DATE: March 17 2019
TEXT:" Matthew 26:31 - (ESV) - Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
The old soldier from Lexington, Kentucky stood before the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial in Washington, D.C . He stood there with tears running down his cheeks.
He had made a special trip to pay his respects.
His finger rested on the name of a fallen comrade. To his grandson whom he had brought along on the trip, he explained:
"We were pinned down and I was hit in the leg. This dude laid over me, and they just shot him full of holes. He kept me alive at the cost of his own life. I guess he knew they was fixin' to kill me. He was the proverbial boy next door who everybody wanted his daughter to go out with."
A similar, but vastly greater, act of giving took place almost 2,000 years ago. Jesus, the Son of God, knew that Satan was "fixin' to kill" us. He knew eternal death would never pass us over. He knew sin had wounded us so badly there was no way we would be able to save ourselves.
That was when Jesus came to take our place. He knew, if we were to live, it was necessary for Him to die.
No one, not even our story's Vietnam Veteran has ever seen a greater sacrifice.
But what has been the world's reaction to Jesus' dedication and selfless act of love?
You know the answer to these questions.
On the night Jesus was betrayed, His original eleven disciples went absent without leave. One of them turned traitor and betrayed Him with a kiss. One of them denied Him; swore he never knew His Friend, his Savior.
Since then, many other individuals have run away. They have tried to write off Jesus' sacrifice as an event that took place long ago, a moment of history which has no effect upon them. To paraphrase our opening story, they forget Jesus “was shot full of holes for them; they seem unconcerned that the Savior won eternal life for them at the cost of His own life."
THE PRAYER - Lord Jesus, it is easy for us to go absent without leave. When we close our eyes and refuse to see how the nails pierced Your hands and feet; when we forget about the Roman spear when we ignore the crown of thorns we minimize what You have done. Send Your Spirit upon us so that we might never forget that You have kept us alive at the cost of Your own life. This I ask in Your Name. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann, one of my long-ago confirmands. He is singing with three brothers. This song comes from the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html