READ: Matthew 27:27-44
THINK: Why did Jesus suffer so intensely? Keep this in mind as you consider what Jesus went through: None of His suffering was due to His own wrongdoing. He did not have to endure any of this for His own sake; He did it all for us. He loved us so much that He suffered in our place, to pay the price for our offenses against God. We never could have covered this cost ourselves. Our own death would simply give us what we deserve, sealing our separation from God forever. Jesus' sacrifice provided the only hope we have of forgiveness, new life and a personal relationship with God. Because He suffered and died for us, we can live eternally with Him.
RESPOND: How does it make you feel, knowing that Jesus suffered as He did for you? How would you have felt in Simon's place (v. 32), being forced to carry Jesus' Cross? What was the significance of Jesus being crucified with criminals? Why would those who passed by Jesus' cross feel inclined to add insults to His injury? What did Jesus really mean when He talked about rebuilding the temple in three days (v. 40)? What irony is there in statements like these: "He saved others...but he can't save himself!...come down now from the cross and we will believe in him" (v. 42)? Would there have been any purpose or benefit from believing Jesus if He had not ultimately suffered?
PRAY: Give thanks to Jesus for dying in your place and paying the price for your sin. Thank Him for the opportunity and privilege you have to live for Him--even when you face grief and rejection for His sake.
ACT: As you always should, make a conscious effort to think, talk and act in way that reflects Jesus' character and demonstrates your faith in Him. Whenever you find it difficult to put your faith into practice or to take a stand for Christ, consider what He suffered for you and be encouraged to endure hardship for Him.
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