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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But Where’s Jesus?

Today’s reading is Psalm 32.

I see your hand in the back there. You have a question? “But where’s Jesus?” you ask. That is a very good question. I’ve made it pretty clear we ought to be able to find Jesus in most, if not all, the psalms. Do we find Him in this one? Absolutely.

I think the key to finding Jesus is in vs. 6:

“Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found…”

Psalm 32:6

Who are these “godly” people? On the one hand that just doesn’t make sense. We are talking about sinners reaching out to find God and confess their ungodliness to Him. How can David call them godly?

The term here translates the Hebrew “chasid.” That is an adjective form of the much more well-known “chesed.” “Chesed” is that word translated steadfast love, loyal love, lovingkindness. It is the covenant love God has for His people (see Exodus 34:6-7). Once I grasp that, I see that “godly” does not actually refer to those who have always and only behaved in a godly fashion. Rather, the godly are the covenant people who are subjects of God’s covenant love. In other words, not just anyone gets to cry out in confession to God and get forgiveness. Only those who are part of God’s covenant, the godly, can do so.

Obviously, in this one little post, I don’t have time or room to trace out the progression from the covenant at Sinai to the covenant at Zion. But even those covenant people under the law of Moses actually only found forgiveness because of the blood of Jesus Christ. It is only because of the covenant God offers through Jesus Christ that anyone can have the forgiveness this psalm talks about. And, only the people who are in covenant with God through Jesus Christ experience this covenant love of forgiveness today.

Where is Jesus in this psalm? He is the foundation of it. He is the basis of it. Without Him, this psalm simply isn’t true. But because of Him, it is. Because of Him and His sacrifice, when we His people confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.

Praise the Lord!

Next week’s reading is Psalm 33.

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.

Continue reading “But Where’s Jesus?”

The Meal of Thanksgiving

Today’s reading is Psalm 22.

Psalm 22:25-26 is a beautiful picture we might miss if we don’t remember the Law. Leviticus 7:16-17 provides the law for votive or vow offerings. What we often miss is these sacrifices weren’t simply slaughtered and burned. They were eaten. Psalm 22:25-31 is a beautiful picture of a votive sacrifice celebration. The delivered king invites the entire congregation of God’s people to gather and watch him offer his votive sacrifice. Not only do they get to watch, they get to eat the feast from the sacrifice. It is reminiscent of the feast Solomon offered at the dedication of the temple in 1 Kings 8:62-66. There is sacrifice, feasting, joy, praise, worship. And while I do not want to claim this is a prophecy of the Lord’s Supper, I do want us to see that the Lord’s Supper is a fulfillment of this picture. That is, Psalm 22:25-31 is not teaching us to take the Lord’s Supper, but every time we participate in the Supper we are participating in the votive feast of peace and thanksgiving. Whether we are the afflicted or the prosperous, whether we were part of the Jewish congregation or have come to the supper from the Gentile ends of the earth, we eat and are satisfied. We praise the Lord and we worship. And we tell to the next generation “He has done it. It is finished.” Praise the Lord!!!

Next week’s reading is Psalm 23.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier that expands on this post!

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Christian First, Roman Second

Today’s reading is Acts 25.

I have to be honest with you about something in today’s reading. I hear people refer to Paul’s use of his Roman rights, as when he appealed to Caesar, and I fear we often get the perspective completely backwards. Paul was a Roman citizen, no doubt. He clearly made use of the rights afforded him by the Roman government, and was, no doubt, thankful for them. However, Paul was always a Christian first and a Roman second. I want to make sure I maintain the proper balanced perspective on this. The Bible doesn’t teach patriotism for your earthly country is necessarily sinful. However, neither does the Bible teach patriotism for your earthly country is part of faithful Christianity. If you love your earthly nation, that’s fine. But remember, while your earthly nation may be friendly to Christ’s kingdom, it will ultimately end up as an enemy. They all do. And we are part of a kingdom that ultimately will destroy your earthly nation. There is just no comparison. Whether Egypt, Babylon, Rome, Britain, or the United States, Christ’s kingdom is the stone cut out without hands that will conquer all other kingdoms and grind them into dust. No, our King won’t do that with politics, military strategies, or guns. He will do it with the gospel and perseverance. But as Paul was Christian first and Roman second, we need to be Christian first and American second (or whatever nationality you are).

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 25.

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All Things to All Men

Today’s reading is Acts 21.

What is Paul doing? Offering sacrifices? Isn’t Jesus the only sacrifice needed? We have forgiveness of sins now, we don’t need to sacrifice, right? Yet, here he goes helping with the vow offerings of these Jewish men. And, before we say something foolish, please recall from Numbers 6:14 that sin offerings were part of the offerings given in these vows. We simply need to understand that these early years were a time of transition. As Jews were becoming Christians, they continued to honor God based on the Law as they learned to honor God based on Jesus Christ. God, of course, helped bring this transition time to a close by removing the temple and therefore all sacrifices in 70AD by the destruction of Jerusalem. What we ultimately see in this passage is Paul living out his claim to be all things to all men. Whatever it would take to draw people to Christ and avoid putting obstacles in their way, so long as it wouldn’t cause him to violate Christ’s law, Paul would do it. May we love people and long for their salvation so much as Paul did.

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 21.

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Ready for Prison

Today’s reading is Acts 21.

“I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

I believe Paul fully thought he was about to walk into Jerusalem and follow the footsteps of his King all the way to a cross. After all, a prophet cannot die except in Jerusalem, right? (See Luke 13:33). And Paul was ready. Why? Because Jesus had resolutely walked into Jerusalem ready to die for Paul. Turnabout is fair play, don’t you think? Paul did. Paul had once fought against Jesus, but he had been conquered, taken captive, and enslaved to the greatest Master he could ever know. In a shocking turn of events and emotions, he was excited to be a captive of Jesus Christ. He never once called himself a prisoner of Caesar. He always called himself a prisoner of Jesus Christ. And he was happy to follow Jesus right to his own death. I pray God will strengthen me to be ready to face whatever the enemy throws my way. Jesus was ready to die for me, I want to be ready to do so for Him.

Today’s reading is Acts 21.

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What Do I Value?

Today’s reading is Acts 20.

Jesus had said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Paul’s heart was clearly in heaven. That is why he was able to walk resolutely into Jerusalem, following the footsteps of his Savior, firmly believing he would die there. His treasure wasn’t in this life. He didn’t value the things of this world. That is why he could say he didn’t covet anyone’s silver or gold. That isn’t what he was about. He didn’t value his freedom or his life. He valued the kingdom. He valued the ministry. He valued the gospel. He valued Jesus. I imagine for him, the most shocking thing was not that he got arrested in Jerusalem, but that instead of dying there like Jesus, he ended up leaving, going to Rome, and eventually being delivered from that particular imprisonment (at least if Philippians and Philemon are any indication). All of this leads to the question I have to ask. What do I value? Where is my treasure? Where is my heart? What about you?

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 20.

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In Public and From House to House

Today’s reading is Acts 20.

When Paul was in Ephesus, he taught publicly and from house to house. Back in Acts 19:8-10, we see Paul preaching and teaching in the synagogues and then in the hall of Tyrranus. We know in other towns, and probably can assume in Ephesus he did the same thing, that he would go to the marketplace and reason among the other teachers and philosophers. This would account for the public teaching. But I really want to home in on teaching from house to house. Have you ever thought about what made that possible? Paul didn’t break into people’s homes and start teaching. He was able to teach from house to house because people invited him into their homes. I think about Peter’s opportunity with Cornelius back in Acts 10. When he got to Cornelius’s house, Cornelius had invited family and friends over to hear the message. Have you ever wondered why God has let you purchase or rent a home? It isn’t so you can save up a retirement nest egg in equity. It’s so you can use it to His glory and in service of others. If we are going to walk in Paul’s footsteps today, letting the gospel be preached in public and from house to house, some of us need to open up our houses and invite people in to hear the message.

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 20.

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No Greater Burden

Today’s reading is Acts 15.

James recommended and the congregation wrote in its letter to the Gentile congregations impacted by the men who had gone out from Jerusalem, that they would lay no greater burden on the Gentiles than to abstain from 1) what has been sacrificed to idols, 2) blood, 3) what has been strangled, 4) sexual immorality. Does James mean Gentile Christians can steal? Can we murder? Not at all. On a general level, the point is that just because the Gentiles are not amenable to the Law, doesn’t mean every legal stipulation of the Law has been abrogated by the gospel. In specific, James is addressing the major baggage the Gentile of his day had to face. No, they didn’t have to surrender to the Law, but they weren’t allowed to hang out in idolatry. They needed to flee it. They needed to get away from idolatry and abandon all its accoutrements. As we have seen on multiple occasions, converts often want to bring their baggage in with them. We need to drop our baggage at the door. Be devoted to Jesus. Get rid of everything else.

Today’s reading is Acts 15.

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Resurrection: The Message of Salvation

Today’s reading is Acts 13.

I believe I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m reminded of it again in this sermon. In the modern day, we tend to believe the message of salvation is basically, “Jesus died for your sins.” Certainly, there is basis for that. We find it in 1 Corinthians 15:3. However, that is almost never mentioned in Luke/Acts. Rather, in Luke’s gospel account of Jesus and historical account of Jesus’s early kingdom, the saving message of Jesus is that He was raised from the dead. In Luke/Acts, the import of the death is that a person has to die to be raised from the dead, but the main import for the message of salvation is that God raised Jesus from the dead. Don’t misunderstand, it is not that Luke ignores the atoning and sacrificial nature of Jesus’s death. Rather, it is that Luke emphasizes that what indicates Jesus’s death is more than just another death among a long litany of people who have died is that on the third day, Jesus arose. It is through a man that was raised from the dead that forgiveness is proclaimed. After all, if He can be set free from death, He can set us free from sin and guilt. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 13.

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