This Man Has Done Nothing Wrong

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him...But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”  Luke 23:39-43 (ESV)

There is very little room for ambivalence when we encounter Jesus. The cross in particular divides, demanding either rejection or acceptance of the Messiah

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​No Guilt In This Man

Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man." ...Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” A third time he said to them, “Why? What evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death..." Luke 23:4, 20-22 (ESV)

The cast of characters who were part of Jesus' final earthly days ranged in devotion from disciple to mortal enemy. Pilate is intriguing because, by all accounts, his role was that of an unwilling participant in the infamous event.

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The Essence of the Gospel​​

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. Galatians 6:14-15 (ESV)

At times, it is tempting to place our trust and hope in the things we do for Jesus.

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​According To Your Faith Be It Done​

And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” When he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” And their eyes were opened. Matthew 9:27-30 (ESV)

As Christians, we all struggle with living out the belief that God's grace truly is enough to save us.

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​There Your Heart Will Be Also

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)

One of the dominant messages sent by our culture is that success is measured largely by financial standing. Despite the fact that most of us know there is a limit to the satisfaction and security money provides, we must constantly fight the temptation to place our trust in our possessions. 

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​Trust Leads To Joy

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.  Psalm 5:11 (ESV)

When we reflect on our relationships, it's clear that the people with whom we feel the most closeness are those who have earned our trust. Where protection and loyalty are a given, joy follows.

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​Christ Who Lives In Me​

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. Galatians 2:20-21 (ESV)

Much of scripture is worded bluntly, and it can sometimes be hard to swallow. 

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Believing When We Cannot See

Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." John 20:27-29 (ESV)

Somehow, even after Jesus had performed miracle after miracle and fulfilled every single Old Testament prophecy concerning himself, his disciples still struggled with disbelief.

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More Than We Can Hold

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.  Psalm 13:5-6 (ESV)

The Psalms are full of laments, many of which begin with the phrase, "How long, O Lord?" These verses from Psalm 13 immediately follow one such passage, but there is a noticeable shift in tone, beginning with the word "but." 

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God Meets Us With Clarity

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 (ESV)

Throughout history, humans have struggled to have a rightly ordered relationship with God. If we are prone to an extreme, it is usually to over-complicate worship and the Christian life.

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