Comfort from Calvary!
Verse for Today: Friday, March 22, 2013
Matthew 27:48 – One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to (Jesus) on a reed stick so He could drink. (NLT)
The world which persecuted the Son of God offered Him intoxicating drink to reduce the effect of pain. They had only brutality to reciprocate for His goodness. He was about to die for their sins, but even at that point, they only responded with greater brutality. Today the world has nothing better to offer His followers for all the good that they do for them. We live in an ungrateful world which persecutes God’s children who do good. Charity and humanitarian acts done by God’s people all around the world are rarely gratefully acknowledged. Instead, the world tries to burn them down. When God uses His children to release sinners from the bondage of sin and Satan, the world responds with intimidation, persecution and oppression. Whatever the world did to Jesus is done to us also in some measure. They hate us because they hate our Lord. They forget all the good things we do for them just as they forgot all the wonderful things Jesus did for the people. We find such opposition and oppression in our work places, educational institutions, neighborhoods, families and churches. The world inflicts pain on us and then tries to intoxicate us with its goodies from the Vanity Fair so that we would take our focus away from persecution and continue in a semi-conscious state. The physical, emotional and social persecutions we encounter drain our strength to keep going. But we are most affected when the people whom we love most inflict great emotional wounds on us. During such painful moments, we can draw upon the grace that we find on the cross of our Lord and respond with love. If we pray for them, as our Lord did, it would help us to get emotional healing and physical well-being. Job experienced special blessings as he prayed for his friends who found fault with him in times of sufferings. Stephen and Paul also prayed for their oppressors as they learned this great lesson from Calvary. Today we are challenged by the love of God demonstrated on Calvary to pray for grace to forgive our oppressors.
Dear friend, are you experiencing oppression and brutality from those whom you love and cherish? You might be publicly being crucified by the dearest and the nearest because you become an inconvenience for them. Perhaps your stand for righteousness and truth may not be appealing to them anymore. But remember, you are called upon to suffer for the Lord who endured shame and scorn for you. He carried the cross for you without any embarrassment. He went through excruciating pain and agony for you. At the peak of merciless abuse, torture and violation of rights, our Lord prayed that His Father in heaven forgive His persecutors. If you are experiencing untold brutality in the hands of those around you, the place to go for peace, grace, relief and healing is Calvary where you will find your suffering Savior as the Balm of Gilead. He will give you the same grace that He gave Stephen and Paul, to pray for those who brutally malign you. The grace showered upon you from Calvary will heal your emotional and physical infirmities and make you whole again. Because Jesus has forgiven you, it is possible for you to impart forgiveness to those who malign you. You might be all alone in your sufferings, but the Lord will give you sweet fellowship and fill your heart with the peace that He experienced on the cross. Let us keep away from the intoxicating goods from the Vanity Fair and drink from the cool streams of our Shepherd to rest in His presence in the midst of adversity and oppression.
2 Timothy 4:16 – At my first defense, no-one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them.
Thought for Today
Jesus comes to us in the loneliest and darkest moments of our lives to give us comfort, peace and rest.
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