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Monday, January 28, 2013

Look to the Cross

This morning during my Bible reading I read Psalm 22.  This psalm is one of the clearest Old Testament prophecies of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  It includes many details which Jesus' passion would fulfill many hundreds of years later.
"All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: 'He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him.  Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.'" (v 7-8)
"I am poured out like water, all my bones are out of joint.  My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me.  My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.  Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.  I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me.  They divide my garments among them and cast lost for my clothing." (v 14-18)

A little later this morning I read a blog post by my friend Sara, discussing one of my favorite hymns, Water, Blood and Spirit Crying.  She quotes Stephen Starke, who wrote the text, and who said in his explanation of it, "To look for God we need look no farther than the cross."

I mentioned to Joshua while we were eating breakfast that it seemed that I was being led to focus on Good Friday today--interesting since it's a foggy, damp Monday.  Joshua replied that every day is a good day to ponder the events of that Friday so long ago.  He's right.

What Jesus did for me that day should be in my heart and my thoughts every day, because it was that sacrifice of his that makes it possible for me to live each day in his grace, and to have the hope of eternity in heaven.

The horrors that Jesus experienced aren't pleasant to think about.  I'm not suggesting that I let the awful details of his torture and death pervade my thoughts constantly; I would never be able to think about anything else if I was only focused on that.  But the reality is that Jesus' death, and his resurrection, are the reasons that I have God's forgiveness--and it is only because of that that I can love, obey and serve him.

The text of the hymn Water, Blood and Spirit Crying is worth reading in its entirety:

Hymn Text:  Water, Blood, and Spirit Crying (Lutheran Service Book 597)

1. Water, blood, and Spirit crying,
    By their witness testifying
    To the One whose death-defying
       Life has come, with life for all.

2. In a wat'ry grave are buried
    All our sins that Jesus carried;
    Christ, the Ark of Life, has ferried
       Us across death's raging flood.

3. Dark the way, yet Christ precedes us,
    Past the scowl of death He leads us;
    Spreads a table where He feeds us
      With His body and His blood.

4. Through around us death is seething,
    God, His two-edged sword unsheathing,
    By His Spirit life is breathing
       Through the living, active Word.

5. Spirit, water, blood entreating,
    Working faith and its completing
    In the One whose death-defeating
       Life has come, with life for all.

Let us rejoice in Christ's sacrifice for us on the cross; and let us live every day in the joy which his forgiveness gives us.

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