“…to their loss they
are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public
disgrace.” Hebrews 6:6
Our Sunday School teacher ended
the class by passing out 8” spikes. “Take this nail home and put it somewhere
that you can see it every morning. Then, every time you see it, remember and
ask yourself this question: ‘Today I will crucify someone. Will it be myself,
or will it be Christ.’”
I’m sure no true Christian wants
to re-crucify the Lord we love—but do we? The spirit is willing, but the flesh
How do we treat the people He
loves and died for? Do we serve them? Do we, His hands, His feet, His voice,
love them as He loved them? Do we love and serve Him?
His answer? “As you have done it
to the least of these, so you have done it unto Me.”
We are living sacrifices, and
every decision we make has Kingdom consequences. How do we spend our time here
at the end of time? How do we spend our talents, our energy? TV, computer
games, social media, sports, workouts, hobbies, kicking back with whatever
And yeah, I’m preaching to myself
None of these things are wrong in
themselves. Many of them are even ways to build bridges and serve—but we must
examine our motives, and we must count the cost. Everything is permissible—we
are no longer under the Law, but under grace—but not everything is beneficial. Do
our choices drain us? Do they rob us of time with God? Do they waste
Tim Hansel wrote that the trouble
with a living sacrifice is that it keeps crawling off the altar, for good
reason. Living sacrifices. Sounds
likes pain. Sounds humanly impossible—and it is.
The good news is that we don’t
have to do it alone.
Avi, I’m not good at this sacrifice business. I see the end
of my strength, and I hoard what’s left. Time flies like the wind, and the less
there is, the faster it flies. I see the end of my days fast approaching. Help
me to keep my eyes on You, the Master of the Wind, and not on the hurricane.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our
faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 NIV
Watching "The Easter Experience”, video series by Kyle
Idleman, number whatever, the beating of Jesus dramatized.
The pole, complete with chain and wrist cuffs. The many-tailed
flagellum with its embedded stones and razor-sharp pieces of bone floating
through the air in slow motion. The shredded, bloody back.
The women, grief-stricken. One soldier puzzled,
questioning. Others callow, joking, scarfing down food as they watched.
The face of Jesus: grief, pity, determination; the
recoil of pain as the crown of thorns was pressed onto His head and soldiers
bowed in a mockery of worship.
Arrogant Pharisees, satisfied that they had Him at
The camera pans from sight to sight in silence.
The silence is broken by the voice of a child singing:
“Baruch ata, Adonai, Elohenu, Adonai echad…” (Blessed are You, Lord, our God, the Lord is One…)
Baruch: blessed, happy, joyful. The context is peace.
Blessed? Happy? Joyful? At peace? No way. Unless the
prize is worth it. And what is that priceless prize?
A bunch of sinners—including me.
Who am I, that a King should die for me?
I am His child.
Avi, thank You for the hard, lonely lessons that taught me just how much I need You. Thank You for washing me clean and taking me into Your
own family, for giving me new life abundant with You, for being my home in this
broken, rootless world. Let me never forget what it cost You. In Your holy
I woke this
morning, my heart overwhelmed by this Sandi Patty song like water overtaking a
dry and thirsty land.
A gentle rain
blows in over the desert. A rivulet gathers, spreads, halts at every tiny
resistance, waits. The water beads up, builds. Finally that small dam is
overcome and the water flows, creating new channels for itself.
a crest of soil, a twig, a stone, a leaf. The water waits and grows
stronger—then its opponent yields and is swept away.
Again the water
flows, and again, and again, until the whole floodplain is covered.
The desert drinks
its fill of His unfailing love. The soil is ready, moist and fertile.
The arid seed long blown on Eden’s fiery wind settles, awakens, drinks
the life-giving water. It swells, softens, and dies.
The seed breaks
open—and from the tiny coffin new life abundant spills. A branch springs forth,
drinking deep of God’s mercy, reaching for the sun of His heart, hanging heavy
with the fruit of a life rooted in Him.
Just so the
gentle love of God our suitor. He approaches gently, waits patiently. He will
not force his will, but overcomes every doubt, every objection, until the
convinced heart finds its home in Him.
choice isn’t love, Avi. It isn’t real. Thank You for giving me that choice, and
for teaching me what love really is. I choose You. In Your holy name, Amen.
Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard,
an expensive perfume; she poured it on His feet and wiped His feet with her
hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. John 12:3 NIV
We’ve started choir practice for the Easter
cantata, so my mind is on Resurrection Sunday and Good Friday. This is probably
what you’ll get for the next few weeks.
Crucifixion is maximum bad, especially if
you’re innocent, but Jesus’ dread in Gethsemane was even more about the pending
separation from His Father. God would turn from the sin His Son bore—our
sin—and leave Him to suffer alone.
From the triumphal entry, through His final,
fruitless efforts to persuade the lost sheep of Israel. Through the last supper
in the upper room where his disciples argued for position and Judas left to
betray Him. Through the lonely agony of Gethsemane when His three closest disciples
abandoned Him in sleep. Through the beatings, the putdowns, the crown of
thorns, the injustices of His illegal trials. Through Peter’s denial. Down the
Via Dolorosa with the rough cross grinding into the raw, naked flesh of His
back. Enduring the nails hammered into the major nerves of His wrists, into the
bones of His feet. Enduring the mockery of those He was dying for. Seeing His mother’s suffering.
And over it all, the crushing weight of
every sin of every person, every sin past, present and future.
Add to that the sight of His Father’s back
as He turned His face from those sins. But there was no hiding the Father’s
broken heart. This, too, He bore.
God will not leave us—or His only begotten Son—without
Through it all, the constant odor of a love letter from a grateful child of God:
“Your suffering is not in vain. Some
love You, and will love You. Some will accept Your sacrifice and sit with
You in Heaven.”
Did Mary realize how great her deed really
was? Little is much when God is in it.
Avi, let my life be just such a love letter
to You. Let the fragrance of my words poured at Your feet fill this world. In
Your holy name, Amen