In our study last week we began to look at Christ's death on the cross. When we talk about the cross in a theological sense, we are not talking about a piece of wood used to torture men. The cross is metonymy (a word or expression used as a substitute for something with which it is closely associated) for the doctrine of atonement. Notice how "cross" is used in these verses:
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, that the cross of Christ should not be made void. 18 For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:17-18 NASB)
It is obvious here that when Paul talks about the "cross of Christ" he is not talking about the actual wooden cross that Jesus died upon, but about the doctrine of the cross.
But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished. (Galatians 5:11 NASB)
Again we see here that Paul is not talking about the instrument used to execute criminals, but a doctrine. The doctrine of the cross proclaims an event of historical and theological significance. It points to Christ who died the death of a criminal, but whose death concerned the eternal destiny of man. This doctrine of the cross is the doctrine of atonement. The doctrine of atonement explains what exactly happened at Calvary and the meaning of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross. Every believer should understand and be able to explain the doctrine of the atonement, because it is the heart of the Gospel. To understand the atonement, you must first understand that man is a sinner:
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned-- (Romans 5:12 NASB)
Adam was every man's representative when he sinned so that every person born into this world is born a sinner; he is spiritually dead, separated from God. Man, in this condition of spiritual death, can do nothing to appease God's wrath or earn God's favor, because he is spiritually bankrupt.
Because of this condition, God introduced a program to redeem man; He literally bought us back for Himself. God invaded human history in the form of the man Christ Jesus. Jesus left heaven to be born as a baby and live a sinless life and then die a substitutionary death at Calvary. On that cross, Jesus took upon Himself our sin and received the judgement of God that we deserved as sinners. Because He was an innocent, infinite sufferer, He satisfied fully and completely the righteous demands of a holy God, and God was propitiated. Propitiation is the turning of God's wrath away from the sinner by a sacrifice made to satisfy God. Sinners deserve God's wrath, because they have violated His holy standard. Believing sinners are declared righteous through redemption on the basis of propitiation. God's justice was satisfied by the death of Jesus Christ; sin had been paid for. Man can now once again have fellowship with God through faith in the sacrificial work of Christ.
All this is possible because of the cross. We began to look last week at the story of the crucifixion. We talked about what crucifixion was from the physical aspect. It was a horrible death, a slow agonizing, brutal death, which raised the question, "Why did Jesus have to die this way? Why did His death have to be so brutal?" I think there are two reasons:
1. I think that God wants us to see how much He hates sin. He wants us to see the pain and destruction that sin brings. Believer, don't ever take sin lightly, look at the cross to see how much God hates sin. I think that we all understand that.
2. Now this second reason you my not have thought of, but it connects with what we ended with last week in Hebrews 12. Had Jesus died through hanging or being beheaded, we would not have seen how He responded to suffering and death.
When we are in great physical or emotional pain, when we are stressed out to the max, it is very easy to simply react however we feel like it at the time and not be willing to discipline our reactions in a godly way. Our conscience may even prod us to react better, but sometimes we just don't care and decide to do as we feel like at the time. Men, you know what I'm talking about. We are big babies when it comes to pain and suffering. Women have babies, so they are much better at dealing with pain.
When our pain and stress levels are low, it is much easier to live God's way. The real test comes when our pain and our stress levels are high. In times like these, it is good to remember our ultimate example of how to react during such times of pain and stress. Jesus Christ's example on the cross provides great inspiration to encourage all of us to control and think through our reactions to great emotional and physical pain. This is what the writer of Hebrews was encouraging his readers to do:
For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:3 NASB)
As I said last week, I see the writer saying, "Consider Christ on the cross." "Consider" is from the Greek word analogizomai, which means: "to consider by way of comparison."
I'd like for us to go back this morning to that dramatic day in history and look at the last words of Christ as He hung on the cross. There are seven sayings of Christ on the cross that are recorded for us in the Gospels. It's interesting to note that all seven of these have a different theme. They reveal Jesus' innermost feelings as He poured out His life for us and provide a powerful example of how we, too, should react in times of great physical and emotional pain.
I would like to remind you here that Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi. I think that is important to remember at this point. As we have seen in our study of Mark, the Rabbis devoted their lives to the text of Scripture. The memorization of written and oral Torah was such a large part of Jewish education that most contemporaries of Jesus had large portions of this material, at least almost all of the Scriptures, firmly committed to memory.
If you remember our past studies, you know that in Jesus' day there were two types of rabbis. The first were called Torah teachers. Torah teachers were people who were considered to be masters of the Torah, which meant they knew the first five books of the Bible by memory.
There was also a small group of what were called Rabbis with semikhah. They were masters of the Torah and the Haftorah. Haftorah is a Hebrew word that simply means: "the rest." They were masters of what the Jews called the Tanakh. These Rabbis knew the entire Tanakh by memory. Think of the time commitment to memorize the entire Tanakh.
Well, these Rabbis not only learned the text, they lived the text, they taught the text, they prayed the text, and it was the desire of every Rabbi to die reciting the text. The orthodox Israelite for the past twenty four hundred years has prayed that when he dies, he would die reciting Psalm 22 and die with Shema on his lips.
Psalm 22 is known as the death Psalm, and I believe that everything that Jesus said on the cross came as a result of Him reciting this Psalm. Psalm 22 is pivotal for a correct understanding of what Jesus went through on the cross.
In our last study of Mark, we ended with Jesus' fourth saying, which is the only saying that Mark records. Today we are going to back up to the first of the seven sayings and go through them in order. Do you know what the first saying was?
And when they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. 34 But Jesus was saying,"Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. (Luke 23:33-34 NASB)
Jesus, shortly after He was nailed to the cross, prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing". Instead of being consumed with His own pain and misery, Jesus asked forgiveness for those responsible for the evil done to Him.
Of the seven last sayings of Christ from the cross, this is the firstforgiveness. Here Jesus asks the Father to forgive. This is the Greek word aphiemi, which means: "cancel, remit, pardon," it is used of loans (Matthew 18:27) as well as referring to the remission of guilt. Forgiveness is choosing to no longer hold something against a person. In Jesus' case, he was asking the Father not to hold His execution against His killers, "for they do not know what they are doing."
Who is He asking the Father to forgive? Is it the soldiers? Jesus is just another criminal to them, driving the spikes is all in a day's work. It is very possible that they did not know what they were doing.
What about Pilate? Pilate is arguably the most powerful man in Jerusalem. He perceives that Jesus is innocent of the trumped up charges against Him. His wife warns him of a dream she has had, and pleads with him not to do anything to Him (Matthew 27:19). And yet Pilate appeases the Jewish leaders and grants their request, against all sense of pride in Roman justice. How could he not know what he was doing?
What about the Jewish leaders? The high priestly family, the scribes, and the Pharisees were all out to destroy Jesus. They manipulated His words, brought false witnesses, put political pressure on Pilate, and stirred up the crowd to demand crucifixion rather than release. How could they not know what they were doing?
But even though each responsible party acted wickedly and unrighteously, Jesus gives them the benefit of the doubt and so do the leaders of the early church:
"For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning Him. (Acts 13:27 NASB)
Here we are told that the Jewish rulers didn't recognize Jesus. Paul says the same:
the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; (1 Corinthians 2:8 NASB)
This prayer of Jesus to forgive His enemies stands as a brilliant light that illuminates the darkness of that day. Jesus practiced what He preached:
"But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:27-28 NASB)
The application to all who call themselves Jesus' disciples is very clear: if Jesus intercedes for the forgiveness of His enemies who are guilty of gross wickedness, how can you and I withhold forgiveness from those who have wronged us?
Jesus taught that we are to:
"But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44 NASB)
"For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same? (Matthew 5:46 NASB)
Instead of tax-gatherers, we could say, "Do not even child molesters, drug dealers, and sodomites do the same?" If we are disciples, learners of Jesus, then we must learn thislove your enemies. If we are followers of Jesus, then we must follow Him here along the path of forgiving our enemies and persecutors and those who intend evil against us.
We find Jesus' second saying in:
And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise." (Luke 23:43 NASB)
2. Giving Hope
Who did Jesus say this to? A man being crucified with Him. Both of the thieves, who were crucified with Christ, had early on joined bystanders in mocking Jesus (Mark 15:32). Luke tells us:
And one of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, "Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!" (Luke 23:39 NASB)
The criminal is making fun of Jesus' inability to do anything despite the exalted title of "Messiah" that has been used concerning Him. "Where is this talk of "Messiah" now? he sneers. You're dying just like us. But a miraculous change occurred in the other criminal. He came to believe. He, too, had mocked Jesus earlier, but now he rebuked the other criminal:
But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 "And we indeed justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." (Luke 23:40-41 NASB)
What does this criminal confess here? "We are receiving what we deserve" He knows that he is a sinner. Who did Christ die for? Sinners.
And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!" (Luke 23:42 NASB)
He not only sees his sin, but he sees Jesus as someone who can do something about it, and He trusts Him. To this Jesus responds:
And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise." (Luke 23:43 NASB)
What is Jesus telling this criminal? "Paradise" is derived from a Persian word meaning "garden" or "park." The Septuagint used "paradise" to translate the Hebrew words for the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2-3. Over the years, the terms became synonymous, and eventually paradise came to refer to heaven. Paradise is only used three times in the New Testament. It is used here, and in:
'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.' (Revelation 2:7 NASB)
Notice what we find in Paradisethe tree of life. Judaism of Jesus' day equated Paradise with the New Jerusalem and saw it as the present abode of the souls of the departed patriarchs, the elect, and the righteous. We see this tree again in Revelation 22, which is the New Jerusalem:
And he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 2 in the middle of its street. And on either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:1-2 NASB)
In the New Jerusalem, which is the New Covenant, we have access to the tree of life.
Paul speaks of this tree in:
And I know how such a man-- whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows 4 was caught up into Paradise, and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. (2 Corinthians 12:3-4 NASB)
Paul seems to equate the "third heaven" with paradise. I think we can identify paradise with the presence of God. Jesus is promising the believing thief that he will be with Him in the presence of God.
A question that we have to ask here is, Did they go into the presence of God that day? Jesus said, "Today." This is difficult, because we know that this believing criminal did not go into God's presence that day. One way to deal with this is to understand that Greek has no punctuation, and Jesus could have said, "I say to you today, You will be with me in paradise." To me this is the best solution.
The main point is that as Christ is dying a slow horrible death, He gives hope to another dying man.
We find the third saying in:
When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" 27 Then He said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her into his own household. (John 19:26-27 NASB)
Now, Jesus' mother Mary had four other sonsJames, Joses, Simon, and Judas. Yet, for reasons we don't know, Jesus commits the care of His mother to Lazarus. The disciple whom Jesus loved is clearly Lazarus.
Men, how is your disposition when you are in pain or not feeling well? If you are anything like me, you are selfish and irritable. But look at Jesus, instead of being consumed with His own pain and misery, Jesus cared for those around Him.
We have already looked at the fourth saying, which is found in Mark:
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "ELOI, ELOI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?" which is translated, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?" (Mark 15:34 NASB)
4. Spiritual Dying
During His entire existence from eternity past, Jesus had an intimate and vibrant relationship with God as His Father. But now, because He had taken our place on the cross, and had borne in His body the sin of all mankind, the Father, too holy to look upon sin, had turned the countenance of His glory away from His Son. Jesus experienced spiritual death; He was separated from the Father. Jesus died physically and spiritually for us.
His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death(s), Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. (Isaiah 53:9 NASB)
Here Isaiah uses the intensive plural of "deaths." We have spiritual life because Jesus endured a spiritual death, a separation from the Father as the sins of the human race were poured out upon Christ.
And when some of the bystanders heard it, they began saying, "Behold, He is calling for Elijah." 36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink, saying, "Let us see whether Elijah will come to take Him down." (Mark 15:35-36 NASB)
Jesus' own people did not recognize what was happening; they knew that rabbis in distress sometimes looked to Elijah for help (as in b. `Aboda Zara 17b; p. Ketubot12:3, Section 6), and they assumed that Jesus was doing likewise.
We find our fifth saying in:
After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I am thirsty." (John 19:28 NASB)
5. In Pain from Spiritual Death
Eternal life, which is fellowship with God, is illustrated in the Scriptures as living water:
but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life." (John 4:14 NASB)
In Revelation John tells us that the blessing of God's presence is:
"They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; (Revelation 7:16 NASB)
John tells us that the water is life:
And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. (Revelation 22:17 NASB)
Jesus was obviously physically thirsty, but I think He is also saying, "I thirst for fellowship with my Father. I need living water."
Notice again that Scripture is being fulfilled:
They also gave me gall for my food, And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. (Psalms 69:21 NASB)
Our next verse in Mark says:
And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. (Mark 15:37 NASB)
Such a cry would have been extraordinary, as asphyxiation characterized victims of crucifixion. Being able to cry loudly was virtually impossible. Yet, Jesus did just that. What was this loud cry?
We find the answer in Jesus' sixth saying:
When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit. (John 19:30 NASB)
The loud cry was, "It is finished!" It is the Greek word tetelestai. It's actually a banking term that means "paid in full." The work of redemption, the eternal plan of the Father, the purpose of the Incarnation, the salvation of God's elect"It is finished!" Nothing more can be added to complete the work"It is finished!" No works of righteousness, no rituals or ceremonies, and no rites of passage can add to what Jesus has done"It is finished!" No effort of the flesh, no attention to endless duties, and no absolution by a priest can add to Christ's work"It is finished!"
There are those who teach that from the cross Jesus went down into hell to suffer. But He didn't. The work was finished--there was nothing left to do.
Kenneth Copeland teaches, "When he said 'It is finished' on that cross, He was not speaking of the plan of redemption. The plan of redemption had just begun, there were still three days and three nights to be gone through." "He [Jesus] was down in that pit and there He suffered the punishment for three horrible days and nights for Adam's treason..." He's wrong! Jesus' suffering ended when He died physically.
There are also many religions today that are seeking to convince people there's some sort of religious ritual that you must do in order to complete your salvation. But that is absolutely contrary to what Jesus clearly stated on the cross. He did not say, "We're almost done here." He stated in absolute terms, "It is finished. The work has been done." And Jesus cries out triumphantly that God's purposes had been accomplished.
Our seventh and final saying of Christ is found in:
And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, "Father, INTO THY HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT." And having said this, He breathed His last. (Luke 23:46 NASB)
When He had said this, He breathed his last". He looked forward to finally being fully reunited with His Father. At that dramatic moment, Jesus died for you and me and became the true Passover sacrifice for all who will trust Him.
Now our text in Mark goes on to say:
And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. (Mark 15:38 NASB)
Matthew and Luke join Mark in mentioning the torn veil in the temple, as does the writer of Hebrews. So much theology is bound up in the torn veil! It was made of blue and purple and scarlet linen. Josephus, the Jewish historian, tells us that it was a great double veil, each measuring 60 feet high and 30 feet wide and as thick as a man's hand. There was an opening at one end which allowed you to walk between the veils and come out the other end in the Holy of Holies. This was the innermost sanctum. It was the place where no Jew was permitted to go. Not even the priests were permitted to come here. Only the high priest and only once a year was entrance into this place permitted. On Yom Kippur the high priest would enter beyond the veil and offer an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the nation.
It used to be that the Ark of the Covenant sat there. But the Ark of the Covenant had been taken by Nebuchadnezzar 600 years earlier and had never returned. Now there was only the place where the Ark once stood. Just a barren rock covered with generations of dried blood.
The Holy of Holies signified the presence of God. The veil was there to keep men out. They could not come into the presence of God. Their sins separated them from the holiness of God.
The rending of the veil (probably the inner veil--compare Heb 6:19-20; 9:3; 10:19-20) around the time of the evening sacrifice (Mt 27:45-46) could symbolize the departure of God's presence that preceded His judgment against the temple (Ezek 9:3; 10:4-18; compare Mt 23:35-38; 24:1-2.
It is the symbolism that because of Jesus' death on the cross, God would no longer dwell in a temple made by men, but would now dwell within the hearts of those people who trusted Him as Savior. It meant that now God would usher in a New Covenant that would be the complete fulfillment of everything the Old Covenant and the temple represented.
And when the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, "Truly this man was the Son of God!" (Mark 15:39 NASB)
There was something about the way that Jesus died that deeply affected those who stood by. A Roman soldier, who no doubt had witnessed countless deaths by crucifixion, was compelled to praise God:
Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, "Certainly this man was innocent." (Luke 23:47 NASB)
And not only the soldier, but a convicted criminal who, only a short time before, was ridiculing the Lord Jesus, now penitently asks to be remembered when He comes into His Kingdom (Luke 23:42). A timid member of the Sanhedrin, who was fearful of others knowing of his faith in Christ, now has the courage to ask Pilate for the body of Jesus (John 19:38).
There was something about the way that Jesus died that deeply affected those who stood by. And we see this in the Seven sayings of Christ from the cross.
Mark goes on to say:
And there were also some women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses, and Salome. 41 And when He was in Galilee, they used to follow Him and minister to Him; and there were many other women who had come up with Him to Jerusalem. (Mark 15:40-41 NASB)
Where were the men? Where were James and John and Peter? The Fourth Gospel tells us that Lazarus had been there; he had been there with Mary, the mother of Jesus, and they stood at the foot of the cross.
It is interesting that at Jesus' death, the only male disciple was Lazarus. We can understand his bravery, after all he had been raised from the dead. But all the other men are gone. But the women who were disciples of Jesus are there. These women had followed Him from Galilee, and they were with Him when He died.
As we began this message, I said that the Rabbis not only learned the text, they lived the text, they taught the text, they prayed the text, and it was the desire of every Rabbi to die reciting the text. The orthodox Israelite for the past twenty four hundred years has prayed that when he dies, he would die reciting Psalm 22 and die with Shema on his lips. And Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi. So I am quit confident that Jesus died reciting Psalm 22. I believe that everything that Jesus said on the cross came as a result of Him reciting this Psalm. I would like to close this morning by reading Psalm 22 and inserting the Seven sayings of Christ from the cross where I think they may have be said. I am not saying that this is exactly what happened, but it is a possibility. Be a Berean and decide for yourself.
My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. (Psalms 22:1 NASB)
Fourth Saying"My God, my God why hast Thou forsaken me?" This is quite obvious
O my God, I cry by day, but Thou dost not answer; And by night, but I have no rest. 3 Yet Thou art holy, O Thou who art enthroned upon the praises of Israel. 4 In Thee our fathers trusted; They trusted, and Thou didst deliver them. 5 To Thee they cried out, and were delivered; In Thee they trusted, and were not disappointed. (Psalms 22:2-5 NASB)
Second Saying"You will be with me in paradise."
But I am a worm, and not a man, A reproach of men, and despised by the people. 7 All who see me sneer at me; They separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying, 8 "Commit yourself to the LORD; let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him." 9 Yet Thou art He who didst bring me forth from the womb; Thou didst make me trust when upon my mother's breasts. 10 Upon Thee I was cast from birth; Thou hast been my God from my mother's womb. (Psalms 22:6-10 NASB)
Third Saying"Woman behold your son, Behold your mother."
Be not far from me, for trouble is near; For there is none to help. 12 Many bulls have surrounded me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me. 13 They open wide their mouth at me, As a ravening and a roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws; And Thou dost lay me in the dust of death. (Psalms 22:11-15 NASB)
Fifth Saying"I am thirsty!"
For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; 18 They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots. 19 But Thou, O LORD, be not far off; O Thou my help, hasten to my assistance. 20 Deliver my soul from the sword, My only life from the power of the dog. 21 Save me from the lion's mouth; And from the horns of the wild oxen Thou dost answer me. (Psalms 22:16-21 NASB)
Seventh Saying"Father, Into Your hands I commit my spirit!"
I will tell of Thy name to my brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise Thee. 23 You who fear the LORD, praise Him; All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel. 24 For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Neither has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He heard. 25 From Thee comes my praise in the great assembly; I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him. 26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever! Psalms 22:22-26 (NASB)
First Saying"Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing!"
All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations will worship before Thee. 28 For the kingdom is the LORD'S, And He rules over the nations. 29 All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship, All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep his soul alive. 30 Posterity will serve Him; It will be told of the LORD to the coming generation. 31 They will come and will declare His righteousness To a people who will be born, that He has performed it. (Psalms 22:27-31 NASB)
Sixth Saying"It is Finished!"
Jesus learned the text, He lived the text, He taught the text, He prayed the text, and He died the text. Do you want to be like Jesus? If you do, it starts by spending time in the text. It's tough to be Christ-like when we are in great pain physically and emotionally. But as we "consider Christ" and His caring example from the text, and as we look to Him for strength, we can be like Himeven when we are suffering.
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