and the Beauty did care...The sinless One took on the face of a sinner so that we sinners could take on the face of a saint. (Nails, 20)


Spend time praying, “Thank you, Jesus, for becoming my sin of ___”. Go into detail. Close your prayer time by praying, “Thank you for healing me. Thank you for choosing to give me your beauty."

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