Remember His Sufferings!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Sin

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

John 12:36-38 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light." These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them. But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: "Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"

The apostle John quotes Isaiah 53:1, saying to whom has the z’roah [arm] of the Lord been revealed? It’s a question that God answers throughout the rest of Isaiah 53, describing in detail the life of Yeshua (Jesus) and the ultimate price He would pay for the sins of the world.

The word translated, "revealed" (in Hebrew: "galah") actually has a more negative connotation. One of its meanings is "to be stripped naked in a disgraceful way". It also means "to be treated like a captive", and "to be carried away into exile", or, "to be shamelessly uncovered". So the Lord is not simply revealed, but stripped, humiliated, and deeply degraded in order to save us. The cost He paid was terrible.

It's never easy for us to remember this or to think much about it, since it's hard enough to imagine an innocent human being suffering so much; but then to realize that I had some part in it… Yet, we should remember; because the reality of the Lord's cross belongs to us in every way, and we may yet be called to endure our own share of suffering with Him and for Him. Remembering His sufferings will prepare us for whatever may lie ahead.

Remember the Lord's sufferings. It will keep you spiritually honest, and prepare you for your own small share in them — His memory will also draw out your love and gratitude, and keep your heart tender toward Him and everyone else.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Sin

Where are your accusers?

Worthy Christian Devotions » Sin

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

John 8:3-5, 10-11 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?" 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."

Yeshua (Jesus) knew the heart of every man and woman. As a totally pure and righteous human being, His experience of every other sin-filled person is really impossible for us to imagine. He knew that every repulsive thought, attitude and action of every person in the world would soon fall on Him, and that He would carry them…away. And so Yeshua did not come with a spirit of condemnation — but with a spirit of grace and truth.

Caught in the very act of adultery, and brought into His presence, the woman's sin was immediately exposed and her conviction was absolute. The sin was condemned…. but not the sinner. Her accusers wanted to stone her, to sacrifice her life, and use the law of Moses to condemn Yeshua, out of their jealous hatred of Him. But the Lord, in His beautiful, understated way, quietly wrote in the sand, and then turned their hatred into deep conviction.

The whole world is convicted in Yeshua's presence. But only the ones who really appreciate His grace are filled with amazement and gratitude. Can you imagine how this woman must have felt? Her mind had been filled with voices of accusation, rejection, and condemnation. Yeshua didn't feed the frenzy, but calmly observed, "He that is without sin, let him cast the first stone." When no one did, the Lord freed the convicted sinner and restored her life, saying, "Go and sin no more."

Voices of accusation, rejection and condemnation will rise against you in the presence of your sins — but Yeshua will write in the sand and expose the hearts of your accusers. Confess your sin, and stand amazed and grateful, for His grace.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Sin

Choose Godspeed!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Sin

By George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

Proverbs 16:17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who keeps his way preserves his soul.

Mark 1:15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."

Proverbs says the "highway of the upright is to depart from evil". It's a highway — a way of life so to speak. And this proverb coincides with the central teaching of Yeshua (Jesus) — "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand." What does it mean to repent? The Greek Word is "metanoia" which simply means to change your mind about sin or to depart from evil.

Repentance is essentially a new attitude about the way I conduct my life. I don't expect perfection while remaining in this mortal body — but a lifestyle of repentance means that I choose to live my life set apart unto the Lord, in communion with His Holy Spirit who lives in me, constantly turning away from and/or confessing my sins. Repentance does not involve rehearsing guilt, regret, or sins of the past, because true repentance and confession removes those from our conscience and the Lord declares them to be as far as the east is from the west!

Choose the highway of the upright and speed your way through life's journey to the Kingdom of Heaven which awaits you. The enemy would love to sidetrack or distract you with the enticement of sin — but even if he succeeds temporarily, you can always repent — and speedily, get back on the right road –the highway of the upright.

Read more Christian Devotions on: Life, Repentance, Sin

Worthy Christian Devotions » Sin

Follow your Sar Ha'Chaim!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Sin

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

Isaiah 53:8-9 He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked– But with the rich at His deaths [plural in the Hebrew], Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.

Acts 3:15 and killed the Prince of life [in Hebrew, lives], whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.

An interesting parallel exists between these two passages of scripture: Isaiah 53:9 and Acts 3:15. Isaiah renders the "death" of the messiah in the plural form, "deaths" ("motav"). Acts renders the life of the Prince of Life as "lives" ("chaim"). Some scholars suggest that the plurality of the word death indicates a violent death this servant would suffer, and that making the noun plural is a way of emphasizing the terrible intensity of his experience. Jewish counter-missionaries suggest that the "death" in plural shows that the suffering servant is not an individual man, but a group of people, specifically the nation of Israel, thus denying that the passage refers to an individual messianic figure.

I like to look at this passage as a reminder that Yeshua suffered death for me, personally, but also for every one else who would believe in Him. Since we all died with Him on the cross as He died to sin, it could be said that He suffered many deaths for all those He loved.

Tracing the parallel to the Acts passage we can understand why it says there that He was the "Prince of Lives". The phrase is "sar ha-chaim" in the Brit Hadashah (Hebrew New Testament), indicating a plurality of life. In His suffering of deaths, He became the Prince of lives! How many lives did He save? How many kinds of life? We'll find out someday….maybe.

Yeshua's death was complete; a finished work of comprehensive grace; totally effective and absolutely personal. His resurrection was equally full, final and personal — through Him we died to sin, and need no longer walk in it; and through Him we live to God, and can walk in newness of life, abundant life — for He truly is the Prince of Life!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Sin

Embrace the Paradox and Rejoice!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Sin

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Last Friday night and Saturday, Jews throughout the world solemnly “afflicted” their souls during Yom Kippur. However, most kids in Israel look at Yom Kippur as “ride your bikes in the streets day!” You see, Yom Kippur in Israel is the one day when TV and radio stations are completely shut down and the streets are almost completely void of vehicles of any kind. Ironically, some of the only fully operational locations in Israel on Yom Kippur are the hospital emergency rooms – since kids who finally have no restraints on their bikes, skateboards, and roller skates tend to take risks they wouldn't normally take – it's Yom Kippur – they have the streets to themselves!

These two "sides" of Yom Kippur in Israel reflect our experience as believers. Our identification with Yeshua (Jesus) promises a certain degree of affliction in our lives, that we share in the fellowship of His sufferings. Yet we are also like children who can revel in and enjoy the freedom that His sacrifice has brought us into. This is the paradox of our life of faith, and something we can embrace fully by the grace of God.

Knowing and following Yeshua is a life of suffering and great joy, even revelry. Which ever side of the "fence" you're on at the moment, you can be thankful that, because your sins are forgiven, the end of the matter will be better than the beginning. So, count it all joy when you meet with trials….and rejoice in the Lord always…forgiveness of sins is your passport to Eternal Life.

Worthy Christian Devotions » Sin