The Cross- “Lord God, why was I chosen? I mean what did I do to deserve this torture? I had no choice! I wish that I were not the one they used. You did nothing to deserve me. Those people did not know who you are. I wish I were not the method of murder used to destroy you. I wish there was something I could have done to stop it from happening. Even Simon of Cyrene knew you did not deserve to perish on me as he dragged me towards Calvary. Even when they mercilessly hammered those nails in Your hands and put that crown of thorns on Your head, while being in extreme pain and agony, I felt anguish for you. I feel horrified that I am forever regarded as that “Old Rugged Cross”, despised by the world and the emblem of suffering and shame. Lord why me? Why was I chosen?”
The Christ- “You were chosen for a purpose. Wood is an important symbol I want my people to understand. When I first destroyed the world by flood, their only salvation was through the ark, which was made of wood. In Exodus 37:1, the Ark of the Covenant was made of wood. In the entire Old Testament, no sacrificial offering dedicated to me would be complete without the use of wood. In Exodus 26:15, my tabernacles would not be complete without wood. All of My Holy scriptures are written on paper, which comes from wood. Through Moses, I performed ten miracles and parted the Red Sea using the wooden staff I gave him so my people would be free. You see, all of these uses of wood were used for freedom, salvation, and sacrifice. Now you ask me why you were chosen. The cross is now viewed as a cherished symbol of atonement, forgiveness, grace and love. If I had no respect for wood, why of all professions would I come to earth as a carpenter?”
What is amazing about carpenters is that they take ordinary pieces of wood, make it, and construct it into any form they want. Jesus is the Master Carpenter and He can form us into something that we could never even possibly imagine. If we allow Him to be a carpenter in our lives, we can be used for any purpose that He chooses. Sometimes wood has to burn to give warmth. Sometimes trees have to be cut down to make beautiful temples. God sometimes uses the lowest moments of our lives to bless and enrich others. It wasn’t until Jesus was at the lowest moment of His life, that He fulfilled the plan of redemption and allowed mankind to be saved so can bless and enrich others with a Christ-filled life to light up the world. Since Adam and Eve sinned by eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, according to 1 Peter 2:24, Jesus had to use a tree of another form (the cross) to redeem and save us from sin. Since Adam had to die from eating from that tree, Jesus had to die on a tree to set us free. Let us always remember that Jesus dying on the cross barely scratches the surface of what He’s willing to do to save each and every one of us. So let us all live what He said in Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; and Luke 9:23 and decide what YOU “wood” do for Jesus?
And He said. “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten” Genesis 18: 32
Abraham was conversing with God following the departure of the three Holy Men who came to give the good news to Sarah that she would have a child. The three Men were on their way to Sodom to destroy it. Abraham knew that his nephew Lot lived in Sodom and he tried to bargain with God against its destruction. At first God said if there were 50 righteous, He would not destroy Sodom. Abraham continued this questioning, asking if there were 45, then 40, then 30, then 20, and finally 10 righteous, would He still destroy Sodom? God said if He found 10 righteous people in Sodom, He would not destroy the entire city. Unfortunately for the city of Sodom, God only found 4 righteous people to save. If there had been only 6 more, Sodom would not have been destroyed.
I don’t know how many people lived in Sodom, but I am sure there was way more than 50, maybe 2000 or 3000… or maybe a whole lot more. But it is amazing that God was willing to spare the entire city for the sake of 10 people. It seems that God was not so much concerned about the presence of ‘evil’ within Sodom, but the absence of ‘good’.
God is aware that we all have evil tendencies, but He is more concerned with our desire to do good. God does not seek to destroy us by looking for errors, He seeks ways to save us by looking for the good in us… no matter how small that is. He really wants to find it, so that He can redeem us. Just as a tree seedling strives each day to reach the light, in so doing, it becomes a strong magnificent tree with mighty roots. God is asking us to battle each day to improve ourselves, to be faithful, prayerful and obedient as best as we can so we can be grounded in Him and grow in ‘goodness’ with Him. Although there will always be a ‘presence of evil’ there will by no means be an ‘absence of good’ and on this basis God is willing to save us, just as He was willing to save Sodom for the sake of 10 righteous people.
Thank you for looking within our hearts and trying to find the good in us, even though we know that our righteousness is as filthy rags. We know that even in a city of Sodom, You were willing to save them, if you could only find 10 people. It shows us Lord that You are not seeking perfection, but potential. Help us each to achieve the potential that you desire for us. I pray that You will place in our hearts a desire to be obedient to You and to be faithful to the best of our ability with the help of the Holy Spirit so we may grow grounded in you. On that wonderful day when Jesus returns, I pray that you will find us faithful and that our ‘goodness’ will be present, abundant and fitting in Your sight.
In Jesus’ Name
For those of you that have been following me over the past three to four weeks, I was attempting to take a 21 day journey through the Gospel of John. Research says that it takes 21 days to make a habit, and I was trying to instill a good daily devotional habit within myself through some accountability with this blog.
To be honest, I have had an absolute blast!! I have learned so much. I have read John numerous times and I have never found the insight that I have gained through this journey. I feel truly blessed by this opportunity to meditate on God’s Word and to serve.
While it took me longer than 21 days, and some days I did not post, it wasn’t because I didn’t read. Some days it was difficult to translate the thought into a devotion and on other days I would be praying that God would bless me with a new nugget of truth. I wanted to focus on the not so obvious elements of the Gospel. We are so easily drawn to the popular Bible stores somewhat to the exclusion of other truths which lay hidden within those pages, and it was my hope to uncover some of these.
I encourage you to also take a journey of 21 days through your favorite book of the Bible. I was hoping to get into the habit of prayerfully studying each day before the New Year came. Just as Delzino said in his blog “The Beginning is in the Middle”(https://spiritualsandwich.com/2013/12/31/the-beginning-is-in-the-middle/), we do not need to wait until the New Year or any other time to start a new relationship with God, we can do that right now. So what are you waiting for? Crack open your Bible now and go for it!