April 5

Deuteronomy 11:18-19 (NIV) 18Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

The Jews took this quite literally. Even today at the Western Wall you can see them fix the Scripture Boxes (phylacteries) to their foreheads and wrap their arms. Almost every home has a Scripture container on the doorframe.

There was a time in the USA when people included portions of Scripture in their daily conversation. The Bible was read daily by many, and many of our old expressions come from Scripture. That trend has all but died out. We rarely speak in the expressions of the Bible, and are even mocked when we quote Scripture. That shouldn't bother us though. The word of God is powerful and living and will accomplish God's purposes. If we speak the Scripture that God lays on our heart during a conversation, it will surely do its work.

For the Holy Spirit to bring it to memory, we should be reading it daily. We should be taking unhurried time to dwell on a passage. We should be memorizing it. Then it can be brought to our minds to be effective for us and for those with whom we communicate.

We have a duty to model this for our children, and teach them to do the same. The passage here is a good pointer for morning and evening devotions. The word should start and end our day. It should also be a topic during the day.

Consider: How far are you from God's request? What will you do to change that?

April 5

Matthew 27:28-30 (NIV) 28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said. 30They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.

Once the Roman governor, Pilate, pronounced the sentence, the soldiers had their fun with Jesus. I'm sure they would rather have worked over Barabbas, the zealot, but this Jewish teacher would have to do. The charge was that He claimed to be king, so they put a robe of regal red on him and made Him a crown out of thorns. The plant they most likely used is called "Crown of Thorns" today. Its spikes are two to three inches in length. As the first couple were being expelled from the Garden of Eden, God told Adam that thorns would come up from the ground, making his efforts to till the soil difficult. In our passage today, the second Adam is taking the curse of the thorns on His head. He is taking the curse of sin upon Himself that we might be free of it.

Jesus had already been beaten and spit upon by the religious leaders. Now it was the secular government's turn. After the scourging He would have had no strength to resist. They put a stick in His hand pretending it to be a staff of authority and bowed in mockery. Then they would wrench the stick from Him and beat Him over the head again and again. This is the Lord of glory that formed them and gave them life. He knows their lineage back to Adam. He knows the number of hairs on their head. He is about to pay for their sins with His own death that they might have a chance to live. When the soldiers had grown tired of their game of mockery, they placed a beam across His torn shoulders and tied His arms to it. A rope was probably placed about His waist, with a soldier at the other end, leading Him to the place of execution.

We wonder how man can be so cold, so heartless. Jesus would soon say they did not know what they were doing. If Jesus can overlook such abuse, knowing that man is ignorant, how much more should we overlook words and actions that offend us? He did nothing to deserve the abuse. But oh how many times we have. He has been so gracious to forgive our ignorance. Let us forgive others for theirs.

Prayer: Take a moment to thank Him again for enduring this abuse for you.