Friday, December 25, 2020

Advent 2020, Fri., 12/25 - Matthew 27

Merry Christmas! We celebrate Christ's birth while also grasping how His life on earth would end. The fullness of Jesus' life is what made Him our atoning sacrifice. Praise God!

PRAY for God to give us love for Christ as we read today.

READ Matthew 27.

REFLECT
Reading through this long chapter, I see that Matthew weaves many testimonies together, and many different responses to Jesus. The chief priests and elders in tandem with Pilate - these represent the two sets of authorities before whom Jesus stood trial, the Jewish leaders and the Roman government. We also have Judas the betrayer, the crowd in Jerusalem, Barabbas (set free) and two robbers (crucified next to Jesus), the mocking soldiers, the testifying centurion (54), Simon the Cyrene (who carried the cross), Joseph of Arimathea, and some women who were followers of Jesus. (Where are the apostles?) The busy scenes make it hard to focus on the crucifixion itself. Jesus suffered. It was a long, drawn-out death. It was very public. It was unjust: there were many motions to free Jesus (even Pilate's wife), but the people shouted for Jesus' crucifixion. Everyone witnessed it. What a tragic day! But Jesus endured it all, gave it all, to save us and to glorify God.

RESPOND
Reading through this long chapter on Christmas Day is surreal. We had Christmas Eve service just a few hours ago, celebrating the beauty of the incarnation - Immanuel, God with us, God came to His people! The beauty of that scene is contrasted with the ugliness of this day-long execution. But think of this: the most beautiful human being ever to walk on the face of the earth ("He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation," Colossians 1:15) faced the ugliest death that mankind could devise. We should celebrate the beauty of Jesus' birth, life, and person. He gave His life as a gift for us. Merry Christmas! We have received the gift of beauty and salvation!

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