Silence and Stillness before God (2 minutes)
Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him. When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine. They called out to him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” A sign was fastened above him with these words: “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”
Devotional – Come Down
Rulers, condemned criminals, and calloused strangers echoed the same taunting chorus as their Creator hung on a cross.
“Let him come down!”
Their insults rang through the air. If he really was who he said, he wouldn’t be in this torment. He would have saved himself by now.
Oh the blindness that would not see that saving himself meant not saving us!
It’s easy to occupy the place of judge and jury, for others’ lives as well as our own. We hurl condemnation at others or ourselves, sometimes silently or lightly in jest or sometimes viciously. We don’t belong on the judgment seat of anyone’s life, not even of our own. That place is for Jesus, and he never hurls insults. He showers forgiveness. “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.”
But while Jesus in his love refused to come down from the cross, Jesus in his love refuses to go up onto the throne of our hearts, uninvited (Revelation 3:20). Come down off the judgment throne and invite Jesus to go up and be Judge over every person in your life, including yourself. His mercy will astound you.
Question to Consider
Become aware of what messages you speak to yourself. Are you condemning yourself for things that aren’t even sins? Do you hold others to standards that haven’t come from God?
God, I give you the place of Judge in my heart. Teach me to differentiate between your voice that corrects and any other condemning voices. Help me to see myself and others as you do, flooding my heart and mind with mercy and truth. Bring to mind anyone that I need to forgive and anyone I need to apologize to and guide me through those relational steps. “If our heart condemns us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything” (1 John 3:20).
Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)
The 40 days of decrease blogs have been inspired by the book “40 Days of Decrease” by Alicia Britt Chole.