April 10, Good Friday

UPDATED Today’s AMI QT blog, written by Pastor Mark Chun of Radiance Christian Church in S.F., was originally posted on March 29, 2013.  Mark is a graduate of University of California, San Diego (BS) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.).

Devotional Thought for This Morning

Psalm 31:3-5 (NIV)

For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me; 4 you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. 5 Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.

priscilla-du-preez-OYDSBCgkphA-unsplashIntroduction: Pastor Mark wrote this blog for the Good Friday edition of 2013.  At the close of this devotional, he says, “It is easy to trust God when things are going well . . .”  That remark, for some, may have rung hallow then, but not so today amid COVID-19 that knows no bound while inflicting so much pain in the lives of countless people.  In that light, may the true meaning of Good Friday minister to us; share it with those who are still clueless about the atoning sacrifice of the Son of God.

When Jesus spoke the words of this psalm on the cross, it was at the very end of his suffering.  Imagine the events preceding this statement: an evening of torturous prayer, betrayed by a friend in the dark of the night, questioned and beaten by religious leaders deep into the morning hours of the next day, and then stand trial before Pilate at dawn.

In less than two hours, Jesus would be tried and sentenced to carry his cross up to Mt. Calvary.  By 9 am, the soldiers would have nailed his hands and feet, and lifted him up on that cross.  For the next six hours, Jesus would not only suffer the physical pain of the crucifixion, but more importantly, he would endure the spiritual agony of God’s wrath and abandonment.

This is what makes this statement so amazing, that even after enduring such despair, Jesus was still able to entrust his spirit into the hands of God.  It was and is the greatest proclamation of trust in the sovereign will of God; even unto death he was the perfect model for his followers.  It is easy to trust God when things are going well but the cross reminds us that the real trust is forged through the dark nights of our soul.

As you come to Easter weekend, are you praying for anyone in particular to hear the Gospel?  Pray about opportunities to bring someone to church to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I confess that it is difficult to entrust my life completely into Your hands, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Help me to follow the example of Your Son who lived his life in complete dependence upon Your will.  Even when I cannot understand the circumstances surrounding my life, teach me how to trust You instead of leaning on my own strength and understanding.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Acts 10


Lunch Break Study

Read Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV):

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Questions to Consider

  1. What is the basis of our trust in God’s provision for our daily needs (Matt. 6:26)?
  2. Why is it pointless to worry (Matt. 6:27)?
  3. What is God’s promise to those who put their trust in Him (Matt. 6:33)?

Notes

  1. Jesus points out that the birds of the sky are well taken care of and compares their worth to ours.  Clearly, we are worth more to God than a sparrow since we are the only creatures under heaven that bear His image.  Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that God is concerned deeply about our daily needs.
  2. From a pragmatic sense, it is pointless to worry because there is nothing that anxiety can do about the circumstances of tomorrow.  In addition, worrying doesn’t make the quality of our lives better, but in reality, diminishes it.    
  3. God’s promise is a simple one for those who put their trust in Him and seek first the kingdom of God: Everything we need for life eternal will be provided for us.

Evening Reflection

georgia-de-lotz-muN_TndU9A0-unsplashAre you growing in terms of your level of trust?  For some, the command not to worry is about as difficult to follow as an instruction to stop breathing.  Anxiety seems to be such a natural part of our lives that we forget that it is a symptom of our lack of trust in God.

That said, it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that the post-COVID 19 world renders trusting in God a necessity for our survival, spiritual and otherwise.  Prayer is one of the ways we can learn to put our trust into God during difficult times.  Pray.   

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