40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers (Week Three: Saturday)

Saturday

Confession: Psalm 143:7–11

Quickly answer me, O Yahweh;

my spirit fails.

Do not hide your face from me,

or I will become

like those descending to the pit.

Cause me to hear your loyal love in the morning,

for I trust you.

Cause me to know the way that I should go,

for I lift up my soul to you.

Deliver me from my enemies, O Yahweh.

I take refuge in you.

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God;

your Spirit is good.

Lead me onto level ground.

For your name’s sake, O Yahweh, preserve my life;

in your righteousness bring me out of trouble.

Reading: Mark 13:1–8

And as he was going out of the temple courts, one of his disciples said to him, “Teacher, look! What great stones and what wonderful buildings!” And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here on another stone that will not be thrown down!”

And as he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” So Jesus began to say to them, “Watch out that no one deceives you! Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and they will deceive many. And when you hear about wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must happen, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise up against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places. There will be famines. These things are the beginning of birth pains.”

Reflection

The great charge against Jesus—which His accusers brought forward—was that He said, “I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days” (Matt 26:61 nrsv). But in so saying, He spoke of the temple of His body. They thought, not being able to understand the meaning of the speaker, that His reference was to the temple of stone. This temple was treated by the Jews with greater respect than He was who ought to have been honored as the true temple of God—the Word, the sisdom, and the truth.

And who can say that “Jesus attempted to make His escape by disgracefully concealing Himself”? Let any one point to an act deserving to be called disgraceful. And when he adds, “He was taken prisoner,” I would say that—if to be taken prisoner implies an act done against one’s will—then Jesus was not taken prisoner. For at the fitting time, He did not prevent Himself falling into the hands of men as the Lamb of God—that He might take away the sin of the world.

—Origen

Origen Against Celsus

Response

Reflect on the sins in your life and how Christ’s willing payment of your debts frees you to serve God with thankfulness. What is your response to His sacrifice? How does the hope of His resurrection transform your life right now?[1]

 

[1] Van Noord, R., & Strong, J. (Eds.). (2014). 40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

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