Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from September 26-October 2 are written by David Son, who serves as the college pastor at Symphony Church in Boston. David, a graduate of UC Berkeley (B.S.) and Gordon-Conwell Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Grace, who is a teacher.
Devotional Thought for Today
Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands.
In the ancient Roman military, crowns were a symbol of honor. There were various crowns, symbolizing various feats and achievements of valor. Crowns were always given by someone of a higher-ranking office, to a lower-ranking one. For example, the Caesar might bestow a crown upon one of the generals in his army. Or a commander might place a crown on one of his subservient soldiers. However, there was one scenario when common soldiers would place a crown atop a higher-ranking officer. When the actions of a commander/general had saved an entire army, a “grass crown” was twisted together and presented to him by the very army he had saved. It was considered the highest honor in the Roman military.
How ironically fitting that a crown of thorns was placed on the head of Jesus Christ, the Lord of Lords, by the very ones He had come to save! When we look upon the suffering of Jesus, beneath the mockery and humiliation, we can see the beauty of the Gospel. The good news that our God is the kind of God who would endure such shame, if it meant that his beloved people might be saved.
Take some time today to meditate on the sacrifice of Jesus, who endured the cross to save the very ones who crucified Him. There is truly no one like our God!
Lord, we are amazed at your love for us. Thank you for being the kind of God that you are. Thank you for suffering, and ultimately dying on a cross, to rescue us. We honor you and worship you today. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Lunch Break Study
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
Questions to Consider:
- In this passage, how does the author of Hebrews reframe our struggle with sin?
- How can we have the strength to endure trials and temptation?
- According to the author of Hebrews what would a life without discipline indicate?
- The author of Hebrews describes our struggle with sin as God’s discipline over His children. From context we can infer that the “struggle” that these early Christians were going through was related to persecution for their faith. But the author also mentions holiness and sexual immorality in the following verses. Whether it is a struggle to stand up in our faith, or it is a struggle to pursue holiness, we are encouraged to see our struggle as God’s work in disciplining us, because we are his beloved children.
- The author encourages us to “Consider [Jesus] who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” He endured sin, and ultimately defeated it, so that we would not grow weary or fainthearted! When we remember that Jesus has conquered the power of sin, we find strength to continue fighting.
- A life without discipline. A life without struggle. An easy, comfortable, smooth-sailing life… according to the author of Hebrews, indicates that we are illegitimate children, and not true children of God. Because God disciplines those He loves.
Jesus is our sympathetic high priest (Heb 4:15). That means that whatever hardships we are going through, even when we feel like no one else quite understands… Jesus understands. May you find peace in that truth tonight.