Daily Lenten Devotional – March 23, 2012

Your Daily Lenten Devotional
March 23, 2012

Into the Wilderness

Crucify Him!

Unfortunately, it is certain that I am also
one of that crowd that doesn’t give much
thought to what happened. I, who am
even able to write these things about the
passion while remaining impassive,
whereas it should only be written about
in tears.
–Raniero Cantalamessa

Reflect

Take the time to silence other sounds today-unplug the phone, put a sign on your door, turn off radios and CD players. In silence, be still and know God speaks to you. Thank Him for meeting you here day after day, never failing.

Ask God to give you the gift of a pure heart. Read the following verses slowly and thoughtfully, letting God shine His light as you evaluate:
Transgression speaks to the ungodly within his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. For it flatters him in his own eyes concerning the discovery of his iniquity and the hatred of it. –Psalm 36:1-2 NASB

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. -1 John 1:8 NASB

Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. –Revelation 3:17 NASB

Do you hate sin? Wage wars against the temptations that assail you? Do you view yourself as one who is wretched, poor, and needy? Purity of heart comes from a recognition and acknowledgement of our need. Until we grasp our own potential for sin, we will never fully appreciate Christ’s death. Write a prayer of commitment to seek this kind of heart based on these verses.

Read

All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!” –Matthew 27:25 NIV

The clamorous crowd objects when Pilate appears on the Praetorium platform alone. Throughout the morning, rumors of the prisoner’s dangerous past have spread like gangrene. Restless ire now characterizes the growing mob, their eagerness for execution intensifying.

“If you let Him go, you are no friend of Caesar’s.”

“He calls Himself a King–that makes Him an enemy of Caesar!”

Pilate watches their feigned loyalty to the Roman conqueror with amazement. Recognizing the insanity of the farce fills him with resentment. Yet, if word reaches Tiberius that he has befriended an insurrectionist, his entire political career could go up in smoke. Shaking his head, Pilate goes to retrieve the prisoner.

Within minutes Jesus stumbles onto the platform, Herod’s robe now gone. Some of the blood from the scourging has dried, binding His tunic to His back. His face, though bloated and bruised, looks pasty white, His eyes nearly swollen shut.
What must the Christ be thinking now? Does He drift in and out of consciousness, barely aware of the noisy chatter below? Does He dream of a seraph coming to cool His brow or bind His broken body?

Judgment is nigh for the One who will one day judge the world. What does He think of these accusers who stand before Him this day as judge and jury? What does Jesus feel for the procurator who persists in proclaiming His innocence but lacks the courage to make the right choice?

Taking his official seat on the platform, Pilate orders the soldiers to bring the prisoner forward for sentencing. The late morning sun beats down, and a servant hurries to hold an umbrella over Pilate’s head. No shade is offered the Christ, who leans weakly against a soldier’s arm.

“Here is your King!” Pilate taunts the religious leaders.

“Take Him away. Crucify Him!” they cry back.

“What? Shall I crucify your King?”

“We have no king but Caesar,” one priest calls out, the crowd chiming in with a chant-like drone.

Pilate, astonished at their fervor, motions to a guard. The noise dies down as he sets a basin of water before him. Reaching into the bowl, the procurator rinses his hands slowly and methodically as if practicing some ancient ritual. Finally he looks up and announces with authority: “I am innocent of the blood of this righteous Man. See to it yourselves…”

Respond

Hear the words like a chant in your own ears: His blood shall be on us and on our children. What must Jesus have felt when the sound of it filled the air? What might He have wanted to say?

Consider the punishment Jesus is about to undergo. See yourself as morally responsible. Say quietly, “Your blood is upon me… Jesus.”

Read the following verses aloud as a prayer of worship and gratitude:

Your lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; Your judgments are like a great deep. O LORD, You preserve man and beast. How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house; and You give them to drink of the river of Your delights. –Psalm 36:5-8 NASB

Prayer

Oh, Lord, Your blood is on me and my children. I say it with shame. I cannot even look into Your eyes, for the sadness there reopens the wounds of my sinful heart and like an infected sore, they ooze with sordid filth. But I must look- I must, for through the sorrow You invite me to come and be cleansed. And so I will. Let Your blood be on me and in me and over me, and I will be pure, whiter than snow, precious Redeemer.

Excerpted from:

Contemplating the Cross
Tricia McCary Rhodes
Retail Price: $14.99
CBD Price: $8.99

Contemplating the Cross is a 40-day personal pilgrimage that will take you down the dusty roads of Jerusalem to walk in the steps of Jesus’ passion. In these pages, you’ll find scriptures, meditations, and reflective questions along with an introduction to lectio divina, the centuries-old art of slowly, contemplatively praying God’s Word. Contemplating the Cross will transform the way you view the cross as you experience the sights, sounds, smells and emotions of Jesus’ final hours.

Used with the kind permission of our friends at W Publishing Group.

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About mikewindley

Mike Windley is Lead Pastor of The Bridge Community Church in Morrisville, NC.
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