Daily Radio Bible Podcast
A GRAND EXOUS IS UNDERWAY
Today’s readings are Nehemiah 3 – 4 and Luke 23. We are reading from the New Living Translation.
So many chara Pilate, Herod, Barnabas, grief-stricken women, the mob, thieves, Simon the cross-bearer, and soldiers at the foot of the cross. Luke floods this scene with everyone, except his followers – his disciples. They are conspicuously absent from Luke’s story. But in their absence, emerge other unlikely characters, others who would seem to see through the horrors of this Friday, to something good. Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, and a group of women, would come. These three emerge in the absence even as the disciples fail to. Many failed to see, in the cross, anything good. All they could see was their loss – the loss of their aspirations, ambitions, their power, and position. They viewed the cross through their own eyes and not through the Scriptures or the words of Jesus, himself. Jesus had told them repeatedly, the things that were about to happen to him.
When we fail to see through the eyes of Scripture and the words of Jesus, all we will see is loss. When we view the suffering of God, or even our own suffering, through our own eyes, and not through the Scriptures, we will inevitably cower away, just like they did, in fear and self-pity. We will be be conspicuously absent from what God is seeking to show and give us.
These three were drawn to the cross. Even though they didn’t fully understand its significance they still came. They stood before Him on the cross, and they bore witness to the love of God – a love that declares forgiveness. Because these three remained at the cross when others turned away, they were given the awesome honor of honoring the body of Christ in his death. They took his body down, wrapped it in linen cloth and lovingly placed it in a tomb. That honor would result in a first row seat in the resurrection life that would soon be offered to all who were willing to come to the cross. Forgiveness and Life would be offered to all who would view the sufferings of Christ through the Scriptures and not just through their own eyes.
Surrounding the cross are a flood of this world’s characters: the pious, the rabble, those that take a look and then run away, and even those who we think ought to be there but are not. We are all confronted and given an opportunity to view, through the Scriptures, this cross and this Man. We are invited to receive His love. It is offered to all who are willing to come and be forgiven – to all who receive His words spoken over their lives. They are the same words He spoke on the cross, Father, forgive them. (Lk 23:34 NLT)
If we look at the cross through the Scripture we will see something good happening on that Good Friday. We will see what God is up to. We will hear what Nicodemus heard. Years before, Nicodemus had gone to see Jesus in the dark of night. Jesus told him,
And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. (Jn 3:14-15 NLT)
Maybe it was these words that ran through Nicodemus’ mind when he saw Jesus on the cross. Maybe it was Nicodemus who was one of the first to truly be born again.
Look at the cross through the Scriptures, like Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathea, and the women who faithfully served him. Look at your own sufferings in light of the Scriptures, the resurrection and in light of what God has given to us, in Christ. As you do this, you’ll have a first-row seat in resurrection life, and you will know His love.
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