Scripture reading for February 6th: Matthew 27
“When they had crucified Him, they divided up His clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over Him there. Above His head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, KING OF THE JEWS.” (Matthew 27:35-37) The Roman soldiers did their job with efficiency and part of their pay was the clothes of their crucified victims. They gambled over these to see which one would receive the bounty! In doing this, they fulfilled an ancient prophesy from a thousand years earlier! (Psalm 22:18) The sign they had placed at Pilate’s orders over the Jewish religious authorities objections proclaimed the eternal truth of who Jesus really was: KING OF THE JEWS!
“In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked Him. “He saved other,” they said, “but He can’t save Himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue Him now if He wants Him, for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.'” (Matthew 27:41-43) The religious leaders mocked Jesus’ faith in God and His relationship as “Son of God” and His claim as “King of Israel”. Their unbelief lead to pride and the murder of the Son of God.
After Jesus gave up His Spirit to God, a great earthquake shook the land, splitting the curtain on the temple from top to bottom. Tombs were opened and holy people were raised to life, appearing to many in Jerusalem. This event shook the earth and the people in Jerusalem! The centurion and soldiers guarding Jesus were terrified and proclaimed, “Surely He was the Son of God.” Will you worship Him when He comes again, or be found mocking?
Scripture reading for October 12th: Matthew 26-28
Those who have grown up in the church have heard the story of Jesus’ betrayal, trial, and crucifixion many times. This story is a key to our redemption from sin because it tells of a Savior who loved us so much that He gave His life for us. He offered it willingly on our behalf as a part of God’s plan to bring us back to Himself.
Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot for a mere thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave. (Matthew 26:14-15) We are told that Judas belonged to the evil one and was not one of the true disciples. He fulfilled Scripture from Zechariah 11:12-13 that told about him several hundred years in advance. Judas betrayed his master with a kiss.
Jesus was taken before Caiaphas, the High Priest, and the Sanhedrin. They met early in the morning to find a way to put Jesus to death. (Matthew 27:1) Caiaphas asked Jesus directly if He was the Christ, Son of the living God. Jesus answered “yes” and told him that in the future he would see Jesus seated at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven. (Matthew 26:63-64) The council pronounced a death sentence, spit on Him, and struck Him with their fists. His trusted disciples deserted Him and Peter denied Him three times as Jesus predicted.
Jesus then stood before Pilate, the Roman governor, the only one with authority to put Him to death. Pilate listened to the Jews’ charges and then asked Jesus if He was the king of the Jews. Jesus answered “yes” but made no other defense against the charges. Pilate had been warned by his wife not to have anything to do with Jesus because of a troubling dream that she had. He tried to get the crowd to release Jesus but they demanded Jesus be crucified!
Pilate symbolically washed his hands of Jesus’ blood and placed the responsibility on the people. They willingly stated: “Let His blood be on us and on our children.” (Matthew 27:25) Ironically, it is the blood of Jesus alone that can cleanse us all from our sin. It was a wonderful act of grace that Jesus would even give His blood for the redemption of those who would crucify Him. May His blood cover each of us as well, and our children!