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Mar 21 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Day Ninety-four – Matthew 27:45-56

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Matthew 27:50

We must not speed read our way through this passage or jump over it to the resurrection. This is a real death. Respiration ceased and the heart stopped beating. Like hearing the yelp of a dog at the impact of a car that killed it, we are shocked, disturbed, stunned by what is set before our eyes.

There was the loud cry of agony that shook the earth, ripped the curtain, broke rocks, and opened tombs–the death of One that brought others back to life (vv. 51-53).

The shout, then his head, crowned with thorns, fell forward.┬áThere goes his spirit. What was left on the cross was a body, an “it” that had to be taken down, wrapped in clean linen and buried.

He died in innocence,
between criminals,
on the cross of another,
betrayed by a friend.
He died alone,
abandoned by his Father,
deserted and denied by his followers,
ridiculed and insulted by his enemies.
He died with a soul “deeply grieved,”
to the point of death;
a body severely beaten
beyond reason.
He died in his prime,
still healthy and strong.
The Healer,
miracle Worker,
Son of Man,
Son of God.

“Oh, I wish I had known that Man,” says an onlooker.
“I wish I had left all to follow Him,” says another.
“I wish,” says a third, “that I had eaten at His table, come to Him with my sins and sickness, laid gold, frankincense and myrrh at His feet, and poured expensive perfume over Him.”
“I wish I knew the sound of His voice, the smell of His clothes, the touch of His hand.”
“I wish I could read His poetry.”
“I wish I knew what all of this meant.”

O Lord, what has Matthew done to us? He promised to introduce us to You, but he has led us here. Why? Because we cannot know You except through Your death, Your pain, Your blood, Your cross. Give us the grace to not run from this scene like the disciples. Instead, let us linger here until we have learned everything Your cross has to teach us–until like the centurion we are struck by the truth of who You are. Then may we go from here into life.

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