READ: Mark 15:21-47
THINK: Why did Jesus endure all the rejection and pain He encountered during His life and ministry--particularly as His death approached? He certainly didn't deserve the abuse, and He didn't pursue this path of opposition for His own sake, other than the fact that He wanted to relate to us in a personal way. But that was not possible without God's intervention. He could not have a relationship with people who have all chosen to go their own way and defy Him. That's what sin is, and it separates us all from God. Ultimately, our sin warrants death and eternal separation from Him. The only way to restore that relationship was for God himself to provide the perfect payment for sin's penalty, which He did by sending His Son, Jesus, to suffer sin's ultimate consequences in our place. Jesus died to provide forgiveness and new life for those who entrust themselves to Him. That's the message of hope His followers have the privilege of sharing with everyone else, even those who continue to reject Him.
RESPOND: Why would people heap insult upon injury as they passed by Jesus? For whom did Jesus suffer and endure all of the shame, and why? Do you think that those who mocked Jesus would have believed Him if He would have saved himself from death? Why of why not? Why did Jesus not save himself (cf. v. 31)? Whom did He save instead through His death? What was the symbolism and significance of the temple curtain being torn in two from top to bottom (See Matthew 27:51.) What does this mean for you?
PRAY: Express gratitude to Jesus for enduring the shame of your sin against God, and for opening the way for you to be forgiven and have a personal relationship with God.
ACT: Whenever you hear someone make a negative, derogatory or insulting comment about God, Christianity, faith, spiritual issues--even if they use God's name casually as a curse word--take a moment to pray silently for the individual. Ask God to reveal himself in an undeniable way to him or her. If you feel that it's appropriate, say something that may influence the person to rethink their words or opinions. But be kind and gracious as you do.
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