You Will Be with Me in Paradise

The Pardon of the Good Thief

The Pardon of the Good Thief – Public Domain

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish additional material on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading. Please be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along each day. We are reading through the life of Christ in 2019. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Luke 23:39–43 (ESV)

39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Advertisements

Take Up Your Cross

brown wooden cross

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Reading the Word

Mark 15:20–21 (ESV)

20 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.

21 And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.

Parallel Texts: Matthew 27:31-32; Luke 23:26

Understanding and Applying the Word

Jesus had been flogged multiple times in the previous hours. Those beatings left him battered and too weak to carry his cross to the execution site. Therefore, the Roman soldiers drafted a man named Simon to carry Christ’s cross for him. We really know nothing more of Simon other than this incident. Some speculate that Simon’s son, Rufus, may be the same Rufus that Paul mentions in Romans 16:13. If so, perhaps this encounter had a profound impact on him. However, there is no way to be sure.

Jesus calls on all of his followers to take up their cross and follow him (Matthew 16:24-26). We are called to not simply be spectators of Christ’s pain and suffering, but we are called to live out Jesus’ teachings and to expect the same kinds of rejection and suffering that Jesus received. It is a small price to pay to belong to Christ and it is a great honor to follow in his steps.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

 

A Crown of Thorns

crown of thorns

Reading the Word

Matthew 27:27–31 (ESV)

27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. 28 And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.

Parallel Texts: Mark 15:16-20; John 19:2-3

Understanding and Applying the Word

The soldiers mocked Jesus. The dressed him in makeshift attire to present him as a ridiculous and pathetic king. They put a crown made from thorns on his head. They put a reed as a scepter in his hand. They put a scarlet robe on him. And they bowed down before him, not to worship, but to laugh at and make fun of Jesus. They called out “Hail, King of the Jews” and then spit on him and hit him with the reed. When they were finished with their fun, the soldiers stripped him of his scarlet robe and put him back in his regular clothes before leading him off to be crucified.

This event fulfilled what Jesus had told his disciples in Matthew 20:19. None of this came as a surprise to Jesus. He knew that he would be rejected by all people, both Jew and Gentile. Jesus, the Messiah and Creator, visited mankind, but was rejected, mocked, and murdered. Little did the people realize what would soon take place. Jesus would rise victorious from the dead in a demonstration of his power and authority. And one day he will return as promised to this world and every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. There will be no mocking on that day, only recognition of who Jesus is: the King of kings and Lord of lords.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

Motivated by What Is Right

The Flagellation of Christ

The Flagellation of Christ – Public Domain

Reading the Word

Mark 15:15 (ESV)

15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

Parallel Texts: Matthew 27:26; John 19:16

Understanding and Applying the Word

In this single verse, we read of how an innocent Jesus ended up on a cross for crucifixion. Pilate, the Roman governor, wanted to please the crowd. The motivation was not doing what was right, but doing what was popular and best for himself, even if an innocent man had to die.

Sinfulness causes us all to do terrible things. Imagine what the world would be like if our political leaders did what was right rather than always looking to score political points. Imagine what the world would be like if we all were motivated by righteousness and justice rather than selfishness and personal gain. Our sin is why Jesus had to die. Our sin out him on the cross and his death was the solution to our sinfulness. Christ the Just was sacrificed as payment for our sins. All who repent of their sin and trust in Jesus will be saved and that salvation is the promise of a new world where sin and evil are no more.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

Hail, King of the Jews!

Matthew 2729 [widescreen]

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I publish a suggested Scripture reading each day along with some devotional thoughts on the passage. However, on Sundays I only post a suggested reading. Please be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along. We are currently reading through the life of Christ.

Reading the Word

Matthew 27:27–31 (ESV)

27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. 28 And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.

Parallel Text: Mark 15:17-20

Choosing Sin over Righteousness

Let Him Be Crucified

Let Him Be Crucified – Public Domain

Reading the Word

Matthew 27:15–23 (ESV)

15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. 16 And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. 17 So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. 19 Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.” 20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” 22 Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” 23 And he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

Parallel Texts: Mark 15:6-14; Luke 23:17-23; John 18:39-40

Understanding and Applying the Word

Pilate had a custom that he likely used to improve public relations. Each year he would release one prisoner at the request of the people. In this case, he gave them the option of Jesus or Barabbas, who was “notorious, a murderer , and an insurrectionist” (cf. Mark and Luke). We are also told that Pilate knew the real reason the Jewish religious leaders had brought Jesus to him was a result of envy (verse 18). Jesus was drawing crowds and gaining influence among the people. Surprisingly, given the serious nature of Barabbas’ crimes, the request was for Barabbas to be released instead of Jesus. When asked what should become of Jesus, the crowd cried out, “Let him be crucified!”

The people were given a choice between Jesus and Barabbas. They chose Barabbas the true criminal and requested that Jesus be killed. At first this seems surprising. Why would the people want Jesus killed? But this is a reflection of the story of Scripture. When given a choice between sin and righteousness, the world chooses sin. Jesus, the righteous, exposes our shortcomings and brings our condemnation into focus. Barabbas, the sinful, is just like us and is no threat to us. He makes us feel better about ourselves. So when the world came face-to-face with One who was truly righteous, we murdered him. That’s how much we love sin. That’s how much we need a Savior.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

The True King

close up portrait of lion

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Reading the Word

Luke 23:6–12 (ESV)

6 When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. 7 And when he learned that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. 8 When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. 9 So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. 10 The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. 11 And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. 12 And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Pilate sent Jesus to Herod hoping that doing so would relieve him of having to deal with Jesus. Herod had been wanting to see Jesus because he had heard about the miracles Jesus’ had been performing. Herod hoped Jesus would perform for him. For Herod, Jesus was entertainment. However, Jesus would not comply and remained silent. This led Herod and his guards to mock Jesus, dress him up, and send him back to Pilate. Doing so must have amused Pilate because he and Herod became friends as a result.

Herod wanted Jesus to perform on demand, but he would not. The Creator and Lord of all is not under the authority of any man. He does not bow to our commands. Herod believed he was in control and had authority over Jesus, but the exact opposite was true. Jesus was the one in control and he was the one with all authority. We too must remember this. God does not perform on demand for us. We do not control him. When we go to him, we may ask, but we must always remember that God answers us according to his plans and purposes. We can trust those plans even when they are not ours because we know he is loving and good. As C. S. Lewis wrote in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe about Aslan the lion who represented Christ:

“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

King of the Jews

Mark 152 [widescreen]

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish devotional insights on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading. Please be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along each day. We are reading through the life of Christ in 2019. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Mark 15:1–5 (ESV)

1 And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. 2 And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” 3 And the chief priests accused him of many things. 4 And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” 5 But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Christ Has Overcome the World

John 1633 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

John 16:29–33 (ESV)

29 His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! 30 Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

The disciples finally thought they were fully understanding Jesus as they called out, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech!” Much of what Jesus had been saying had gone over their heads. Even here, Jesus made it clear that they were still only partially understanding. “Do you now believe,” Jesus asked? The disciples still lacked full understanding of what was coming and it would cause them to desert Jesus and scatter in fear in only a few hours. Jesus once again spoke to encourage them by telling them that they could take heart knowing that Jesus had overcome the world.

Satan is at war with God’s people. Scripture tells us that we are in a spiritual war (Ephesians 6:10-12). However, Jesus Christ has already defeated Satan and his demons. The crucifixion and resurrection were the decisive blows. Christians may face ongoing troubles in this world, but we know that these times are short and that the end is already decided. Christ is the risen and conquering King and his kingdom is forever. We can take heart because our King has overcome the world.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

The God Who Washes Feet

John 135 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

John 13:1–11 (ESV)

1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

Before the meal, Jesus did something unexpected. He washed his disciples’ feet. This turned contemporary expectations upside down! Jesus was the teacher. He was the master of this group. It was the job of the students to wash Jesus’ feet or do the work of servants. At least, this is what the culture of the day said. However, Jesus tied a towel around his waist and washed feet.

Peter realized that this was not right. This is why he asked, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus’ reply pointed forward to a greater service that Jesus would do for his followers. Jesus was getting ready to go to the cross to die for his people. Philippians 2:6-8 reflects on Jesus as servant as he willingly died for mankind:

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Jesus had to become a servant for his people or we could not be saved. We had to be “washed” by Jesus through his sacrificial death or our sins could not be cleansed. The Creator came into the world to be our servant. He put aside his glory and died as a criminal on a cross. Jesus paid the price that we never could and unless we are washed by him, we remain unclean. As the great hymn says, “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.