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Day 35: Jesus Is Crucified

Reflect: When a person was being crucified, it was customary to place a sign on the cross, above the person’s head, describing the crime and criminal’s name. Pilate had a sign made and fastened to Jesus’ cross, “Jesus of Nazareth. The King of the Jews.” Remember, this was during the Passover celebration in Jerusalem. According to a first century Jewish writer, Josephus, there was a count taken indicating there were up to 2,700,000 attendees there from all over the Roman Empire. This means 1,600,000 people had pilgrimaged to Jerusalem for Passover. This could be one of the reasons that Pilate had the sign written in three languages – so everyone was able to understand what it said in their own language. Imagine being Jesus, in the worst most excruciating pain possible and gasping for each breath as the paralysis in your chest muscles increases, and in the midst of it people are mocking you and shouting abuse (Matthew 27:39).

What was Jesus’ attitude towards the mockers and haters? “Jesus said, ‘Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.’” (Luke 23:34) Even to the end our Redeemer is offering grace, mercy, love, empathy and forgiveness towards imperfect people. His perfect forgiveness was portrayed as the criminal next to Him hanging on the cross said, “‘We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ And Jesus replied, ‘I assure you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’” (Luke 23:41-42).

Jesus was forced to carry the large wooden crossbeam to the site of the crucifixion, as did all people being crucified.

Respond: After reading the account of Jesus’ beating and being mocked on the cross, yet in the midst of it all showing empathy and agape love to others, does it make you love Jesus even more? Are you more driven to live the best version of yourself to please God because of His incredible suffering and love for you? Let this sacrificial experience that Jesus went through remind you every day of God’s attitude of grace, mercy, love, empathy and forgiveness towards you. If you can change your perception about yourself, to how God views you, you will be forever changed to become the best version of yourself and grow in your love relationship with Jesus. Take a few moments and read the following about how God views you and let these truths go deep into your soul.

(1) You’re completely accepted. “Jesus…made us acceptable to God.” (Titus 3:7 CEV) What Jesus did on the cross made you completely acceptable to God—no matter what you’ve done or will do.

(2) You’re unconditionally loved. God doesn’t say, “I love you if . . .” or “I love you because . . .” He says, “I love you—period!” You can’t make God stop loving you, because His love is not based on what you do but on whom He is. Isaiah 54:10 says, “The mountains and hills may crumble, but my love for you will never end” (GNT).

(3) You’re totally forgiven. Because Jesus died on the cross and gave His life as a payment for your sins, you are totally forgiven when you accept the gift of forgiveness from God. Think about the criminal next to Jesus on the cross. Romans 8:1 says, “There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (NLT). God doesn’t rehearse your sins. He releases them.

(4) You’re extremely valuable. There are two things that create value: who the owner is and what somebody’s willing to pay for it. You are a child of God and “have been bought and paid for by Christ” (1 Corinthians 7:23 TLB). Jesus loves you so much that He paid for you with His life. That’s how valuable you are. (Adapted from Rick Warren’s Daily Hope.)

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