His Voice

Re:Verse passage – John 20:1-18 (day seven)  

Jesus said to her, “Mary!” vs 16a

Mary didn’t initially recognize that it was Jesus who was talking to her. Perhaps she was still in shock, stricken by grief. How could it have been Jesus? She was there at the cross. She watched Him die. But when He said her name, it was unmistakable. She knew His voice. She knew this was real.

To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. John 10:3-4

Do you know His voice? Have you heard it? When you hear the voice of the Lord calling out your name, it is unmistakable. He calls each of us by name to trust Him as our Savior. Yet, it doesn’t stop at salvation. You will often hear it when you are running too fast in the wrong direction. You will hear it when you need encouragement. You will hear it when He is calling you to a special task. Maybe even now you will hear him calling out your name. When you hear it, you will know His Voice. When you hear it, you will know this is real. You will know, because you are His.

In a Garden

Re:Verse passage – John 19:38-42 (day seven)

Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. vs 41

In a garden an Innocent Man was arrested. In a garden an Innocent Man was put to death. In a garden an Innocent Man was laid to rest.

For He was there when it all began, in another garden in another land. He watched as Satan spun a curse on man.

In a garden that curse was lifted. In a garden death was put to death. In a garden death was laid to rest.

For He was the Adam we were supposed to be. It was our sin that put Him on that tree. Yet, He bore it all to prepare a garden for me.

In His garden Eden will be restored. In His garden there will be no more death. In His garden we will all find rest.

Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life. Revelation 22:1-2

Bones

Re:Verse passage – John 19:31-37 (day seven)

A command from the very first Passover and reiterated by the psalmist:

He keeps all his bones,
Not one of them is broken. Psalm 34:20

This may not mean much to us, but to John and the other followers looking on, this is a moment of hope in day of despair. This is where it begins to click. This is the Passover Lamb. This Passover Lamb is The Lord. Even if our heart stops beating, He can bring dry bones to life.

Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life.’ Ezekiel 37:5

His body may be broken, but His bones tell a different story. Sunday is coming. He will bring His own dry bones to life. There may be scars on His hands, but He will run out of that grave on unbroken legs!

Born to Die

Re:Verse passage – John 19:28-30 (day seven) 

... knowing that all things had already been accomplished. vs 28

Jesus was born to die. This was the reason for the incarnation. God offered His Only Begotten Son to earth so that His people could become His children. As fully God, Christ could not accomplish what needed to be done. He could not die for sinners. He had to be born a man. Fully God, fully man. This was the only way it could be accomplished. Jesus was born to die.

Jesus was born to die so that we could live. The cloud of sin that prohibited us from having communion with God was lifted as the veil was torn. As the prophecy goes, His name will be called Immanuel. He became God with us so that He could always be God with us. Jesus was born to die so we could live with Him. Mission Accomplished.

Hebrews 2:14-15

Bear the Cross

Re:Verse passage – John 19:17-27 (day seven)

They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. vs 17

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” Luke 9:23 

This was probably the moment it all began to sink in for the disciples. Here is Jesus, taking up a heavy cross and dragging it to the top of the mountain. Those who were watching were probably reliving these words in their mind saying, “Is this really what He meant? Is this what He was calling us to do?” It was, and they did. Extrabiblical sources would tell us that many of them did take up a cross or something similar as all of them but John (exiled) were martyred for their belief in the Risen King.

How will you take up your cross? This burden is not light. That daily act of self denial is difficult and goes against the sinful nature that is pushing back inside of us. As we enter into this new year, how will you follow Jesus more closely? Will you take up your cross daily? Will you deny yourself and submit to Him every day? Let us all instill habits now that will lead us closer to Jesus in 2023! Happy New Year!

The King is Born

Re:Verse passage – John 19:5-16 (day seven)

The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.  1 Samuel 8:7

We asked The King for another king, and he delivered, but another king could not be The King that we needed. The imperfection of mankind does not lend itself to being capable of true Kingship. The Perfect and Sovereign King knew our plight, so He sent His Son to be our King.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;  for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  Luke 2:10-11

Immanuel! God with us! This was the Perfect King. The very King we needed, but even this King was rejected because He was not the King we expected.

Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” John 19:15b

If the chief priests believe they have no other king but Caesar, then they have not only rejected Jesus as the Messiah, but they have rejected The Lord as their King.

Today we celebrate the birth of a King as the angels proclaimed in Luke 2. There are still those who reject Him, but we do not. We perceive His power. We worship His wisdom. We praise His Holy Name. We have no King but Jesus!

The Battle Begins

Re:Verse passage – John 19:1-5 (day seven)

“Hail, King of the Jews!”

The actions of the Roman soldiers in this passage makes me believe that this was not the first time they had quelled a “rebellion.” Their actions were swift and rehearsed. Their props were ready and nearby. The goal was to make the “king” appear weak and defeated in hopes that his followers would scatter.

“Behold, the Man!”

Pilate hoped this would be sufficient for the crowd. He thought he could present Jesus as a defeated king. He thought they would have sympathy and be satisfied by Jesus’ scourging. He thought it would end there.

Could it have ended there? Sure… all Jesus would have had to do was claim He was not the Messiah. If He stood before the religious leaders, a defeated king, and admitted His defeat and rebutted His claims, He probably could have been freed. Yet, Jesus stood His ground. He was the Messiah, He is the King and He will not be defeated. The battle has just begun!

Coward

Re:Verse passage – John 18:33-40 (day seven) 

“I find no guilt in Him. But…” vs 38-39

Why the need for the “But” Pilate? If you found no guilt in Him, then why didn’t you let Him go free?  If you thought He was innocent, then why did you offer Barabbas? If He was no threat to your kingdom, then why did you give the people the one person who did try to overthrow your kingdom? Why were you a coward Pilate?

I guess you wanted the easy way out. You thought you could bring Him before the crowd and they would surely choose a king over a criminal. You wanted to do the right thing and not have to suffer the consequences, so you took the cowards way out and continued to cower all the way to the cross. All this because you thought it would cost you power. You knew Jesus was innocent. Why didn’t you stop it?

Leaders do not cower. Leaders do not look for the easy way out. Leaders do the right thing… even if it costs them everything!

Recognizable

Re:Verse passage – John 18:15-18, 25-27 (day seven)

Then the slave-girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” vs 15

His plan was good on paper. Blend in. Don’t get caught. What Peter didn’t realize was that his association with Jesus was already known. People were watching Jesus and this group of ragtag disciples. It is likely that Peter was a polarizing member of this group making him easily recognizable, but something also stands out to me that is written about Peter days later.

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John […]  they recognized that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:15 ESV

When you have been with Jesus, people can tell. Even in the midst of denying Christ, people could not deny that Peter had been with Christ. People are watching you too. Some are waiting for you to fail so that they can leave it all behind. Others are waiting for you to bring them along and show them the way. If we cannot deny that we have been with Christ, then what message are our actions showing about His impact on our lives?

Sobriety

Re:Verse passage – 1 Peter 5:7-14 (day seven)

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. vs 8

Most people hear the word “sober” and instantly think of intoxication. The Bible is clear that sobriety goes beyond substances; it is a way of life. Being of a sober mind and spirit is to allow every decision you make to be filtered through an eternal lens. With eternity in view, you see the world as it is supposed to be, as God intended.

Just like an intoxicating substance, the pleasures of this earth can impair our judgement, allowing for a foothold for Satan to grab onto. Losing sight of eternity leaves us vulnerable to more of his earthly attacks, so what must we do to remain sober in mind and spirit?

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8