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16/04/2022 03:00 - 17/04/2022 02:00

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends" - John 15:13 (NIV). 

When it was released, the movie, Passion, directed by Hollywood legend, Mel Gibson, generated heated controversy. Some critics particularly accused it of excessive violence. The movie has certain bloody scenes where Jesus is savagely whipped as he carries the cross up to Mount Calvary.

In as much as some would have preferred a lite version the reality is there was little else to do. First we are told, "Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face" (John 19:19).

Washed with blood and spent, at a certain point, "As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus" (Luke 23:26). Jesus needed help as this was clearly not a light walk.

The Romans would execute their convicts by tying them on a tree and nailing them up to suffer a slow death. In clear agony Matthew 27:46 notes, "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

But why did Jesus have to suffer that much? The simple reason is, "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification" (Romans 4:25). Jesus shed His blood to cancel the guilt of our sins “We have now been justified by his blood” (Romans 5:9).

Salvation is a free gift because someone has already paid the full price. After all what Christ went through what more is there to add than simply accept him as Lord and saviour of your life!

Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, you suffered for me that I may gladly receive eternal life, this is why I receive you as my Lord and Saviour, this I pray in Jesus's name.

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    “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful”( 2 Timothy 4:7).

    Fighting may be looked at as a non-desirable way of life, especially by those who are pacifists. In fact, throughout Christian history there are many who have literally taken Jesus’s admonition of “turn the other cheek” in Mathew 5:39, to mean nonresistance in the face of attack. The fact that Jesus rebuked the Apostle Peter for drawing a sword against his captors  ( Mathew 26:52), means giving in to those who attack them, as a sign of humility.

    Yes, of course there are moments where Christians must practice that humility and give in to those who attack them well remembering His word, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord” ( Romans 12:19). However, that said, Believers in Christ would be mistaken to imagine that they must not fight for their faith, whenever under attack. For in reality, the faith of believers is under constant attack from Satan, who comes to “kill and destroy” ( John 10:1).

    Faced with this, Paul went at great length to advise Christians to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” ( Ephesians 6:11). To ward of constant attacks by the enemy Paul challenged us to “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” ( vv 14-17).

    Paul is telling us that if you think that ours is a walk over faith where you are not going to fight back against the attacks of the enemy you are very mistaken. Fight we must, and hold our ground. The devil respects that! And when all is done, we can then gladly say, “we have fought the good fight, finished the race” and thank God Almighty we are free at last!

    Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise ready to resist the attacks of the enemy, by wearing the full of armor of God, and with the sword of the Spirit, fight back to victory, this I pray in Jesus’ name!