Morning by Morning, April 3 - "What is Your Verdict?"
Good morning, Lord Jesus. Before I draw near to You in intimacy, I first bow before You in humility. Thank You for forgiving me of all that would ever separate me from You. Thank You for Your sacrifice of love for me through the cross of Christ. ...
"Those who arrested Jesus took Him to Caiaphas the high priest, in whose house the scribes and the elders had gathered.... No the chief priests and the whole council were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they might put Him to death, but they found none, through many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward and said, 'This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.'" The high priest stood up and said, 'Have You no answer? What is it that they testify against You?' But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to Him, 'I put You under oath before the living God, tell us if You are the Messiah, the Son of God.' Jesus said to Him, 'You have said so. But I tell you, From now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.' Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard His blasphemy! What is your verdict?" They answered, "He deserves death." Then they spat in His face and struck Him; and some slapped Him, saying, 'Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who is it that struck You?'" (Matthew 26:57-68).
It sickens my stomach as I read and remember all they did. And it saddens my heart as I read and remember all You did. And this day, before I hurry on to the joy and celebration of Your resurrection and mine, I want to take time to reflect how much the joy of my salvation and resurrection cost You. "For the sake of the joy that was set before (You, You) endured the cross, disregarding its shame" -- all for me and for all You love so much to save.
They didn't believe You. They didn't receive You. They mocked You and cursed You and spit in Your face. They handed You over to be tortured to death in the cruelty of the cross (Matthew 27:1-2). And even as You hung on the cross, innocent as a Lamb, for their sins and mine, rejected and despised despite all Your love, You still cried out in Your dying breaths for the mercy of God: "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34).
How ironic that they stood to judge You, the One "who (now) stands ready to judge the living and the dead (1 Peter 4:5). In their arrogance and pride that blinded them from seeing who You were and what You were sacrificing for them, they defiantly asked of themselves, "What is your verdict?" And their mistaken response was "He deserves death."
Yet that is the question You set before us: "What is your verdict?" From heaven's throne, seated at the right hand of Power, You ask each one of us, "Who do you say that I am?" (Matthew 16:15) The rightful response is "We deserve death." But by the grace and the power of God through Your love and sacrifice for us, You have overcome death and its judgment for sin for all of us. "For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring (us) to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit" (1 Peter 3:18).
My verdict is that I am guilty, but You are my Savior. Now I am forgiven and free, alive in the Spirit, because Your Spirit lives in me. "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16). And on this day we remember the sacrifice of the cross, I proclaim to You with all my heart the mystery of faith, "Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again." In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Be encouraged today! In the Love of Jesus, Tommy Hays
My Friend, I join with you this day in remembering all Jesus has done for us. May you know with all your heart you are forgiven and free through the sacrifice of Christ, in Jesus' name. Please pray the same for me. God bless you, my friend!