Not a Bone was Broken

Today’s reading is Psalm 34.

Did you see Jesus at the end of this psalm?

He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.

Psalm 34:20

In John 19:36, we learn Jesus died relatively quickly on the cross. This kept the soldiers from breaking His legs. John says that was to fulfill the Scripture that says, “Not one of his bones will be broken” (ESV).

Certainly, this is part of Jesus fulfilling the Passover sacrifice (see Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12). Yet, Jesus is fulfilling our psalm as well.

Now, I know that sounds odd based on where we started the week. We explained that this psalm is David’s meditation on a moment when he stumbled and fell, but God delivered him anyway. Jesus didn’t stumble and fall. Why would we ever say this psalm is about Him? Good question.

The answer is very simply this. Even though David stumbled and fell, he learned how he was actually supposed to act. He used the experience to turn around and teach the coming generations how they were supposed to live. What did Jesus do? He lived that way. Where David failed, Jesus succeeded.

Jesus lived in fear of God and in wisdom. Jesus lived without deceit and without evil. Jesus sought peace and pursued it. Jesus took refuge in the Father. He committed His spirit into the hands of God. He faced many afflictions, but the Lord delivered Him from them all. And very specifically, despite all His afflictions, not a bone was broken. And because He succeeded, even though He died under Rome’s condemnation, His life was redeemed from the grave because of God’s approval and power. He was condemned by Pilate to die on the cross; He was justified (declared innocent) by God through the resurrection.

From David who failed and from Jesus who succeeded, we learn the same lesson. Trust the Lord. Take refuge in Him. Do what He says. It will be worth it in the end.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 35.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post.

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Common Temptations

Today’s reading is 1 Corinthians 10.

For a long time, I got the meaning of 1 Corinthians 10:13 exactly backwards. I have read it for most of my life as saying God let’s everyone get tempted in the same ways as I have, so I am obviously able to overcome the temptations. WRONG! Paul’s point is for me to take a look at what has happened to everyone else who plays around with and lingers in temptation. In the specific context, he is addressing the Corinthian desire to eat in the idols’ temples. He encourages them to look at how everyone else handled the temptations present in eating before idols. The Israelites ate and drank before the idol, then they rose up to play. That is, eating before the idol led to certain sin (Exodus 32). The Israelites started committing immorality with the daughters of Moab, and it led them to idolatry and destruction (Numbers 25). The Israelites put God to the test, and were destroyed by serpents. Interestingly, the very deliverance for them, the bronze serpent, later became a stumbling block of idolatry (Numbers 21, 2 Kings 18). Paul’s point is to notice how people commonly react to these common temptations. They fall. Then they get judged. What makes me arrogantly think I’ll be different from everyone else in the face of these very common temptations. Sadly, for the longest time, due to an unfortunate verse and paragraph break in the printed version of the Bible I use, I’ve missed Paul’s real point. Yes, God has provided a way of escape. But the way of escape is not right up close to the temptation. The way of escape is to flee the temptation. In context, to flee from idolatry. But really, if I would overcome sin, I must flee what tempts me. After all, my temptations are common to men and women of all time. How has everyone reacted when they cozied up to temptation? They have fallen. I will too. It is high time to take God’s path of escape by fleeing. That is my goal today. How about yours?

Tomorrow’s reading is 1 Corinthians 11.

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Strength Training

Today’s reading is Mark 14.

Is there anything in your life worth praying for a full hour about? And then doing so again? And then doing so again? What about the lost people around you? What about the temptations you’ve still been falling into? What about the battle Satan is waging against the kingdom of God and your congregation? Now here is the bigger question. If there was something so important that it needed an hour of prayer as Jesus gave to facing His impending sacrifice, would you be able to watch and pray or would you fall asleep like Peter? Jesus said Peter’s problem was not a lack of willingness but a lack of physical strength. His spirit was willing, but his flesh was weak. Many people wake up every morning, hit the gym, and lift weights adding incrementally each week to increase their flesh’s ability. May I suggest the more important strength training we need to pursue is the ability to pray like Jesus did in the garden, strengthening our flesh to be able to struggle and wrestle with God in prayer for increasing periods of time. Maybe there isn’t anything in your life right now that needs an hour of prayer, but when it does come, you want to be ready. How much time could you devote to focused prayer today without falling asleep? Start there. Then add to it next week even if only by one minute. One day, you’ll be glad you did.*

Tomorrow’s reading is Mark 15.

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Unbelief

Today’s reading is Mark 6.

(Many apologies. Apparently, over the weekend, I accidentally skipped a chapter and got a day ahead. Getting back on track today. Here is a second look at Mark 6)

Unbelief is not more powerful than Jesus. That is, Jesus didn’t lay His hands on many people, attempting to heal them, but find Himself thwarted by their powerful unbelief. Rather, He was only able to lay His hands on a few people. That is, only a few people came to Him to be healed. Unbelief doesn’t defeat the power of Jesus. It simply doesn’t seek the power of Jesus. By contrast, faith saves, not because faith itself has saving power. Rather, it saves because it seeks out the One, the only One, who has the saving power. So, don’t be surprised if you ignore everything or even just some of what Jesus says and it doesn’t work for you. Believe, seek Him, listen to Him. That is what works.

Tomorrow’s reading is Mark 7 (For real this time).

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