The Cross of Christ

  • March 25, 2016
Friday 25

Hebrews 10:1-14

In Old Testament times, people atoned for sin through repeated animal sacrifices. But that was a temporary measure, since the blood of bulls and goats covered sin without removing it (Heb. 10:4). The offering of animals, however, pointed to the ultimate solution: Jesus’ shed blood on the cross—the perfect once-for-all sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins.

Calvary wasn’t some improvised fix to correct the original system; Jesus giving up His life for us had been the plan all along (Matt. 20:28). Scripture reveals that God was never fully satisfied with burnt offerings, no matter how much they cost the person seeking forgiveness (Heb. 10:5-7). To eradicate sin, absolute perfection had to be offered. That’s why Jesus came (Phil. 2:7-8)—and why the cross is a reminder of the greatest sacrifice love has ever made.

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To eradicate sin, absolute perfection had to be offered. That’s why Jesus came.

The cross is also an example Christ set for us. When James exhorted believers to “consider it all joy” as difficulties arise (James 1:2), he likely remembered how the Lord “for the joy set before Him endured the cross” (Heb. 12:2). Jesus said that to be His follower, one “must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For ... whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it” (Luke 9:23-24). Billy Graham explained, “It was the same as saying, ‘Come and bring your electric chair with you. Take up the gas chamber and follow Me.’ He did not have a beautiful gold cross in mind—the cross on a church steeple or on the front of your Bible. Jesus had in mind a place of execution.”
God doesn’t demand our own blood to pay for atonement but wants us to give our life in a different way—as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1), offered up in service for His kingdom. The cross of Christ is more than the wood His body was nailed to 2,000 years ago. It’s more than a symbol, on churches or jewelry, of what Jesus did for us. The cross we carry must be a consciousness of the debt we owe God and the willingness to live—or die—for Him.

by Ann-Margret Hovsepian

Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 7-9

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1 For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.

2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins?

3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year.

4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

5 Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME;

6 IN WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE TAKEN NO PLEASURE.

7 THEN I SAID, `BEHOLD, I HAVE COME (IN THE SCROLL OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME) TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.'"

8 After saying above, SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS AND WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, NOR HAVE YOU TAKEN PLEASURE in them " (which are offered according to the Law),

9 then He said, BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL." He takes away the first in order to establish the second.

10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;

12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,

13 waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.

14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

5 Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME;

6 IN WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE TAKEN NO PLEASURE.

7 THEN I SAID, `BEHOLD, I HAVE COME (IN THE SCROLL OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME) TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.'"

7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,

2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

23 And He was saying to them all, If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

24 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.

1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

1 And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took the ark of the LORD and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, and consecrated Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the LORD.

2 From the day that the ark remained at Kiriath-jearim, the time was long, for it was twenty years; and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.

3 Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, If you return to the LORD with all your heart, remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your hearts to the LORD and serve Him alone; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines."

4 So the sons of Israel removed the Baals and the Ashtaroth and served the LORD alone.

5 Then Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpah and I will pray to the LORD for you."

6 They gathered to Mizpah, and drew water and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day and said there, We have sinned against the LORD." And Samuel judged the sons of Israel at Mizpah.

7 Now when the Philistines heard that the sons of Israel had gathered to Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the sons of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines.

8 Then the sons of Israel said to Samuel, Do not cease to cry to the LORD our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines."

9 Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it for a whole burnt offering to the LORD; and Samuel cried to the LORD for Israel and the LORD answered him.

10 Now Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, and the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day against the Philistines and confused them, so that they were routed before Israel.

11 The men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and struck them down as far as below Beth-car.

12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, Thus far the LORD has helped us."

13 So the Philistines were subdued and they did not come anymore within the border of Israel. And the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.

14 The cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even to Gath; and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. So there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.

15 Now Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life.

16 He used to go annually on circuit to Bethel and Gilgal and Mizpah, and he judged Israel in all these places.

17 Then his return was to Ramah, for his house was there, and there he judged Israel; and he built there an altar to the LORD.

1 And it came about when Samuel was old that he appointed his sons judges over Israel.

2 Now the name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judging in Beersheba.

3 His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice.

4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah;

5 and they said to him, Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations."

6 But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, Give us a king to judge us." And Samuel prayed to the LORD.

7 The LORD said to Samuel, Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.

8 Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day--in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods--so they are doing to you also.

9 Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly warn them and tell them of the procedure of the king who will reign over them."

10 So Samuel spoke all the words of the LORD to the people who had asked of him a king.

11 He said, This will be the procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots.

12 He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and of fifties, and some to do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.

13 He will also take your daughters for perfumers and cooks and bakers.

14 He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his servants.

15 He will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards and give to his officers and to his servants.

16 He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and use them for his work.

17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants.

18 Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day."

19 Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, No, but there shall be a king over us,

20 that we also may be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles."

21 Now after Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the LORD'S hearing.

22 The LORD said to Samuel, Listen to their voice and appoint them a king." So Samuel said to the men of Israel, Go every man to his city."

1 Now there was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah, the son of a Benjamite, a mighty man of valor.

2 He had a son whose name was Saul, a choice and handsome man, and there was not a more handsome person than he among the sons of Israel; from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people.

3 Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul's father, were lost. So Kish said to his son Saul, Take now with you one of the servants, and arise, go search for the donkeys."

4 He passed through the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them. Then they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they did not find them.

5 When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, Come, and let us return, or else my father will cease to be concerned about the donkeys and will become anxious for us."

6 He said to him, Behold now, there is a man of God in this city, and the man is held in honor; all that he says surely comes true. Now let us go there, perhaps he can tell us about our journey on which we have set out."

7 Then Saul said to his servant, But behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? For the bread is gone from our sack and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What do we have?"

8 The servant answered Saul again and said, Behold, I have in my hand a fourth of a shekel of silver; I will give it to the man of God and he will tell us our way."

9 (Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he used to say, Come, and let us go to the seer"; for he who is called a prophet now was formerly called a seer.)

10 Then Saul said to his servant, Well said; come, let us go." So they went to the city where the man of God was.

11 As they went up the slope to the city, they found young women going out to draw water and said to them, Is the seer here?"

12 They answered them and said, He is; see, he is ahead of you. Hurry now, for he has come into the city today, for the people have a sacrifice on the high place today.

13 As soon as you enter the city you will find him before he goes up to the high place to eat, for the people will not eat until he comes, because he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those who are invited will eat. Now therefore, go up for you will find him at once."

14 So they went up to the city. As they came into the city, behold, Samuel was coming out toward them to go up to the high place.

15 Now a day before Saul's coming, the LORD had revealed this to Samuel saying,

16 About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over My people Israel; and he will deliver My people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have regarded My people, because their cry has come to Me."

17 When Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said to him, Behold, the man of whom I spoke to you! This one shall rule over My people."

18 Then Saul approached Samuel in the gate and said, Please tell me where the seer's house is."

19 Samuel answered Saul and said, I am the seer. Go up before me to the high place, for you shall eat with me today; and in the morning I will let you go, and will tell you all that is on your mind.

20 As for your donkeys which were lost three days ago, do not set your mind on them, for they have been found. And for whom is all that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you and for all your father's household?"

21 Saul replied, Am I not a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then do you speak to me in this way?"

22 Then Samuel took Saul and his servant and brought them into the hall and gave them a place at the head of those who were invited, who were about thirty men.

23 Samuel said to the cook, Bring the portion that I gave you, concerning which I said to you, `Set it aside.'"

24 Then the cook took up the leg with what was on it and set it before Saul. And Samuel said, Here is what has been reserved! Set it before you and eat, because it has been kept for you until the appointed time, since I said I have invited the people." So Saul ate with Samuel that day.

25 When they came down from the high place into the city, Samuel spoke with Saul on the roof.

26 And they arose early; and at daybreak Samuel called to Saul on the roof, saying, Get up, that I may send you away." So Saul arose, and both he and Samuel went out into the street.

27 As they were going down to the edge of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Say to the servant that he might go ahead of us and pass on, but you remain standing now, that I may proclaim the word of God to you."

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Publish Date December 15, 2018
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