The Glory of the Cross

Today: The Glory of the Cross: a Holy Week reflection and prayer guide to prepare our hearts and minds for Easter. Curated by The Park Forum.

Psalm 4.4
Ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah

Who Put Jesus On The Cross (an excerpt) | by A.W. Tozer

Our Lord Jesus Christ “was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

For our iniquities and our transgressions He was bruised and wounded. I do not even like to tell you of the implications of His wounding. It really means that He was profaned and broken, stained and defiled. He was Jesus Christ when men took Him into their evil hands. Soon He was humiliated and profaned. They plucked out His beard. He was stained with His own blood, defiled with earth’s grime. Yet He accused no one and He cursed no one. He was Jesus Christ, the wounded One.

He was profaned for our sakes. He who is the second Person of the Godhead was not only wounded for us, but He was also profaned by ignorant and unworthy men. Isaiah reported that “the chastisement of our peace was upon him.”

But the suffering of Jesus Christ was not punitive. It was not for Himself and not for punishment of anything that He Himself had done.

The suffering of Jesus was corrective. He was willing to suffer in order that He might correct us and perfect us, so that His suffering might not begin and end in suffering, but that it might begin in suffering and end in healing.

Brethren, that is the glory of the cross! That is the glory of the kind of sacrifice that was for so long in the heart of God! That is the glory of the kind of atonement that allows a repentant sinner to come into peaceful and gracious fellowship with his God and Creator! 

It began in His suffering and it ended in our healing. It began in His wounds and ended in our purification. It began in His bruises and ended in our cleansing.

Lenten Evening Prayer: The Daily Examen
1. Opening prayer of invitation: become aware of God’s presence (2 minutes).
2. Review the day with gratitude (3 minutes).
3. Pay attention to your emotions (3 minutes).
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it (5 minutes).
5. Closing prayer: look toward tomorrow (2 minutes).

Today’s Readings
Leviticus 5 (Listen – 3:35)
Psalms 3-4 (Listen – 1:56)

Holy Week Reflections
Part 4 of 5, read more on TheParkForum.org

___________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ___________________________________

What is Truth?

Today: What is Truth? — a Holy Week reflection and prayer guide to prepare our hearts and minds for Easter. Curated by The Park Forum.

Psalm 2.1-2
Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together.

Our Lord’s First Appearance Before Pilate
By Charles Haddon Spurgeon (an excerpt)

Our Lord also said that his kingdom came not from this world; it is a substantial kingdom, but it did not spring from the same sources as the kingdoms of the world, neither is it supported, maintained, or increased by the same power as that which the kingdoms of the world depend upon. 

Christ’s kingdom does not depend upon the force of arms: he would have his followers lay these weapons all aside. Christ’s kingdom does not depend, as earthly kingdoms too often do, upon craft, policy, and duplicity. 

He comes to bear witness to the truth, and it is by the truth, not by force nor by craft, that his throne is established among the sons of men, and therefore it is not from this world.

The Master tells us that the main force and power of his kingdom lies in the truth. 

He came to be a King, but where is his scepter? The truth. Where is his sword? It cometh out of his mouth: he bears witness to the truth. Where are his soldiers? They are men of truth. 

Poor Pilate, he did not understand our Lord, even as the men of this world understand not the kingdom of Christ. He said to him, “What is truth?” and without waiting for a reply he went out to the Jews. (John 18.38)

Shun all proud worldliness like that of Pilate. Pilate treats the whole matter cavalierly; he is a proud and haughty Roman; he hates the people whom he governs, and though he has a conscience, and at the first he shows a tenderness towards his prisoner, yet his chief end and aim was to keep his office and amass money, and therefore innocent blood must be spilt. 

He must please the Jews, even if he murder the “Just One.” This selfish worldliness in which a man makes his gold and himself his god always treats religion with contempt. The man minds the main chance, and sneeringly cries, “What is truth?” He knows what money is and what power is, but what is truth? It is a dream, a folly to him, and he despises it.

Lenten Evening Prayer: The Daily Examen
1. Opening prayer of invitation: become aware of God’s presence (2 minutes).
2. Review the day with gratitude (3 minutes).
3. Pay attention to your emotions (3 minutes).
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it (5 minutes).
5. Closing prayer: look toward tomorrow (2 minutes).

Today’s Readings
Leviticus 4 (Listen – 5:17)
Psalms 1-2 (Listen – 2:05)

Holy Week Reflections
Part 3 of 5, read more on TheParkForum.org

___________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ___________________________________

The Divine Mystery Of That Cross

Today: The Divine Mystery Of That Cross: a Holy Week reflection and prayer guide to prepare our hearts and minds for Easter. Curated by The Park Forum.

Leviticus 2.6-8
[God said,] “If you offer an animal from the flock as a fellowship offering to the LORD, you are to offer a male or female without defect. If you offer a lamb, you are to present it before the LORD, lay your hand on its head and slaughter it in front of the tent of meeting. Then Aaron’s sons shall splash its blood against the sides of the altar.”

Christ Alone Suffered Death (an excerpt) | by Ambrose of Milan

O the divine mystery of that cross, on which weakness hangs, might is free, vices are nailed, and triumphal trophies raised. For Christ died for us, that we might live in His revived Body. Therefore not our life but our guilt died in Him, “Who,” it is said, “bare our sins in His own Body on the tree; that being set free from our sins we might live in righteousness, by the wound of Whose stripes we are healed.”

That wood of the cross is, then, as it were a kind of ship of our salvation, our passage, not a punishment, for there is no other salvation but the passage of eternal salvation. While expecting death I do not feel it; while thinking little of punishment I do not suffer; while careless of fear I know it not.

Who, then, is He by the wound of Whose “stripes we are healed,” but Christ the Lord? Of Whom Isaiah also prophesied His stripes were our healing, of Whom Paul the Apostle wrote in his epistle: “Who knew no sin, but was made sin for us.” 

That we may know that this mystery of the common redemption was most clearly revealed by the prophets, you have also in this place: “Behold, it has taken away your sins;” not that Christ put aside His sins Who did no sin, but that in the flesh of Christ the whole human race should be loosed from their sins.

Lenten Evening Prayer: The Daily Examen
1. Opening prayer of invitation: become aware of God’s presence (2 minutes).
2. Review the day with gratitude (3 minutes).
3. Pay attention to your emotions (3 minutes).
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it (5 minutes).
5. Closing prayer: look toward tomorrow (2 minutes).

Today’s Readings
Leviticus 2-3 (Listen – 4:43)
John 21 (Listen – 3:58)

Holy Week Reflections
Part 2 of 5, read more on TheParkForum.org

___________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ___________________________________

The Remedy for a Disquieted Soul

Today: The Remedy for a Disquieted Soul: a Holy Week reflection and prayer guide to prepare our hearts and minds for Easter. Curated by The Park Forum.

John 20.19
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus (an excerpt) | by Don Carson

It is vital to recognize that the peace Jesus gives is not a kind of placid tranquility which avoids all conflict. Jesus himself is heading for the cross; yet he speaks of his peace. 

Similarly, the peace Jesus promises does not avoid trouble; it triumphs over it. Nor is this peace to be confused with aloofness that is indifferent to injustice, corruption, idolatry, or some other sin. It is not simply “feeling good” in some narcissistic way, nor is it some mystical sense of well-being detached from physical and spiritual realities.

The world wishes peace on people. Yet for all its wishing, the world cannot grant the gift of personal peace, but only wish it on someone. At most, it can achieve reconciliation between brothers or between nations; and even then the achievement often proves temporary. 

Christ, by contrast, bequeaths the gift of peace on all his followers, bestowing it as an essential part of the salvation he achieves for them. The cross wins peace with God. The forgiveness, restoration, and healing which flow from this primary peace constitute the only adequate basis for peace with others, and for personal peace within ourselves.

So much of our restlessness and bitterness springs from our possessiveness, our desire for preeminence, our lust for recognition. Our love for self is so strong that it turns to hatred for others who do not give us what we think is our due. 

There is no peace where such sins flourish. Jesus betrayed no possessiveness. He desired his Father’s glory and will, not personal preeminence and popular recognition. Far from loving his life, he gave it up for others—indeed, for others who did not begin to offer him what was his due. And so Jesus could speak of his peace.

Lenten Evening Prayer: The Daily Examen
1. Opening prayer of invitation: become aware of God’s presence (2 minutes).
2. Review the day with gratitude (3 minutes).
3. Pay attention to your emotions (3 minutes).
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it (5 minutes).
5. Closing prayer: look toward tomorrow (2 minutes).

Today’s Readings
Leviticus 1 (0 – 2:37)
John 20 (Listen – 4:17)

Holy Week Reflections
Part 1 of 5, read more on TheParkForum.org

___________________

FAQs

How can I make a tax-deductible donation? Click here.
How can I get these devotionals in my inbox? Click here.
What is the reading plan this blog is based on? Click here.

 ___________________________________