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'A Year with Jesus' for 3/24/2014

A Brief Look Back


Note from Jesus

Dear Child of God,

What drew you to follow Me? What called your heart to Me? What convinced you that We — Father, Son, and Spirit — deeply love you and want you as part of Our family?

During the last week before My crucifixion, Philip and Andrew brought some Greeks (non-Jews) to Me. They had come to worship at the Passover festival and wanted to see Me. The coming of non-Jews seeking to meet Me and learn about Me was a huge confirmation in My heart that the time had come for Me to go to the cross. For Me, going to the cross was the ultimate way to glorify the Father and also reach out to Jews and non-Jews — even you today — and call to the hearts of all those seeking for something more to life than what they had found. As an instrument of execution, the cross was brutal, gross, morbid, and ghastly. While it was excruciating for the one crucified, the intention was also to publicly humiliate the person crucified and all those aligned with that person. For Me, as a Jew, crucifixion also carried another significant statement: the person hung on a cross was considered cursed by God (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). The apostle Paul would pick up on this theme and speak great truth about the cross when he said the following:

The Anointed One [Christ], the Liberating King, has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. It was stated in the Scriptures, "Everyone who hangs on a tree is cursed by God."

(Galatians 3:13)

My resurrection reversed the whole meaning of My execution on the cross. All of the shame, humiliation, pain, mockery, and rejection that I endured during My crucifixion was turned into blessing — forgiveness, redemption, ransom, and salvation. I endured the worst of aspects of humanity and hell to redeem you from them. And My salvation isn't just for any one race or nation or people, but for all who find themselves drawn to My sacrifice, My love, and My grace.

My Body was planted like a seed in the ground. It lay there dead to life. Then the power of grace renewed life, and I rose a victor over sin, death, and hell. Now, on your side of the resurrection, millions upon millions have accepted My offer of salvation, forgiveness, and grace. What I appeared to have lost in humiliation is now given back many times over. Such is the power of the resurrection and the love of your Savior. On top of all the blessings that stream from the mercy and grace of the cross and the empty tomb, remember this: this resurrection power is available to you to help you as you live for Me (Ephesians 1:17-20). My resurrection from death's hold changes everything for you... even in the middle of the week, on a normal Thursday that seems so far away from resurrection Sunday.

I was lifted up from the earth so that you could be lifted up to share with Me in resurrected glory (Colossians 3:1-3). So blessings to you this Thursday as you live for Me by resurrection power from the Holy Spirit!

Verses to Live

So here is the brief look back as I was headed to the cross. After you read this, I hope you will remember the short little parable of the grain of wheat. Because of the resurrection power at work in you, when you offer yourself for Me and the work of the kingdom, your sacrifices and efforts are multiplied by grace to touch more hearts. That is the power of My cross and the empty tomb... even on a seemingly unimportant Thursday — a day to plant seeds and share in the future harvest of grace!


Pharisees (to one another):
Our efforts to squelch Him have not worked, but now is not the time for action. Look, the world is following after Him.

Among the crowds traveling to Jerusalem were Greeks seeking to follow God and worship at the great feast. Some of them came to Philip with an important request.

Greek Pilgrims (to Philip):
Sir, we are hoping to meet Jesus.

Philip, a disciple from the Galilean village of Bethsaida, told Andrew that these Greeks wanted to see Jesus. Together Andrew and Philip approached Jesus to inform Him about the request.

Jesus (to Philip and Andrew):
The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth: unless a grain of wheat is planted in the ground and dies, it remains a solitary seed. But when it is planted, it produces in death a great harvest. The one who loves this life will lose it, and the one who despises it in this world will have life forevermore. Anyone who serves Me must follow My path; anyone who serves Me will want to be where I am, and he will be honored by the Father. My spirit is low and unsettled. How can I ask the Father to save Me from this hour? This hour is the purpose for which I have come into the world. But what I can say is this: "Father, glorify Your name!"

Suddenly a voice echoed from the heavens.

The Father:
I have glorified My name. And again I will bring glory in this hour that will resound throughout time.

The crowd of people surrounding Jesus were confused.

Some in the Crowd:
It sounded like thunder.

Others:
A heavenly messenger spoke to Him.

Jesus:
The voice you hear has not spoken for My benefit, but for yours. Now judgment comes upon this world, and everything will change. The tyrant of this world, Satan, will be thrown out. When I am lifted up from the earth, then all of humanity will be drawn to Me.


(John 12:19-32)

Response in Prayer

O Father, yes, I do believe that Jesus' resurrection from the dead means that everything is different — better, hopeful, and full of power. I am one of those seeds that springs from the planting of Jesus' body in the grave and the resurrection power of that Sunday morning. Help me live by the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit no matter what day it is or wherever I find myself. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.



For more information about this devotional as well as archives of the material please visit the 'A Year with Jesus' website.




Comments:

All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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