Common Sense REBORN Devotion

April 7

45From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over the land.  46About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”  (which means “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”)

47When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

48Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge.  He filled it with wine and vinegar, put it on a staff and offered it to Jesus to drink.  49The rest said, “Now leave him alone.  Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

50And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.  The earth shook, the rocks split 52and the tombs broke open.  The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.  53They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.  (Matthew 27:  45-53, The Jesus Bible)

It’s Good Friday!  I spent this morning reading through all four Gospel accounts of the hours when Jesus died.  Matthew and Mark are the most consistent.  John’s account is surprisingly brief.  But of the four, I love Matthew’s testimony the best.  Matthew writes how the Temple curtain was torn in two.  This is significant because the curtain was what separated the inner chamber, where the presence of God was believed to reside, with the most Holy of Holies, the Chief Priest of the Temple, the only one able to speak directly to God.  With Jesus’ death, the veil was torn, and while on Crucifixion Friday, it might have seemed that God was so angry at the people of Jerusalem that He tore the veil to say, “I am done with you, you people are dead to me.”  This is how people think.  That is how any person would react.  But the Creator of the Universe is a loving and merciful God.  God tore the veil because He could no longer be contained in a Temple.  Despite His Son suffering a horrible death, God would raise Him from the dead in just three days. 

Matthew’s account was also the only one to write about all the “bodies of many holy people who had died” also being raised to life.  I almost left those last two sentences out, but maybe this was something only Matthew experienced.  Matthew and Luke both wrote about the darkness that came over the land for three hours just before Jesus gave up His spirit.

Regardless of whose account you enjoy the most, I invite you to take time to read all four Gospels, soak in these words of wonder and breath in the Spirit today.  I have much more to share, lessons being learned while on vacation with family, but the day is quickly rushing by, and I am getting this post out about six hours later than originally planned. I will try to put together a longer message here tomorrow.

If your church is doing a Good Friday sermon, I do hope you attend.  If not, you can be like us and either Live Stream Elevation Church’s Good Friday message, or tune into Chris Tomlin and Friends’ Good Friday Worldwide.  Click either of the links above to access them.  Elevation is on at 6 and 9 PM EST, and Tomlin’s special is at 8 PM EST.

Please don’t let the business of life get in the way of remembering what this weekend is all about.  It’s not about Easter bunnies and chocolate eggs.  It’s about the Savior of the world being nailed to a cross, hanging in the hot spring day, dying a horrible death of suffocation and blood loss (read about why crucifixions were so cruel here), and breathing His last breath.  As bad as that first Friday was, we, as Christians, know that Sunday is coming.

One of Christian Music’s greatest legends has released a brand new single.  Amy Grant sings this peaceful, and powerful, ballad entitled “Trees We’ll Never See”. Get out and plant some trees you’ll never see this weekend!

This brings me to my third favorite Easter song.  This one is for all the classic Hymnals that sing how Jesus Lives.  Given a fresh take on an old classic, Hannah Hobbs and Alexander Paappas have put together a wonderful new melody, which you can by clicking on the image below.

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