About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Elí, Elí, lemá sabachtháni?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
Right now, where I am, it’s 3:15 in the afternoon. 2,000 years ago Jesus was forsaken so that we would never have to be.
Devotion for the week of 3/17/14-3/23/14
In the Old Testament people had to make sacrifices when they sinned. Hebrews 9:22 says “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” In order to be forgiven, they had to sacrifice an animal, typically a lamb. This was before Jesus came. Jesus was sent to be the ultimate sacrifice. His blood was shed to cover over the sins of the world: past, present, and future. In John 1:29 John refers to Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”. Jesus is called the Lamb of God because He was sent by God to be sacrificed like a lamb. He was perfect and had never sinned, but He took on the sin of the world so that there could be eternal forgiveness without any more bloodshed. He was innocent, just as the lambs who were sacrificed before were. A lamb is also like Jesus because they are both peaceful. Sheep are not violent, and neither was Jesus. Jesus’ death on the cross as the Lamb of God was foreshadowed in Genesis 22, the story where Abraham is prepared to sacrifice his only son Isaac. God asked him to do this and, without hesitation, Abraham agreed. Later on, when he and his son were going to the mountain to make the sacrifice, Isaac asked where the lamb for the sacrifice was. Abraham told him that God would provide the lamb. This foreshadowed God sending His only Son to die as a sacrifice. Before Abraham could sacrifice his son, and angel told him not to. The angel said that he knows now that Abraham loves the Lord since he did not withhold even his only son. Just as God later showed His love for us by not withholding His only Son. Now we no longer have to sacrifice a lamb when we sin (if we did, sheep would be endangered or even extinct!) because Jesus, the Lamb of God, was sacrificed for our sins. Because of this, we can be forgiven.
Devotion for the week of 2/24/14-3/2/14
Sometimes it’s hard to forgive people when they’ve hurt you a lot. We often think that they don’t deserve to be forgiven because of what they’ve done. Honestly, none of us deserve to be forgiven. But God has chosen to forgive all of us. Ephesians 4:32 says ‘Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’ God sent Jesus as atonement for our sins. Back in the Old Testament, people had to sacrifice a lamb every time they sinned. Jesus was called the Lamb of God because He was sent by God to be the ‘lamb’ that paid the price of our sins, so that we will never have to sacrifice a lamb again. God has forgiven us for our sins. He did thousands of years ago when He sent His Son to die on that cross. Now He wants us to forgive those who have sinned against us. Matthew 6:14-15 says ‘For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.’ Did you know that? Or did you just think that you could go on sinning and have God forgive you every time without you having to forgive others? The Bible says that when we sin, we sin against God. And even though we sin against Him, He forgives us. Likewise, when others sin against us, we should forgive them. If we don’t, then we won’t be forgiven by God. So no matter what it was that person did, no matter how much they hurt you, you must forgive them. You may think that they don’t need for you to forgive them. And that may be true. I’ve been in situations where the person I needed to forgive couldn’t care less if I forgave them or not. Sometimes they didn’t even know they did anything wrong. Either way, we have to forgive them. No, not for their sake, but for ours. We may not know it at the time but, by not forgiving someone, we have this bad feeling inside of us because we know that we should forgive them. When you forgive them, it actually makes you feel better; it lifts a burden off of your shoulders. So next time you’re in a situation where you need to forgive someone, don’t be hesitant to do it. Remember that God has forgiven you time and time again, and He wants you to forgive others, too.